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Washington on the Rocks: An Empire of Autocrats, Aristocrats, and Uniformed Thugs Begins to Totter

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 09:52 AM
Original message
Washington on the Rocks: An Empire of Autocrats, Aristocrats, and Uniformed Thugs Begins to Totter
from TomDispatch:



Washington on the Rocks
An Empire of Autocrats, Aristocrats, and Uniformed Thugs Begins to Totter

By Alfred W. McCoy and Brett Reilly


In one of historys lucky accidents, the juxtaposition of two extraordinary events has stripped the architecture of American global power bare for all to see. Last November, WikiLeaks splashed snippets from U.S. embassy cables, loaded with scurrilous comments about national leaders from Argentina to Zimbabwe, on the front pages of newspapers worldwide. Then just a few weeks later, the Middle East erupted in pro-democracy protests against the regions autocratic leaders, many of whom were close U.S. allies whose foibles had been so conveniently detailed in those same diplomatic cables.

Suddenly, it was possible to see the foundations of a U.S. world order that rested significantly on national leaders who serve Washington as loyal subordinate elites and who are, in reality, a motley collection of autocrats, aristocrats, and uniformed thugs. Visible as well was the larger logic of otherwise inexplicable U.S. foreign policy choices over the past half-century.

Why would the CIA risk controversy in 1965, at the height of the Cold War, by overthrowing an accepted leader like Sukarno in Indonesia or encouraging the assassination of the Catholic autocrat Ngo Dinh Diem in Saigon in 1963? The answer -- and thanks to WikiLeaks and the Arab spring, this is now so much clearer -- is that both were Washingtons chosen subordinates until each became insubordinate and expendable.

Why, half a century later, would Washington betray its stated democratic principles by backing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak against millions of demonstrators and then, when he faltered, use its leverage to replace him, at least initially with his intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, a man best known for running Cairos torture chambers (and lending them out to Washington)? The answer again: because both were reliable subordinates who had long served Washingtons interests well in this key Arab state. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175383/tomgram%3A_mccoy... / (the story follows a brief intro)



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Newsjock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:02 AM
Response to Original message
1. Uninformed thugs, too
n/t
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dixiegrrrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:04 AM
Response to Original message
2. Excellent and highly recommended.
K&R
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:30 AM
Response to Original message
3. Well Done!
"An Empire of Autocrats, Aristocrats, and Uniformed Thugs"



Who will STAND and FIGHT for THIS American Majority?
"By their WORKS you will know them,"



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earcandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:33 AM
Response to Original message
4. repost
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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 11:53 AM
Response to Original message
5. Washington on the Rocks
Thanks for posting this, marmar.

Here's more from the piece. The sunshine is finally reaching the dark corners of our failed, 50 year-old imperialistic foreign policy.


Washington on the Rocks

An Empire of Autocrats, Aristocrats, and Uniformed Thugs Begins to Totter

By Alfred W. McCoy and Brett Reilly

April 24, 2011


.....

Throughout the Cold War, the U.S. would favor military autocrats in Latin America, aristocrats across the Middle East, and a mixture of democrats and dictators in Asia. In 1958, military coups in Thailand and Iraq suddenly put the spotlight on Third World militaries as forces to be reckoned with. It was then that the Eisenhower administration decided to bring foreign military leaders to the U.S. for further training to facilitate the management of the forces of change released by the development of these emerging nations. Henceforth, Washington would pour military aid into the cultivation of the armed forces of allies and potential allies worldwide, while training missions would be used to create crucial ties between the U.S. military and the officer corps in country after country -- or where subordinate elites did not seem subordinate enough, help identify alternative leaders.

When civilian presidents proved insubordinate, the Central Intelligence Agency went to work, promoting coups that would install reliable military successors --replacing Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq, who tried to nationalize his country's oil, with General Fazlollah Zahedi (and then the young Shah) in 1953; President Sukarno with General Suharto in Indonesia during the next decade; and of course President Salvador Allende with General Augusto Pinochet in Chile in 1973, to name just three such moments.

.....

Absent a global war capable of simply sweeping away an empire, the decline of a great power is often a fitful, painful, drawn-out affair. In addition to the two American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down to something not so far short of defeat, the nations capital is now writhing in fiscal crisis, the coin of the realm is losing its creditworthiness, and longtime allies are forging economic and even military ties to rival China. To all of this, we must now add the possible loss of loyal surrogates across the Middle East.

For more than 50 years, Washington has been served well by a system of global power based on subordinate elites. That system once facilitated the extension of American influence worldwide with a surprising efficiency and (relatively speaking) an economy of force. Now, however, those loyal allies increasingly look like an empire of failed or insubordinate states. Make no mistake: the degradation of, or ending of, half a century of such ties is likely to leave Washington on the rocks.




Suddenly, plying these "allies" with bribes, weaponry and special favors is no longer as effective as it once was for the Empire.


Finally, our government's colossal failure in its foreign policy for the past 50+ years is no longer shrouded in the shadows.




For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East, and we achieved neither. ---- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at American University in Cairo, June, 2005, infuriating the Mubarak government (via link in above article)



I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed, confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice, government that is transparent and doesnt steal from the people, the freedom to live as you choose. ..... But he then added, There is no straight line to realize that promise. -----Barack Obama at Cairo University, June, 2009

Mr. Mubaraks officials were euphoric after his speech; one called it seminal.





We have a very long journey ahead.



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Jakes Progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:40 PM
Response to Original message
6. Don't worry. The administration is on this.
They will stop the information from getting to the people if they have to shred every page of the constitution.
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glinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 09:00 PM
Response to Original message
7. I am soooo embarrassed that I live here.
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Mosaic Donating Member (851 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:14 AM
Response to Original message
8. 2016, 5 years left
Until China overtakes this country by GDP. The shameful empire will fall soon, that is good news.
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loudsue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:32 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. A communist, totalitarian government will replace this once great beacon of hope.
I can't tell you how disgusting that picture is to me. I'm surprised the world would WANT to go that route.
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dotymed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-27-11 08:42 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. Unfortunately, it is not a "decision" that the world has.
"We" have mapped out this future. Our politicians, driven by greed, and even though history taught them better, encouraged "free enterprise" (uncontrolled capitalism) to flourish. This was to our detriment (except Wall Street and "multi-nationals") and ensured that the elite would become our masters. We know the answer. FDR showed us the answer in just such a predicament (maybe not as bad in reality) as we are currently in.
Either we re-implement the "New Deal"; Great Society) if it is not too late, or we continue down the drain.
Sadly, it is the majority of us who suffer while the few elites enjoy undreamed of wealth and power.
Honestly, to leave this decision up to our corporate owned politicians is the least responsible thing we can do. We must loudly demand these changes, in Unison and not settle for anything less because anything less is just a "compromise" (the word of the decade), that might slow our descent but not reverse it.
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swilton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-27-11 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. It won't necessarily be Communist
- don't fall for the demonizing socialism meme put out by the corporate leadership.

It could just as easily be fascist.
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-27-11 02:01 AM
Response to Original message
10. kick
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MasonJar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-27-11 01:12 PM
Response to Original message
13. I dispute one of his claims. There are certainly autocrats and uninformed
thugs in DC. But I beg to differ about the aristocrats. Th be an aristocrat don't you have to have at least a little class?
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