Thursday, June 08, 2006


Anti-Zionism crusader, and US hater, Antony Loewnestein continues his anti-imperialism theme in speculating that Hugo Chavez has defanged the American beast:
Whereas in the past the US wouldn’t think twice about supporting military coups and invasion, today’s Latin America is an altogether more independent and robust beast. The rise of popular movements – literally millions of people demanding more access to their country’s resources – is guaranteed to scare Western nations.
Noam Chomsky doesn't quite agree:
And so, the U.S. is preparing for more use of violence. If you take a look at the number of U.S. military personnel throughout Latin America, the military bases, the training of Latin American officers, that's all going up very sharply. In fact, for the first time ever, there are now more U.S. military personnel in Latin America than personnel for the major federal aid organizations. That never happened during the Cold War. Also military training for Latin American officers, and you know what that means.

Military training is being shifted from the State Department to the Pentagon. That's important. The State Department is under congressional supervision, and there are conditionalities, human rights and democracy conditionalities. They're not imposed very much, but they're there, you know, and they have some effect. You switch it to the Pentagon, there's no controls. Do whatever you want. And the whole region is surrounded by bases, and I suspect there will be secessionist movements coming along in Venezuela and Bolivia and possibly Iran. So the military option has by no means been abandoned, but it’s nothing like what it was before. I mean, in the past, you just overthrew governments, you know, didn't think twice about it.
A third scenario, in which events in South America are seen as simply politics as usual, is most likely closer to the mark:
The fashionable current narrative of a "swing to the left" in Latin America, espoused by commentators of left and right alike, appears to have a lot of evidence to commend it: the election of centre-left governments in Brazil and Chile, of more radical figures in Venezuela and Bolivia, and the wave of social protests and convulsions in countries as different as Argentina, Ecuador and Mexico in the first years of the 21st century.

The narrative, however, is only skin-deep. It overlooks a key factor: the populist, nationalist and authoritarian currents that have resurfaced in many places. A full account of this factor reveals that the deeper Latin America story is not a renascent left but a populist resurgence that is further eroding already damaged political institutions.
Anyway, what are the chances that either Loewenstein or Chomsky is right?


Anonymous HisHineness said...

And once the whole experiment has gone the way of all other socialist societies before it, South Americans will simultaneously be blaming the US for causing the downfall, and begging it for assistance.

9:14 AM  

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