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U.S. Obsessed With Using Force

By Reason Wafawarova

08/31/07 "
The Herald" -- - Harare - SINCE the United States assumed global leadership from Britain at the end of the Second World War; when it emerged as the biggest beneficiary of the war, a development that saw it declare the era of "the American century", Washington has been obsessed with using force to thwart small countries.

In fact, the US emerged as a superpower that is scared of small countries. While this statement might seem contradictory, political analyses of US behaviour over the past 62 years proves otherwise.

During this period the US, among many other invasions went into Cuba, Grenada, Panama, Mexico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan.

It also sponsored and armed reactionary rebels in their CIA engineered proxy wars in Angola, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Congo and Nicaragua, to mention just a few countries.

The Americans also led embargo campaigns on Iraq, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea and Zimbabwe.

The US portrays more concerns and worries about the behaviour of small states than it has about its more powerful rivals like India, China or the European Union.

When Ronald Reagan was asked to justify his administration's trade embargo against Nicaragua in 1985 he said, "the policies and actions of Nicaragua constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States."

Does this quotation ring a bell to Zimbabweans?

It should, given that both Condoleeza Rice and George W. Bush have almost repeated it verbatim in their attempt to justify the so-called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (2001), a sanctions law that bars multilateral lending institutions, with dealings with the US, from extending lines of credit to Zimbabwe.

It also bars American companies from trading with Zimbabwe.

In 1985, people outside the US questioned how an underdeveloped peasant nation of three million people, as was Nicaragua then, could possibly constitute an "extraordinary threat" to the security of the US, then one of the two most powerful superpowers of the world.

Today, many outside the US still wonder how a largely peasant nation of 13 million people, Zimbabwe, can possibly constitute "an unusual and extraordinary threat" to the foreign policy of the US.

This writer says many outside the US would question this kind of thinking because the mainstream US society has often believed its ruling elite whenever it speaks this way. This is precisely because the US and much of the western world; has some of the most indoctrinated and brainwashed people of this world as Noam Chomsky rightly pointed out in the book, Latin America: From Colonisation to Globalisation, 1999.

In 1982, the Reagan administration, through the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff went on air to tell the American public that Grenada was a military threat to the US.

The mere fact that this was pronounced indicates the power of indoctrination and brainwashing contained in the two most powerful agents of imperialism, namely, western politicians and their mass media.

The fact that the American public could hear their chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff publicly utter this ludicrous statement without exploding into raucous laughter, was yet another indication of the degree of indoctrination.

This "extraordinary" military threat led to the invasion of Grenada in 1983 and 6 000 American elite troops descended on 40 Cubans and a couple of hundred Grenadine military men, earning themselves a total 8 000 medals for the "valour" that led to this enormous victory. The American media went berserk, spewing euphoric pugnacious and jingoistic sentiments over the vainglorious accomplishment.

Noam Chomsky, in the fore-mentioned book, analysed why the US is so scared of small states, in particular, he evaluated the concepts of US national security and foreign policy.

He says the threat to the security of the US by these oft-quoted small nations is too ludicrous to warrant any discussion, but the threat to US foreign policy is quiet real. Chomsky argues that it is the small, weak states that actually pose the greatest threat to American foreign policy.

This, he says, is the only explanation that can be given for the extraordinary savagery the US has displayed against some of the weakest and most inconsequential countries like Laos and Grenada.

It is like this, the weaker the country, the greater the banditry and savagery. The logic behind this can only be understood in the context of the underlying basis upon which US foreign policy is formulated.

To understand this it may be necessary to revisit what George Kennan, head of the policy planning unit in the US State Department, 1948, said about American foreign policy.

Said Kennan: "We have about 50 percent of the world's wealth, but only 6,3 percent of its population . . . In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships, which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives.

"We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction . . . We should cease to talk about vague and -- for the Far East -- unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratisation.

The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans the better."

Today, those very "unreal objectives" form the cornerstone of US foreign policy on Zimbabwe, Iraq and Afghanistan, that despite the fact that they remain nothing but "idealistic slogans".

The fundamental principles of American foreign policy and indeed that of all imperialist countries are to ensure what Kennan once called "the protection of our raw materials." One would think that he was referring to raw materials found within the United States but he was actually referring to the raw materials of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Kennan did not bother to explain from whom he intended to have those raw materials protected. The only plausible explanation he could give was that there was need to protect "our raw materials" against the Russians and other "communists". The Russians and communists were the two major factors that frightened the US and western communities the most between 1945 and 1990. Today, the major source of fear among the western communities is terrorism, ostensibly fronted by the face of Al-Quaeda and Osama bin Laden.

The real threats against whom the Americans want to protect "their" resources are indeed the indigenous people who are the bona fide owners of those raw materials. Some of these indigenous people have made the "mistake" of embarking on policies aimed at making indigenous populations use and benefit from their resources.

In the eyes of the US ruling elite, that kind of conspiracy is totally intolerable; for it poses an "unusual and extraordinary threat". It simply has to be stopped.

This kind of conspiracy is what makes little countries like Laos, Grenada, Nicaragua and Zimbabwe so significant as to warrant worldwide headlines in the western media.

The significance is derived from the fact that by embarking on social policies that are welfare based, these small countries may succeed in empowering their own populations and if this leads to successful economic and social development, it may constitute a model for others, thereby having an undesired domino effect.

This is precisely why Henry Kissinger said Salvador Allende's Chile had to be stopped as it stood a dangerously high chance of infecting other countries -- it would be a virus. In other words economic and social development for any other country other than the US and its western allies is a disease that might infect other countries to the detriment of US foreign policy. When they are not calling such development a disease they are calling it a "rotten apple", "rot", or, as they prefer these days, "a rogue state."

The thinking behind the US' savagery on smaller states is that the smaller the state the higher the chance of success for these social policies and therefore the smaller the state the greater the threat of the disease of social and economic development in poor countries. This is precisely why the US wants land reform in Zimbabwe to fail. If it succeeds in a small country like Zimbabwe, what will stop people of the much bigger South Africa from following suit?

Laos, a very small country next to Thailand became a target of US savage attacks in 1958 as the Americans overthrew its democratic government and installed its extremely brutal right-wing dictatorial regime. The small country was to later be a subject of ruthless US aerial attacks.

This was a small poor peasant country made up of isolated peasant villages, inhabited by villagers who hardly knew that there was an outside world until they began to see those bird-like metal things appearing up in the sky and dropping bombs on them.

The question is why would a sophisticated superpower controlling half of the world's wealth destroy the misery field life of a peasant society? Laos committed a grave "crime" under Pathet Lao, a mild revolutionary who led a low-level agrarian reform programme that began to yield results by expanding the health and educational sectors. In the eyes of the American ruling elite, the "stupid" peasants were using raw materials in Laos for their own purposes and such "insolence" had to be stopped.

The US would care nothing if a country like Grenada disappeared from the face of the earth today. It is so small and insignificant in terms of US material interests. Nevertheless, Grenada was invaded in 1983.

The US began to put Grenada on their hostile media radar as soon as Maurice Bishop's government came to power in 1979. The US administration began to demonstrate its extraordinary hostility by cutting off aid, carried out scaring military threats, established an embargo and finally invaded the tiny country in 1983.

Bishop's socialist government could not be allowed to succeed, lest neighbouring countries would follow suit and pose "unusual and extraordinary threats" to the foreign policy of the US.

The Nicaraguan Sandinista programmes created more sorrow than happiness for Nicaragua though they had a successful land reform programme, increased literacy, improved the health delivery system, reduced infant mortality and increased life expectancy -- even earning an award from the World Health Organisation. While WHO saw social and economic development, the US ruling elite saw "an unusual and extraordinary threat" since the Sandinistas were "stealing" America's resources for their own purposes. And that is why the US trained, armed, nurtured and partnered the Contras in fighting the Sandinistas.

Of course, eventually the Sandinistas did fall just like Bishop's government in Grenada.

The same threat the Americans saw in Nicaragua, Laos and Grenada were also perceived in Angola, Congo, Ghana and Mozambique.

In Angola, the US sponsored Jonas Savimbi's Unita rebels for more than 20 years. In Congo, they organised the overthrow and murder of Patrice Lumumba before installing a ruthless dictatorial regime led by Mobutu Sese Seko. In Ghana, they sponsored and organised the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah while in Mozambique they sponsored and trained the murderous Renamo of Afonso Dhlakama.

In all these African countries, the excuse given by the US was that the governments were communist, a development that probably stood more threatening than terrorists in the eyes of the western community during the Cold War era. They even successfully assassinated Samora Machel, the then Mozambican president, in 1986.

Of course, both the US and apartheid South Africa, on whose soil the assassination was carried out, never admitted to any wrongdoing although the US acknowledged that they viewed Machel as the communist point-man in Southern Africa.

This analysis of historical events involving the US should help put into perspective, Washington's sanctions regime against Zimbabwe, which sanctions are supported by the western alliance.

It is an analysis relevant to the course and direction of the Third Chimurenga.

It is an analysis relevant to the relationship between the MDC and its partners in the so-called civic society, and the US led western alliance.

It is also an analysis of Zimbabwe's chances of standing its ground the way Cuba has done since 1958; the way Venezuela has done since 1999, about the same time Zimbabwe embarked on the agrarian reform programme.

The reality behind the US led western alliance's relationship with the Government as well as its opposition has nothing to do with the rhetoric of human rights, rule of law, democracy or freedom -- tenets the US generally views as idealistic slogans.

In fact the US, like any other imperial power, regards rule of law as a slogan to be used for three purposes, according to Chomsky.

Firstly, it is a slogan to pacify the domestic populations in the imperialists' own backyard. Secondly, it is a slogan so effectively used to denounce official enemies of the US's ruling elite.

Thirdly, it is a last resort in dealing with problems where all other covert means have proved ineffective. This is the extent to which the US and its western allies are committed to the doctrine of the rule of law, otherwise, apart from those three concerns all imperialists are sworn to the Rule of Force. It is high time all Zimbabweans reflected on and saw the real challenge before us in its perspective and decide the best way out of the prevailing challenges.

The US acts in the knowledge that it reversed agrarian reforms and installed puppet regimes in many countries and we, Zimbabweans, act in the knowledge that we have freed ourselves from foreign domination before and some agrarian reform programmes have succeeded elsewhere.

We would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.

Reason Wafawarova is a political writer

Copyright 2007 The Herald.

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