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Chomsky writes: "The establishment of diplomatic ties between the US and Cuba has been widely hailed as an event of historic importance."

MIT professor and author Noam Chomsky. (photo: MantleThought.org)
MIT professor and author Noam Chomsky. (photo: MantleThought.org)


Obama's Historic Move

By Noam Chomsky, Noam Chomsky's Blog

16 January 15

 

he establishment of diplomatic ties between the US and Cuba has been widely hailed as an event of historic importance. Correspondent John Lee Anderson, who has written perceptively about the region, sums up a general reaction among liberal intellectuals when he writes, in the New Yorker, that:

"Barack Obama has shown that he can act as a statesman of historic heft. And so, at this moment, has Raúl Castro. For Cubans, this moment will be emotionally cathartic as well as historically transformational. Their relationship with their wealthy, powerful northern American neighbor has remained frozen in the nineteen-sixties for fifty years. To a surreal degree, their destinies have been frozen as well. For Americans, this is important, too. Peace with Cuba takes us momentarily back to that golden time when the United States was a beloved nation throughout the world, when a young and handsome J.F.K. was in office -- before Vietnam, before Allende, before Iraq and all the other miseries -- and allows us to feel proud about ourselves for finally doing the right thing."

The past is not quite as idyllic as it is portrayed in the persisting Camelot image. JFK was not "before Vietnam" – or even before Allende and Iraq, but let us put that aside. In Vietnam, when JFK entered office the brutality of the Diem regime that the US had imposed had finally elicited domestic resistance that it could not control. Kennedy was therefore confronted by what he called an "assault from the inside," "internal aggression" in the interesting phrase favored by his UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson.

Kennedy therefore at once escalated the US intervention to outright aggression, ordering the US Air Force to bomb South Vietnam (under South Vietnamese markings, which deceived no one), authorizing napalm and chemical warfare to destroy crops and livestock, and launching programs to drive peasants into virtual concentration camps to "protect them" from the guerrillas whom Washington knew they were mostly supporting.

By 1963, reports from the ground seemed to indicate that Kennedy's war was succeeding, but a serious problem arose. In August, the administration learned that the Diem government was seeking negotiations with the North to end the conflict.

If JFK had had the slightest intention to withdraw, that would have been a perfect opportunity to do so gracefully, with no political cost, even claiming, in the usual style, that it was American fortitude and principled defense of freedom that compelled the North Vietnamese to surrender. Instead, Washington backed a military coup to install hawkish generals more attuned to JFK's actual commitments; President Diem and his brother were murdered in the process. With victory apparently within sight, Kennedy reluctantly accepted a proposal by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to begin withdrawing troops (NSAM 263), but only with a crucial proviso: After Victory. Kennedy maintained that demand insistently until his assassination a few weeks later. Many illusions have been concocted about these events, but they collapse quickly under the weight of the rich documentary record.

The story elsewhere was also not quite as idyllic as in the Camelot legends. One of the most consequential of Kennedy's decisions was in 1962, when he effectively shifted the mission of the Latin American military from "hemispheric defense" -- a holdover from World War II -- to "internal security," a euphemism for war against the domestic enemy, the population. The results were described by Charles Maechling, who led US counterinsurgency and internal defense planning from 1961 to 1966. Kennedy's decision, he wrote, shifted US policy from toleration "of the rapacity and cruelty of the Latin American military" to "direct complicity" in their crimes, to US support for "the methods of Heinrich Himmler's extermination squads." Those who do not prefer what international relations specialist Michael Glennon called "intentional ignorance" can easily fill in the details.

In Cuba, Kennedy inherited Eisenhower's policy of embargo and formal plans to overthrow the regime, and quickly escalated them with the Bay of Pigs invasion. The failure of the invasion caused near hysteria in Washington. At the first cabinet meeting after the failed invasion, the atmosphere was "almost savage," Under Secretary of State Chester Bowles noted privately: "there was an almost frantic reaction for an action program." Kennedy articulated the hysteria in his public pronouncements: "The complacent, the self-indulgent, the soft societies are about to be swept away with the debris of history. Only the strong ... can possibly survive," he told the country, though was aware, as he said privately, that allies "think that we're slightly demented" on the subject of Cuba. Not without reason.

Kennedy's actions were true to his words. He launched a murderous terrorist campaign designed to bring "the terrors of the earth" to Cuba -- historian and Kennedy adviser Arthur Schlesinger's phrase, referring to the project assigned by the president to his brother Robert Kennedy as his highest priority. Apart from killing thousands of people along with large-scale destruction, the terrors of the earth were a major factor in bringing the world to the brink of a terminal nuclear war, as recent scholarship reveals. The administration resumed the terrorist attacks as soon as the missile crisis subsided.

A standard way to evade the unpleasant topic is to keep to the CIA assassination plots against Castro, ridiculing their absurdity. They did exist, but were a minor footnote to the terrorist war launched by the Kennedy brothers after the failure of their Bay of Pigs invasion, a war that is hard to match in the annals of international terrorism.

There is now much debate about whether Cuba should be removed from the list of states supporting terrorism. It can only bring to mind the words of Tacitus that "crime once exposed had no refuge but in audacity." Except that it is not exposed, thanks to the "treason of the intellectuals."

On taking office after the assassination, President Johnson relaxed the terrorism, which however continued through the 1990s. But he was not about to allow Cuba to survive in peace. He explained to Senator Fulbright that though "I'm not getting into any Bay of Pigs deal," he wanted advice about "what we ought to do to pinch their nuts more than we're doing." Commenting, Latin America historian Lars Schoultz observes that "Nut-pinching has been U.S. policy ever since."

Some, to be sure, have felt that such delicate means are not enough, for example, Nixon cabinet member Alexander Haig, who asked the president to "just give me the word and I'll turn that f--- island into a parking lot." His eloquence captured vividly the long-standing frustration of US leaders about "That infernal little Cuban republic," Theodore Roosevelt's phrase as he ranted in fury over Cuban unwillingness to accept graciously the US invasion of 1898 to block their liberation from Spain and turn them into a virtual colony. Surely his courageous ride up San Juan Hill had been in a noble cause (overlooked, commonly, is that African-American battalions were largely responsible for conquering the hill).

Cuba historian Louis Pérez writes that the US intervention, hailed at home as a humanitarian intervention to liberate Cuba, achieved its actual objectives: "A Cuban war of liberation was transformed into a U.S. war of conquest," the "Spanish-American war" in imperial nomenclature, designed to obscure the Cuban victory that was quickly aborted by the invasion. The outcome relieved American anxieties about "what was anathema to all North American policymakers since Thomas Jefferson -- Cuban independence."

How things have changed in two centuries.

There have been tentative efforts to improve relations in the past 50 years, reviewed in detail by William LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh in their recent comprehensive study, Back Channel to Cuba. Whether we should feel "proud about ourselves" for the steps that Obama has taken may be debated, but they are "the right thing," even though the crushing embargo remains in place in defiance of the entire world (Israel excepted) and tourism is still barred. In his address to the nation announcing the new policy, the president made it clear that in other respects too, the punishment of Cuba for refusing to bend to US will and violence will continue, repeating pretexts that are too ludicrous for comment.

Worthy of attention, however, are the president's words, such as the following:

"Proudly, the United States has supported democracy and human rights in Cuba through these five decades. We've done so primarily through policies that aim to isolate the island, preventing the most basic travel and commerce that Americans can enjoy anyplace else. And though this policy has been rooted in the best of intentions, no other nation joins us in imposing these sanctions and it has had little effect beyond providing the Cuban government with a rationale for restrictions on its people ... Today, I'm being honest with you. We can never erase the history between us."

One has to admire the stunning audacity of this pronouncement, which again recalls the words of Tacitus. Obama is surely not unaware of the actual history, which includes not only the murderous terrorist war and scandalous economic embargo, but also military occupation of Southeastern Cuba for over a century, including its major port, despite requests by the government since independence to return what was stolen at gunpoint -- a policy justified only by the fanatic commitment to block Cuba's economic development. By comparison, Putin's illegal takeover of Crimea looks almost benign. Dedication to revenge against the impudent Cubans who resist US domination has been so extreme that it has even overruled the wishes of powerful segments of the business community for normalization -- pharmaceuticals, agribusiness, energy – an unusual development in US foreign policy. Washington's cruel and vindictive policies have virtually isolated the US in the hemisphere and elicited contempt and ridicule throughout the world. Washington and its acolytes like to pretend that they have been "isolating" Cuba, as Obama intoned, but the record shows clearly that it is the US that is being isolated, probably the primary reason for the partial change of course.

Domestic opinion no doubt is also a factor in Obama's "historic move" -- though the public has, irrelevantly, been in favor of normalization for a long time. A CNN poll in 2014 showed that only a quarter of Americans now regard Cuba as a serious threat to the United States, as compared with over two-thirds thirty years earlier, when President Reagan was warning about the grave threat to our lives posed by the nutmeg capital of the world (Grenada) and by the Nicaraguan army, only two days march from Texas. With fears now having somewhat abated, perhaps we can slightly relax our vigilance.

In the extensive commentary on Obama's decision, a leading theme has been that Washington's benign efforts to bring democracy and human rights to suffering Cubans, sullied only by childish CIA shenanigans, have been a failure. Our lofty goals were not achieved, so a reluctant change of course is in order.

Were the policies a failure? That depends on what the goal was. The answer is quite clear in the documentary record. The Cuban threat was the familiar one that runs through Cold War history, with many predecessors. It was spelled out clearly by the incoming Kennedy administration. The primary concern was that Cuba might be a "virus" that would "spread contagion," to borrow Kissinger's terms for the standard theme, referring to Allende's Chile. That was recognized at once.

Intending to focus attention on Latin America, before taking office Kennedy established a Latin American Mission, headed by Arthur Schlesinger, who reported its conclusions to the incoming president. The Mission warned of the susceptibility of Latin Americans to "the Castro idea of taking matters into one's own hands," a serious danger, as Schlesinger later elaborated, when "The distribution of land and other forms of national wealth greatly favors the propertied classes … [and] The poor and underprivileged, stimulated by the example of the Cuban revolution, are now demanding opportunities for a decent living."

Schlesinger was reiterating the laments of Secretary of State John Foster Duller, who complained to President Eisenhower about the dangers posed by domestic "Communists," who are able "to get control of mass movements," an unfair advantage that we "have no capacity to duplicate." The reason is that "the poor people are the ones they appeal to and they have always wanted to plunder the rich." It is hard to convince backward and ignorant people to follow our principle that the rich should plunder the poor.

Others elaborated on Schlesinger's warnings. In July 1961, the CIA reported that "The extensive influence of 'Castroism' is not a function of Cuban power ... Castro's shadow looms large because social and economic conditions throughout Latin America invite opposition to ruling authority and encourage agitation for radical change," for which Castro's Cuba provides a model. The State Department Policy Planning Council explained further that "the primary danger we face in Castro is…in the impact the very existence of his regime has upon the leftist movement in many Latin American countries… The simple fact is that Castro represents a successful defiance of the US, a negation of our whole hemispheric policy of almost a century and a half," ever since the Monroe Doctrine declared the US intention to dominate the hemisphere. To put it simply, historian Thomas Paterson observes, "Cuba, as symbol and reality, challenged U.S. hegemony in Latin America."

The way to deal with a virus that might spread contagion is to kill the virus and inoculate potential victims. That sensible policy is just what Washington pursued, and in terms of its primary goals, the policy has been quite successful. Cuba has survived, but without the ability to achieve the feared potential. And the region was "inoculated" with vicious military dictatorships to prevent contagion, beginning with the Kennedy-inspired military coup that established a National Security terror and torture regime in Brazil shortly after Kennedy's assassination, greeted with much enthusiasm in Washington. The Generals had carried out a "democratic rebellion," Ambassador Lincoln Gordon cabled home. The revolution was "a great victory for free world," which prevented a "total loss to West of all South American Republics" and should "create a greatly improved climate for private investments." This democratic revolution was "the single most decisive victory of freedom in the mid-twentieth century," Gordon held, "one of the major turning points in world history" in this period, which removed what Washington saw as a Castro clone.

The plague then spread throughout the continent, culminating in Reagan's terrorist wars in Central America and finally the assassination of six leading Latin American intellectuals, Jesuit priests, by an elite Salvadoran battalion, fresh from renewed training at the JFK Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg, following the orders of the High Command to murder them along with any witnesses, their housekeeper and her daughter. The 25th anniversary of the assassination has just passed, commemorated with the usual silence considered appropriate for our crimes.

Much the same was true of the Vietnam war, also considered a failure and a defeat. Vietnam itself was of no particular concern, but as the documentary record reveals, Washington was concerned that successful independent development there might spread contagion throughout the region, reaching Indonesia, with its rich resources, and perhaps even as far as Japan -- the "superdomino" as it was described by Asia historian John Dower -- which might accommodate to an independent East Asia, becoming its industrial and technological center, independent of US control, in effect constructing a New Order in Asia. The US was not prepared to lose the Pacific phase of World War II in the early 1950s, so it turned quickly to support for France's war to reconquer its former colony, and then on to the horrors that ensued, sharply escalated when Kennedy took office, later by his successors.

Vietnam was virtually destroyed: it would be a model for no one. And the region was protected by installing murderous dictatorships, much as in Latin America in the same years -- it is not unnatural that imperial policy should follow similar lines in different parts of the world. The most important case was Indonesia, protected from contagion by the 1965 Suharto coup, a "staggering mass slaughter" as the New York Times described it accurately, while joining in the general euphoria about "a gleam of light in Asia" (liberal columnist James Reston). In retrospect, Kennedy-Johnson National Security advisor McGeorge Bundy recognized that "our effort" in Vietnam was "excessive" after 1965, with Indonesia safely inoculated.

The Vietnam war is described as a failure, an American defeat. In reality it was a partial victory. The US did not achieve its maximal goal of turning Vietnam into the Philippines, but the major concerns were overcome, much as in the case of Cuba. Such outcomes therefore count as defeat, failure, terrible decisions.

The imperial mentality is wondrous to behold.

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-82 # brux 2015-01-16 20:33
OK ... Chomsky knows it all ... so, how does this work inside the US. He is so up on things ... tell us how and why we kept attacking Cuba. Is it the Mafia running the government. Just the whim of the two Kennedy brothers? What is the special value of Cuba. Why do we maintain a huge military base in Cuba, and yet we'v been afraid of it for decades? And who is "we"?

All we get from Chomsky is the same of recycled stuff, and yes, it's bad. Just as bad as every other country does, but somehow we are deserving of his special contempt, even though he gets to make a good living expressing it.

Come on Chomsky, you know all the secrets and can see around corners ... what is the real story, what are the real gears and levers being pulled here.

> The imperial mentality is wondrous to behold.

Where is there anything else? How should a people in the empire and out the empire deal with it? You have all the answers, but why is it we just get mushy essay after mushy self-righteous essay?
 
 
+34 # Ken Halt 2015-01-16 23:59
There are a lot of things that are quite obvious in the essay and in the five decades of history, and you don't get it!!
 
 
+48 # Thomas Martin 2015-01-17 01:19
I found Noam Chomsky’s article to be, as usual, incisive and insightful, and your comments on it to be disrespectful of him and his commentary, and lacking in anything at all that would contribute constructively to the discussion.
 
 
+35 # Ausmar 2015-01-17 08:46
Instead of just casting vituperation and abuse on a scholar's historically well documented account of US imperialist policy towards Cuba and other Latin American countries, address specific claims made by the author and show where you think he goes wrong. Criticize by giving reasons, not by casting aspersions...Yo ur contribution is entirely unhelpful.
 
 
-16 # brux 2015-01-17 18:33
vituperation - bitter and abusive language

Where was any bitter and abusive language directed at Noam Chomsky. I like Noam Chomsky, but he has been saying the same thing for so long it no longer is new or useful, nor does it count as "activism" to just day by day pen out the same old thing.

Funny how you did not read my comment, or understand it, but you do in your reply the thing you accuse me of doing. Why waste you time, you are just pandering for feel-good point from your Lefties buddies not saying anything.
 
 
0 # politicfix 2015-01-17 21:02
Eisenhower had an 8 yr. rein most of which were run by VP Nixon who had more responsibility that any other VP while Ike was playing golf. Eisenhower blatantly states, "beware of the military complex", why? Was war already on the horizon? Eisenhower was zero help when a young Kennedy came into office. He called him, "little blue boy". Kennedy went into a den of Republicans who tried to manipulate him & most likely lied to him. RFK was brought in as attorney general to watch his back and be someone he could trust. Kennedy fired Allan Dulles (ironically he ended up being a prominent figure in the Warren support after being fired?) Kennedy should have thrown them under the bus but he fired them and took responsibility himself. He was the biggest advocate of peace around the world. He built bridges & the world loved him. So, we decide to tear down the dead president and leave all the crooked live ones off the hook? GHW Bush, head of the CIA, and as president a proponent of "the new world order" has nothing said about how crooked he's been.
By the above picture, I'd say Chomsky has been reading the wrong damn books. If you're going to tell a story tell about the 8 years before Kennedy.
 
 
0 # tgemberl 2015-01-19 16:16
You could be right. But you've got to be suspicious of people who talk about what a hero Kennedy was. Maybe there's evidence he didn't want to escalate Vietnam too much, but remember, he campaigned on increasing military spending.

I always remember that old saying (rock lyric?): "Die young, stay pretty." If you're a good-looking, charismatic person who dies young, people are going to tend to idealize you. Johnson was the one who had to stay and make hard decisions. He made some wrong ones, but he made more right decisions.
 
 
-2 # tgemberl 2015-01-19 14:10
Brux,
Thanks again for your efforts against groupthink.

I knew when I started reading this piece that Chomsky would spend almost all of it attacking the US before expressing even the faintest appreciation for what Obama has done.

Now, I can kind of appreciate what Chomsky is trying to achieve. He wants us to give up nationalism completely and enter into a post-nationalis t, anarchist world. But the truth is nationalism isn't dead. It's got lots of life in it. As people who live in nations, we can't expect to transcend national considerations. Americans will continue to act as Americans. The best we can do is hope to wean ourselves from some of the illusions we've fallen into, particularly that we are God's elect chosen to bring the rest of the world to righteousness.

But to think that things like corporations and the military are just going to wither away as we become enlightened anarchists is not realistic for the foreseeable future.
 
 
-55 # brux 2015-01-16 20:48
>> The Vietnam war is described as a failure, an American defeat. In reality it was a partial victory. The US did not achieve its maximal goal of turning Vietnam into the Philippines, but the major concerns were overcome, much as in the case of Cuba. Such outcomes therefore count as defeat, failure, terrible decisions.

This is a very important paragraph and statement. Chomsky having said that "The Vietnam war is described as a failure, an American defeat. In reality it was a partial victory", but ought to really explain that ... what is it that the US is really after that this counts as a victory?

>> The past is not quite as idyllic as it is portrayed in the persisting Camelot image. JFK was not "before Vietnam" – or even before Allende and Iraq, but let us put that aside.

Yes, but the past has never been good in reality, in fact it is better today, even with all this terrorism there is more production, more communication, more peace, more understanding, and who has been presiding over all of that?

Bush wants to claim credit for protecting America, Obama gets credit when the US economy is good ... does the US get credit when the world works?
 
 
+16 # Ausmar 2015-01-17 09:01
Read Carefully. What Chomsky correctly claims is that relative to the US goal of keeping the communist "contagion" from spreading to such Far East countries as Indonesia or even Japan (thereby closing off those countries to American interests), the Vietnam war was a partial success. Of course it was a dismal failure in other ways.
 
 
-14 # brux 2015-01-17 18:27
What makes you think I did not read carefully? Oh, your Leftist know-it-all need to pretend only you can read carefully.

What I said was:

> what is it that the US is really after that this counts as a victory?

If you have a clue why not try to answer the question? You don't, all you can do is challenge someone who disagrees with you that they did not read correctly.

This kind of thing seems to be all most of the extreme Left here can do ... they either cheer mindlessly not even understanding what Chomsky has said, or jump on anyone who might ask questions or disagree.

Look no further as to why you drag the Left backwards and never get anything done. Your kind of thinking has alienated most of the country to the point where they have given Republicans that Senate and House.
 
 
-4 # politicfix 2015-01-17 21:09
brux - I'd like to ask now Sec. of State, John Kerry, who protested the war when he returned but who now has invested in Vietnam. It's all about money and power. Greed and selfishness. It always is. Apparently chompsky's mind has been poisoned by reading all the wrong books.
 
 
+5 # babalu 2015-01-18 05:23
Silly name-calling! What does Leftist mean any more? Not Radical Right like most Republicans who can't wait to put women and minorities back in their previous places?
 
 
-6 # brux 2015-01-18 22:58
I wouldn't disagree with you, but gotta call stuff something don't we?

I just think of the Left as those folks who were for democracy, women's rights, black's rights, fair pay, social security , universal health care, universal education, etc ... all the issues of human rights - mostly domestically.

This is why I have such a problem with the Left being the ones who are supporting all these Islamic countries and the Palestinians ... that does not compute at all.
 
 
0 # babalu 2015-01-18 05:21
And then a million people died as North Vietnam took over.
 
 
+3 # John Escher 2015-01-19 12:50
Ah, the soft underbelly of pure sentimentality that sags beneath the four-legged blatherers of the right: "Even with all this terrorism there is more production, more communication, more peace, more understanding..."

Tra-la, tra-la, THIS IS THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS.

You are not the iconoclast you think, brux, but rather a naif.
 
 
+20 # geraldom 2015-01-17 00:14
When it comes to Cuba, I trust the U.S. government as far as I can throw my car. If the U.S. government has plans to overthrow the Cuban government from within as it has attempted to do from the outside as it has attempted to do for the last 55 years, then the Cuban government may be making a very bad deal here

What is the ulterior motive, not the stated motive if one was even stated, of the United States in this situation? That's what I would like to know.
 
 
-24 # brux 2015-01-17 01:03
> When it comes to Cuba, I trust the U.S. government as far as I can throw my car.

When it comes to Cuba US trust does seem to be an issue. One has to wonder what on Earth was going in the US government to have such a stiffy for getting Cuba back at any means. I have to wonder if the Mafia was somehow running the government or manipulating things?

The Cuban government is going to have to continue doing what it thinks it needs to do to protect itself, while the US twists that and calls it repression. Cuba has made the best of a lose-lose situation for decades, so let's trust they will continue to do what is best for them.

If they lose it because it was all due to Castro, then it was bound to end at some point sooner or later anyway. A lot of Cuban people have what might be unrealistic expectations that their lives would so much better with more connections to the US.
 
 
+5 # ronnewmexico 2015-01-17 12:03
To my opinion a large part of the change here is simply, the expat community who held the most extreme view of cuba, to include the embargo and all the rest..is simply dying off.

They are loosing more and more clout in the cuban commmunity and the young now really are wanting a end to this heinous thing so they may well visit their homeland unimpeded again. And relatives and community itself exists in Cuba.

You US simply can not remain standing in a position that the cuban community in the US... itself is starting to back away from ..it is a political no no.

That to my opinion is the reason for this. Other potential motive exists, such co opting the revolution and that is certainly hoped for. But for one reason..this is it..the community is no longer supporting isolation and violent attempts at change in cuba…the young have changed and as more young exist compared to the old..it is more and more this way not that.

Teh co opting will begin in ernest. We can only hope they in cuba keep it under control.
 
 
+3 # lfeuille 2015-01-17 17:53
Quoting ronnewmexico:
To my opinion a large part of the change here is simply, the expat community who held the most extreme view of cuba, to include the embargo and all the rest..is simply dying off.

They are loosing more and more clout in the cuban commmunity and the young now really are wanting a end to this heinous thing so they may well visit their homeland unimpeded again. And relatives and community itself exists in Cuba.

You US simply can not remain standing in a position that the cuban community in the US... itself is starting to back away from ..it is a political no no.

That to my opinion is the reason for this. Other potential motive exists, such co opting the revolution and that is certainly hoped for. But for one reason..this is it..the community is no longer supporting isolation and violent attempts at change in cuba…the young have changed and as more young exist compared to the old..it is more and more this way not that.

Teh co opting will begin in ernest. We can only hope they in cuba keep it under control.


Yes, that is what allowed it to happen at this point in time, but US business and agricultural concerns have been chomping at the bit to trade with Cuba for many years. Profits are down globally. I think they really want new markets to exploit.
 
 
+3 # lfeuille 2015-01-17 17:49
Quoting geraldom:
When it comes to Cuba, I trust the U.S. government as far as I can throw my car. If the U.S. government has plans to overthrow the Cuban government from within as it has attempted to do from the outside as it has attempted to do for the last 55 years, then the Cuban government may be making a very bad deal here

What is the ulterior motive, not the stated motive if one was even stated, of the United States in this situation? That's what I would like to know.


My guess would be that the neoliberals want to trade with Cuba so as to create an oligarch class and an underclass. They can sell stuff to the rich oligarchs and get cheap labor from the underclass.
 
 
-2 # brux 2015-01-18 22:54
then worry about venezuela
 
 
+32 # Peace Anonymous 2015-01-17 01:32
I really hate to be consistently cynical - but the actions of government and business working together consistently support cynicism.

The typical American perspective is that of a business perspective, as if the only thing that really matters is the bottom line. And I am willing to bet anything that Cuba, being the last unpaved paradise of any real significance in the western hemisphere, is finally going to get its parking lot.

Obama has made this decision in the same manner Presidents have been making decisions since time began: Not in the best interests of diplomacy or the Cuban people, but in the best interests of corporate America. After 20 or so trips to this beautiful island I for one am not looking forward to seeing a McDonald's anywhere near Havana.

Time will tell.
 
 
-19 # brux 2015-01-17 02:26
>> the actions of government and business working together consistently support cynicism.

>> The typical American perspective is that of a business perspective

Any thoughts on why that is?

The synergy of business and government ( and the military ) working together is what keeps the US "on top" so to speak.

You and others may not want the US to be "on top", this it is immoral, and that it sustains the worst problems with this country, ... and you may even be right ... for to make that decision for 300 million people and push to change the system that been working for over 200 years without a clear idea of what to replace it with is simply never ever going to fly or get any support.

The result of us having the system that we have are things like Viet Nam, Cuba, Global Warming, War in the Middle East, etc.

This is one small evolutionary step in the right direction for one small problem - Cuba. I hope it works, but i think this is the way things have to change is a system as large and coarse as ours is with so many people depending on it.

How do you like Cuba? I've always wanted to go there and almost did but got cold feet when I was in Yucatan once.
 
 
+26 # Peace Anonymous 2015-01-17 02:51
If the business leaders of a country grow rice politicians will naturally support rice exports.
If the business leaders mine copper the business leaders will naturally support copper exports.
When the business leaders of a country manufacture weapons the politicians will naturally support the export of war.
Solution - Get business OUT of government.
Cuba is the one of the most peaceful countries in the world. Sadly I bet that too will change.
As far as evolution is concerned people all over the world have been seeing the truth for decades. When will America evolve?
 
 
-10 # brux 2015-01-17 15:58
>> Solution - Get business OUT of government.

1. That will never happen, and especially never happen in any of our lifetimes.

2. If it were to happen the countries where it did not happen would have a decided advantage militarily and start to dictate to the country that tried it.

Just saying Cuba is peaceful does not mean much. There is not much it can do or reason to be non-peaceful. Little isolated countries usually are peaceful, with the exception of Palestine, but then again that's another subject.
 
 
+6 # babalu 2015-01-18 05:26
Alignment of business and government leads to fascism, which we are exporting to other countries.
 
 
-3 # brux 2015-01-18 22:53
You might be interested in a book about economic growth and free trade, when it is good and when it is bad.

"Bad Samaritans" by Ha-Joon Chang.

Chang talks about how South Korea under a military junta, more or less the same as fascism, set up protections for their infant tech industries and leveraged that eventually into increasting by 8 times the average wages in South Korea and now they are a democracy.

It's not just racism that is the problem, it is who runs the facist state and for what purpose and to what ends. I don't mean to argue pro-fascism at all, but in the case where you have a country that does not understand what is going on you need to have leaders with a vision to create a new and better system, and that system would never happen under democracy because the people are just not ready and do not conceive of it.

It is an excellent and eye-opening book, as well as "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism" and "Economics: The User's Guide" - excellent educational books from a Liberal perspective.
 
 
+7 # tpmco 2015-01-17 05:11
I haven't read anything yet that Cuba is bending over. The Cuban people have every right to set some ground rules, and when USA alt-media get inserted into the Cuban landscape we can get some decent reporting of the issues and discussion of same. Writing the real history, so to speak.

But I agree, time will tell.
 
 
-9 # brux 2015-01-17 16:04
You want the government to represent you, then make corporate America represent you, because corporate America as a political force is not going to be going away anytime soon though a majority want that to happen. A workable alternative needs to be found that does not destabilize things too much.
 
 
+16 # ritawalpoleague 2015-01-17 04:07
Thank you again, dear Prof. Noam, for educating us. So needed.

FYI, I was advised about ten or so years ago, by friends who are excellent physicians, that when cruising or traveling in the Mexican 'Caribbean' or in Central America, should I or those with me have a medical emergency, it was best to seek med. assistance from a doc educated in Cuba. Interesting, and encouraging also.

And, thank you too, Peace Anonymous for your comment re. need to "Get business OUT of government." I certainly agree.

Re. "When will America evolve?" Do you mean the U.S. when you say 'America', Peace Anonymous? My guess is that you do, but try I do to never assume anything.

However, I do sooooo agree that there is great need for the U.S. and all humankind to evolve, and those 1%ers and their governments that constantly grope for 'power over all', i.e. the U.S. of (greed and need for power over all) A. (ddiction), must evolve and come to recognize that.....

CONTROL IS AN ILLUSION.
 
 
+17 # Nel 2015-01-17 07:12
Brilliant thinking,pristi ne prose: Thank you Professor Chomsky.
Special thanks for ""assault from the inside," "internal aggression" in the interesting phrase favored by his UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson." This is still true, making the USA Government an occupied administration.
 
 
+8 # PABLO DIABLO 2015-01-17 12:24
George W. Bush turned more Latin American and South American countries "leftward" than Che Guervara ever dreamed of.
Chomsky misses Richard Nixon's role in Cuba (Batista's friend, Bay of Pigs, Howard Hughes, etc.)
 
 
+7 # PaulKemp 2015-01-17 15:25
This article is missing many real reasons for this conflict. Manly because Chomsky steers clear of deep investigation into the wealthy, immoral men deeply entrenched into the controlling powers of US Foreign and domestic policy. This is the primary reason he refuses to make a deep study of what actually transpired on the day of 9/11 2001.

The famous JFK Speech 2 weeks before his death points directly to the real reasons behind US acts of increasing aggression and terror world wide. Where iniquity rules terror reigns. The minds of devils are difficult for moral and ethical folks to comprehend. It was these very men who invaded Cuba and every other Nation before and since.

For a deeper understanding of these deviant minds you must dare to investigate. JFK attempted to thwart the invasion of Cuba by standing down the air support for the unauthorized invasion. http://youtu.be/U1Qt6a-vaNM

The wealthy and fortunate few actually do rule over the unfortunate many. Especially is this true in United States
 
 
-11 # brux 2015-01-17 16:02
Good points ... one would think that if Chomsky really wanted to make a difference and really understood this he could very well explain the dynamics here.

I don't think the US had anything directly to do with 911, but the forces in the US that cause things like wars, assassinations, Chomsky should know enough to talk about, or know how to create transparency. Too bad he does not say anything about it.
 
 
+6 # aljoschu 2015-01-17 16:04
Ancient Troja had only been besieged by the Danaeans for ten years, Cuba was for 50 years, however never taken.
Tu felix Cuba, dread the Americans, especially when they bring presents!
 
 
-7 # brux 2015-01-17 16:06
Well, no one, not even Chomsky mentioned that a big battleground state in the next election ... especially if Jeb Bush runs, is going to be Florida, where the most Cubans live and where many an election hinges.

This may be more cynical and pragmatic than we know - Obama is setting things up for Cubans to look at Democrats differently.
 
 
+3 # lfeuille 2015-01-17 18:04
Quoting brux:
Well, no one, not even Chomsky mentioned that a big battleground state in the next election ... especially if Jeb Bush runs, is going to be Florida, where the most Cubans live and where many an election hinges.

This may be more cynical and pragmatic than we know - Obama is setting things up for Cubans to look at Democrats differently.


But Obama knows, as ronnewmexico pointed out, attitudes of younger Cubans are changing. They are not so right wing anymore. Ever year more of the old guard dies off and are replaced by people who do not want to maintain the embargo.
 

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