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The Empire abroad : dementia as foreign policy

The Empire abroad : dementia as foreign policy

by Toni Solo

False beliefs have taken over United States and European public life to such an extent that most political leaders in North America and Europe could quite reasonably be certified mentally unfit to govern. Here is a statement from senior US Senator, former presidential candidate, John Kerry about Honduras :

"The June 28 coup, Mr. Micheletti’s uncompromising power-grab, and the growing evidence of abuses of authority--remarkably similar to those we have condemned by Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez--cast a dark shadow over every aspect of preparations for the elections scheduled for November."

The statement is dated August 26th. Among what Kerry euphemistically calls "abuses of authority" one finds gross human rights violations confirmed even by the conservative Inter-American Human Rights Commission in its preliminary report published on August 21st:

* the militarization of significant areas of civilian life;
* arbitrary and illegal application of State of Siege legislation;
* absence of judicial protections for citizens' fundamental rights;
* the militarization of peaceful demonstrations;
* widespread use of disproportionate force against peaceful protests causing serious physical injury to hundreds of demonstrators:
* the arbitrary detention of thousands of peaceful demonstrators:
* cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of those thousands of detainees;
* physical agression and threats by police and military against journalists covering opposition to the military coup.

John Kerry is talking nonsense when he suggests that these abuses are at all similar to anything that has happened In Venezuela under the government of Hugo Chavez. Such circumstances did indeed prevail very briefly in Venezuela in April 2002. They did so under the short-lived, US supported coup regime of Pedro Carmona whose first act was to suspend Venezuela's constitutional guarantees.

Senator Kerry's false beliefs are those of someone regarded as a political progressive in mainstream US politics. The sources of his and his fellow Senators' false beliefs are corporate propaganda news outlets that depend for the greater part of their information and analysis on the US State Department and the US Department of Defence. The big news agencies, Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France Presse, the main US and European news media all regularly recycle false beliefs as news. Here are a few examples in relation to Latin America:

* Hugo Chavez is a anti-democratic, militarist tyrant;
* Alvaro Uribe is a vital partner in the US government's "war on drugs";
* the FARC are the main suppliers of cocaine to the United States;
* Cuba is a failed State;
* Mexico, Colombia and Peru are successful democratic States;
* the regional free trade agreement with the US has brought prosperity to Central America;
* Nicaragua's government is incompetent, corrupt and undemocratic;
* Iran is building a huge embassy in Managua;
* Honduran President Manuel Zelaya is an undemocratic leftist who unconstitutionally sought re-election;
* Venezuela destabilizes Latin America and the Caribbean via the ALBA alliance;
* United States regional policy respects sovereignty and promotes peace and democracy;
* the US government does not want bases or increased permanent military personnel in Colombia.

Every single one of these beliefs as put forward either by US government Walter Mitty functionaries, like Hillary Clinton, or by endlessly-dementing corporate media, like the Wall Street Journal, is completely false. But they form the basis for United States foreign policy. They make up a kind of catechism for news media not just in the US but in its allied countries too. The inevitable result is that mainstream corporate news coverage of events in Latin America turns into a kind of cathartic, orphic speaking-in-tongues that effectively startles its audience into passive acquiescence.

In fact:

* since 1998 Hugo Chavez and his Venezuelan government have consistently won national elections with well over 50% of the vote;
* Alvaro Uribe has a long history of involvement in paramilitary and narcotics activities dating from the 1980s;
* just one FARC member has been convicted on narcotics charges in the US - on suspect evidence alleging conspiracy - while almost all Colombian cocaine imported into the US is from areas controlled by the Colombian government;
* as measured by the United Nations Human Development Index, 50 years-blockaded Cuba is a more successful society than NAFTA-beneficiary Mexico;
* Mexico, Colombia and Peru all have notoriously unequal, extremely corrupt societies characterized by fraudulent electoral processes, whose governments depend on brutal security forces to repress widespread dissent;
* CAFTA has worsened trade imbalances between the region and the US, diminished government revenues, and accentuated inequality;
* Nicaragua's government has spectacularly improved key health and education indicators, including eradicating illiteracy, reactivated agriculture, dramatically increased exports and increased citizen participation in decision making;
* Iran is not building an embassy in Managua
* Manuel Zelaya is a centrist, reformist politician who respected the country's constitutional bar on re-election;
* Venezuela has helped provide food and energy security to over 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean;
* the US government has needlessly reactivated its 4th fleet and, against widespead regional opposition, is establishing a network of military bases throughout Latin America and the Caribbean;
* most governments in South America think the US government is blatantly lying about the seven extra bases it now seeks to exploit in Colombia and for that very reason demanded the right to inspect those bases.

Psychotic is the adjective that best fits the amazing contrast between these regional facts and the false beliefs advanced by the US authorities and their propaganda outlets in the corporate media. The same psychotic, talking-to-itself, delinquent quasi-reasoning drove the US economy into its current financial crisis. That economic debacle is mirrored in the US government's unfolding foreign policy debacle.

In foreign policy the equivalent of the printing press and the ballooning Federal Reserve balance sheet is militarist expansionism. The Federal Reserve lies about and conceals what it is doing - promoting a huge shift in wealth from the long-suffering US majority to a greedy elite - the same way the State Department and the Pentagon lie about their respective betrayals of the United States people. The United States has a failed economy run by a deceitful government in tandem with a failed foreign policy. A sharply inverse relationship is developing between the Obama administration's domestic policy failure on the economy and its increasing militarist aggression overseas.

The crisis in Honduras has revealed categorically that presidential candidate Yes-We-Can has turned decisively, in as much as anything a corporate puppet does can be construed as decisive, into President No-I-can't. Up until now, governments in Latin America have coped relatively well on the whole with the results of the economic crisis provoked by rich country corporate greed and political opportunism. Their main emerging dilemma is how to cope with the dementing corporate gangsters in control of President Obama's government who are determined to continue the anti-American Bush regime nightmare and their global war against humanity.


Toni writes for

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