Citizen Action Monitor

Crisis in American democracy: Part 8 – America’s often brutal interventionist policies abroad serve corporate interests

No 340 Posted by fw, November 16, 2011

In Part 7 of this 11-part series, Shockley’s documentary film catches Obama and Geithner paying lip service to small business, standing in sharp contrast to a new breed of “business democrats” who are now running the Democratic Party. There’s a flashback to the Golden Age of Capitalism, which is short-lived indeed. By the ‘70s and after, destructive financial capitalists have effectively returned to a 19th century approach to labor-management confrontation. In this post, Part 8, the focus is on America’s interventionist policies abroad that primarily served its own corporate interests.

Continuing with the format for this series, a complete 77-minute video of Shockley’s documentary film is embedded below followed by my time-indexed transcript comprising Part 4, including subheadings, and any external links and text highlighting. The time indexing facilitates switching from the text to its related place in the video. Of course, readers have the option of watching the complete 77-minute video at one sitting.

Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Politics a documentary film by Jonathan Shockley


The more favorable the investment climate in a Third World country, the more human rights and U.S. aid increased

43:00 – Noam Chomsky — . . . try [union] organizing in one of the US client states in Latin America and get your brains blown out in Colombia, for example.

43:11 – Barack Obama <White House news and photo op> – The relationship between the United States and Colombia has been extremely strong. We’ve had great cooperation on a whole range of issues and President Uribe’s administration, I think, has, under very difficult circumstances performed admirably on a whole range of fronts – on security, on improving the economic situation for his people, and stabilizing the country. He has performed with diligence and courage. And so we are grateful for his friendship. We discussed, most prominently, the interests of both countries in moving forward on a free trade agreement . . .

44:00 Narrator — This has to do with the fact that was mentioned by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in their book, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, namely that what is sought in the Third World is a favorable climate for investment. This means imposing authoritarian measures to undermine unions, welfare programs and governments that may use the resources of a country for its own people rather than giving preference to the open door policies sought by foreign investors. In fact, Chomsky and Herman established a double correlation: the more favorable the investment climate, the more human rights violations and U.S. aid increased. The evidence presented in their later book, Manufacturing Consent, proves that this favorable investment climate was supported by the corporate media. This was done by whitewashing crimes and corrupt elections in Third World countries that were subordinate to foreign investors while attacking governments resisting foreign exploitation.

45:12 <Scene from a movie> — <Man is standing outside the partly open office door eavesdropping on the conversation in the room. In the background, chanting can be heard from protesters outside> —

  • Well, if you can get the JP [Justice of the Peace] to either swear out peace bonds <scene switches to inside the office where a sheriff and 3 other men are talking> or you can heist the bail high enough to keep them in jail”. . .
  • <Sheriff speaks> “Ethan, what am I supposed to do, feed them out of my own pocket?
  • <Another man speaks> “What I want to know, Mr. Hartwell, is when are they going to settle this thing? You won’t negotiate with them. What do you want anyway?
  • <Hartwell speaks> “The company has other mines. You’ve got to see the larger picture. Once these people get out of hand . . .” <Hartwell closes the office door and clip ends>

45:47 <On-screen text> — The threat of a good example: The rotten apple that may spoil the barrel

United States’ lethal legacy in South East Asia

Laith Stevens, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician <from Bomb Harvest, 2008 Documentary: Laos, South East Asia> — America smashed this place with big bombs — more than two million tons in the time of the Vietnam War, which is more than what was dropped by all of the allies together during the whole of the Second World War. So it now has a huge live bombs problem and they lose a lot of people every year. Since the war ended, in excess of 12,000 people have been killed or injured by bombs or other remnants of war. Thirty percent of these items didn’t explode and remain live today. But in many areas it’s near impossible to farm. People blow themselves up whilst cultivating the land. This has kept people poor and the new cash crop now, I suppose, is scrap metal.

“The Cold War was a war of the United States against the Third World”

46:44 Noam Chomsky – The Cold War, in effect, was a war of the United States against the Third World, and of Russia against its much smaller domains in Eastern Europe. Each great power used the other’s threats as a pretext <soundtrack overlaps here>

46:57 Noam Chomsky – The major objectives in Vietnam were pretty much what they were in Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaragua, the Congo, all around the world. They were afraid that Vietnam was going to undergo successful social and economic development and, as it’s put in high places, “The rot might spread to others.” It might lead to ideological victories for the mode of socio-economic development that they’re pursuing. The “virus” might infect others, as Kissinger put it, with regard to Chile. When you have a virus, what do you do with it? You kill the virus and you inoculate the potential victims. And that’s what happened. Indochina was killed. Maybe it will survive but it’s not going to be a model for anything. And the surrounding region was inoculated. In the 60s and early 70s the U.S. succeeded in installing brutal and vicious military dictators in every country. And that stopped, prevented the “rot” from spreading.

U.S. Third World adventures were of little “vital interest of anybody except the corporations”

48:00 Tom Ferguson – After World War 2 you would be involved in some international political adventure. Now when you study the roots of some of these, you came quickly to the conclusion that this is really about American business abroad. Maybe they don’t want to be nationalized or they were . . . or something. And so we’re supporting a government somewhere . . . this is directed toward some economic objective here. You had folks making decisions where it was a perceived risk of a nuclear exchange, for what is in effect . . . you know, I wouldn’t call a vital interest of anybody except the corporations involved.

Interventions rose sharply after World War 2 carried out by Republican and Democrat administrations alike

48:35 Tom Ferguson – I myself ran a study of intervention. And what I did was take the cases, known cases of U.S. troops that had been dispatched abroad and I used a Library of Congress study and then I combined a number of databases and added some, got that out and what I discovered was pretty interesting. It was that the tendency to intervention under Clinton didn’t change at all from the rate under Reagan and Bush. What you basically saw was a big steep increase in intervention after World War 2, a levelling off in the early 70s as the sort of reaction to Vietnam, and under the Reagan doctrine in the early 80s it just takes off like a rocket.

49:15 <Animated musical cartoon> There was trouble in the land of Nicaragua

There was trouble in the land of Nicaragua in the ’80’s, it’s true.
And Uncle Sam has always said this kind of thing just really won’t do.
So he paid for a bag full of dirty tricks
And turned killers into heroes with a P.R. blitz
Well freedom’s sure a funny word for what the Contras did do.

Y’know there are
pirates and emperors but they’re really the same thing
Even the ones who say they just wanna let freedom ring.
Well they do it big
or they do it small
But only one goes down when they break the law
While the Big One claims “This really don’t apply to me”

49:56 Tom Ferguson – Clinton did not change the slope of that. I mean he was busily intervening about as often. On the other hand, I would have to say that I rather doubt the Democrats would have invaded Iraq in the same direct blunt way that the Republicans did.

50:17 <Back to the animated musical video> Well not so long ago

Well not so long ago we thought Saddam here was a pretty swell guy
And we helped him get the goods to make the Ayatollah Khomeini cry
But Uncle Sam decided it was not Saddam’s fate
To be the leader of his Middle Eastern client state
That was sitting on top of a big huge oil supply.

And Obama continues America’s interventionist policies

50:42 Noam Chomsky – In AfPak – Afghanistan-Pakistan – as the region’s now called, Obama is building enormous new embassies and other facilities on the model of the city within a city in Baghdad. These are like no embassies anywhere in the world. And they are signs of an intention to be there for a long, long time. These are also, as you know, sharply escalating the AfPak war. Obama’s pressing the Iraqi government not to permit the referendum that’s required by the Status of Forces Agreement. Washington’s current objection to the referendum was explained two days ago by New York Times correspondent, Melissa Rubin. Obama fears that the Iraqi population might reject the provision that delays U.S. troop withdrawal.

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This entry was posted on November 16, 2011 by in creative protest, evidence based counterpower, political action and tagged , , .
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