“A month after suffering the largest defeat by a Senate incumbent in a quarter-century,” Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) is “negotiating a cable deal, which political insiders say most likely is with Fox — though MSNBC and CNN have been mentioned as well.”
Since the right seems unwilling to discuss Augusto Pinochet’s legacy through any frame other than comparisons with Fidel Castro let’s just say that, yes, Castro’s regime over its many decades in office has tallied up a more destructive record. That said, America’s policies toward Pinochet and Castro represent a single disastrous conservative approach to Latin American issues. Cuba, as of the 1950s, was under the dictatorial rule of Fulgencio Batista without apparent objection from the United States which had no particular concern with Cuban democracy. A revolt broke out, came to be led by Fidel Castro, and took control of the country in 1959 at which point many former regime figures were killed. The United States government, fearing that the new regime would implement a pro-Soviet foreign policy and a socialist economy policy that would be detrimental to US strategic interests and the financial interests of American business enterprises began an effort to isolate the new regime in the hopes of precipitating its collapse. This didn’t work, but did ensure that the risk of a pro-Soviet foreign policy was destined to become a reality. At this point, the US government engaged in various efforts to overthrow or kill Castro, including the Bay of Pigs invasion in which the US sponsored an invasion of the country by Cuban exiles associated with the old regime.
Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, the US ceased active efforts to overthrow Castro. It continued, however, to wage economic warfare against Cuba, subjecting the country to broad unilateral sanctions in the hopes that shackling the country economically would somehow lead to the collapse of the regime. At the same time, America’s borders were opened unconditionally to Cubans wishing to emigrate to the United States.
Some decades later, Salvador Allende came to power through the democratic process in Chile. Here, again, the US government feared the implementation of pro-Soviet foreign policy and socialist economic policy, again damaging America’s strategic interests and the financial interests of American business. The US began working with anti-Allende elements in Chile to destabilize the country politically and economically. Eventually, we supported Augusto Pinochet’s efforts to mount a coup against Allende. The justification for this coup was that events in Chile were leading in the direction of a Communist dictatorship, and the cure was to implement an anti-Communist dictatorship. Having removed Allende from office, the coup leaders did not, say, organize a swift transition back to democracy. Instead, they remained in power for almost two decades, during which time their political opponents — including opponents who were democrats in good standing — were subjected to various forms of persecution including murder, torture, etc.
In contrast to Cuba, the US did nothing to assist the anti-Pinochet opposition, did lot welcome refugees from Chile and, indeed, turned a blind eye to the murder of opposition figures and their allies on US soil. Meanwhile, the campaign to isolate and impoverish Cuba has succeeded in making Cuba even poorer than it otherwise would have been had it merely been subjected to Castro’s poor economic policies. It has not, however, made any noteworthy progress in bringing about the end of the Castro regime which, in fact, has now significantly outlasted the Soviet Union and its other main allies. Meanwhile, our insistence on sanctioning Cuba and efforts to implement secondary sanctions on that country has from time to time strained America’s relationship with various European and Latin American countries.
ThinkProgress has had some this morning, but the problem should be fixed now.
As Richard Cohen says “the truth is that no one knows what will happen to Iraq if U.S. troops pull out” — everyone’s just guesstimating: “Maybe the Kurdish region will go its own way, taking its oil with it. Maybe the Shiites in the south will embrace Iranian hegemony — or maybe they will remember they’re not Persians who speak Farsi but Arabs who speak Arabic, and resume the old enmity. Maybe Osama bin Laden will buy a condo in Baghdad. Maybe, maybe, maybe.” And then the thud — “Maybes are not sufficient reason for Americans to continue to die.”
As with Vietnam, the ending is inevitable. We will get out, and the only question that remains is whether we get out with 3,000 dead or 4,000 or 5,000. At some point the American people will not countenance, and Congress will not support, a war that cannot be won. Just how many lives will be wasted in what we all know is a wasted effort is about the only question still left on the table. Realism dictates as few as possible.
Seems right to me. But of course as our soldiers stay in theater for years and keep on killing and dying, wounded and being wounded, they won’t really be dying for maybes. They’ll be dying for honor and dignity. Not the honor and dignity of the US Army and Marine Corps, or of the United States of America and its citizens, but for that of the not-especially honorable or dignified men and women whose poor judgment and crass immorality put the troops there in the first place.
A quotation: “Do you think we could go on forever / When the architects of the war / Are handing out the swords?”
“Saudi Arabia has told the Bush administration that it might provide financial backing to Iraqi Sunnis in any war against Iraq’s Shiites if the United States pulls its troops out of Iraq,” the New York Times reports. “King Abdullah also expressed strong opposition to diplomatic talks between the United States and Iran.”
“As President Bush weighs new policy options for Iraq, strong support has coalesced in the Pentagon behind a military plan to ‘double down’ in the country with a substantial buildup in American troops, an increase in industrial aid and a major combat offensive against Muqtada Sadr,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
54: Percent of Americans who believe “Bush will be judged as a below-average or poor president, more than double the negative rating given any of his five most recent predecessors. Just 19 percent expect him to be seen as outstanding or above average, placing him last among the six.”
“Federal prosecutors are backing away from some of the aggressive tactics they have employed against corporate crime.” The Justice Department said yesterday prosecutors “will largely refrain from demanding that companies refuse to pay for the legal defense of executives who are under investigation, and significantly limit their demands for privileged attorney-client communications.” Read more
It’s the happiest moment of the roughly biweekly time period as I release a new Bloggingheads.tv episode with Ross Douthat. Watch him try to explain why I’m all wrong about Apocalypto. Or perhaps you’re hungry for even more ISG-bashing.
As Iran’s conference of Holocaust revisionists and denialists gets under way, I’m left, like Spencer confused as to why people who don’t like the Jews are so enthusiastic about this sort of enterprise. Shouldn’t Adolf Hitler be a hero to these people, and his mass-murders be celebrated as the best anyone’s ever done at wiping the Jews off the planet? I suppose you can’t really expect deranged people to make a ton of sense, but I’m still left baffled.
On a policy front, note that even while wallowing in repugnance at this conference Ahmadenijad’s anti-Israel bluster does not extent to threats of nuclear first strikes with ISNA reporting he told the gathered scumbags that “The Zionist regime will disappear soon, the same way the Soviet Union disappeared.”