Re: In Praise of Communism

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From: John Boyer (
Date: Sun Feb 27 2000 - 23:03:43 PST

At 02:41 PM 2/27/00 -0500, you wrote:
>On Sun, 27 Feb 2000, John Boyer wrote:
> > But, speaking of colonialism and a "save the gooks" mentality, I think
> > America has an impressive record of foreign intervention in the 20th
> > century.
>impressively awful. our foreign intervention in Central and South America,
>for instance, in maintaining the CIA's drug trafficking operations:

Nice argument. You know, until tonight I never thought I was dumb enough to
paint myself into a corner such that I would choose the role of CIA
apologist. Here goes. What I said was that the US has an impressive record
or foreign intervention. I didn't mean to imply that it was spotless.
Indeed, many terrible things have happened at the hands of those we have
trained. But, if you agree that intervention is a nasty business undertaken
for a greater good, then you must put any of the actions in context. The
background for almost all intervention in this hemisphere was the Cold War
and the Wilson Doctrine. And guess what? We won! And ultimately the people
of South and Central America won! Hurrah!

The evils of the US during the Cold War have been well documented. But very
little is said about the exploits of our foe. Take terrorism for example.
Until very recently, a Russian could travel the world with a sort of
magical protection against being molested by terrorists. Why was that? Well
it wasn't because the Soviets minded their own business. It was because
most of the terrorism in the later half of the twentieth century can be
traced directly to Soviet backed regimes. The list of misdeeds includes an
aborted KGB-Bulgarian attempt on the life of the Pope! Now that doesn't
excuse much on the US side. But it seems to me that the other half of the
story has been studiously ignored. BTW, Here is a relevant book I haven't
read yet but will soon...
Reflections on a Ravaged Century -- Robert Conquest
[URL presented with apologies to Kragen]

Back to the question at hand. Take for instance the much maligned US
intervention in Nicaragua. When free elections were finally held, Daniel
Ortega's Sandanistas were soundly defeated. Take the infamous Iran arms for
Hostages deal in the 1980's. In light of Sadam Hussein's track record in
the 90's, does it not now make strategic sense for the US to have supported
a stalemate in the Iraq-Iran war? Take the Philippines and the US support
of the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos. Take Panama. Consider the Marines
landing in the Dominican Republic in 1965 or the same in 1985 in Grenada.
Is the cause of Freedom not better off in the long run?
Yes, it is a dirty business with many shades of gray. I sincerely think
that if it were not for the Cold War the US would have wisely reverted back
to its more isolationist past. But that doesn't face reality, and in the
face of such reality I contend that the US has for the most part acted
wisely. In my opinion the most shameful instance in the history of American
intervention is when we didn't, namely the abandonment of the Kurds after
the Gulf War.

On a side note, I think the self-hatred and self-doubt that fuels much of
the anti-US sentiment within our own country stems from a moral relativism
that suggests that we simply do not have the right to assert that our way
of life is better. Could be, let's take a vote. I suggest that we start
at the local INS office.

>our lack of intervention in genocide, in Cambodia and Indonesia (read Noam
>Chomsky's _Manufacturing_Consent_ - "now on video!" - for a good analysis
>of why one of them received NO press coverage in the US, while the other
>was daily news):
>we sent thousands of US soldiers to die in Vietnam (for a half-baked
>domino theory, no less), and yet, even after we bombed the country "back
>to the Stone Age", the Vietnamese sent their survivors to end the genocide
>in Cambodia while we did nothing.
Thank God I can't prove that the domino theory is true. But the reverse is
demonstratable. Witness the declaration of independence in 1990 by the
nation of Lithuania that started the complete collapse of the Soviet Empire.
It is interesting that you imply that intervention in Vietnam was wrong
while the lack of intervention in Cambodia was also wrong. Also, I fell
quite sure that Vietnam invaded Cambodia not because of the genocide. It
was because the Khmer Rouge were routinely terrorizing Vietnamese fisherman
and traders on the Mekong River and raiding border villages. As you know
Vietnam shares a very long border with Cambodia and any instability there
is considered a direct threat to internal stability.
With respect to Noam Chomsky, I've never read anything by him. But now I
promise I will try to. Isn't it funny how both the left and the right and
this country so distrust the press?

>the reality of US foreign policy has been to preserve our own interests
>(both economic and military), which rarely ever coincide with those of the
>people we slaughter (or allow to be slaughtered), or with any kind of
>humanitarian or democratic ideals.
> > Where exactly, do people live under oppression because of US
> > colonialism?
Your very detailed response still didn't answer the question. OK, I guess
it was a trick question. I mean colonialism as true stewardship of a
nation, not intervention or meddling. I was alluding to the Marshall Plan
and the occupation of Japan and the Pacific Islands.
  Of all of the nations under US control after WWII only Guam, I think, has
chosen to remain a US territory. The others have voted for independence.
Kragen's example of Micronesia is a great illustration. Call it a Puppet
Government if you will, but the colonial government of Micronesia provided
a stable platform to launch that country into true Independence. In all
cases the peoples of all of these nations have lived this past half-century
with more freedom and opportunity than they would have had otherwise. I
think that says it all about "our way of life".

Even if we don't agree, thanks for sparring with me. You've given me much
to think about, and a lot of reading to do.

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