I don’t know who wrote Krauthammer’s column today, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t him. Why else would the column truthfully discuss the vile dictators the Right-wing administrations in the US have chosen to support:
Pakistan is not the first time we’ve faced hard choices about democratization. At the height of the Cold War, particularly in the immediate post-Vietnam era of American weakness, we supported dictators Augusto Pinochet in Chile and Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines. The logic was simple: The available and likely alternative — i.e., communists — would be worse.
So how’d that work out for you, Chuck (can I call you Chuck?)? And don’t be modest now. Don’t forget The Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein, among many many others.
He goes on:
Critics of America considered this proof of our hypocrisy about defending freedom. Vindication of these deals with the devil had to wait until the 1980s, by which time two conditions had changed.
First, external conditions: The exigencies of the existential struggle of the Cold War were receding as the Soviet empire was rapidly weakening. Second, internal changes in Chile and the Philippines produced genuinely democratic opposition movements with broad popular support and legitimacy.
Indeed. First, Chuckie, I’m proud to be a critic of America. When the country screws up, it’s constitutionally up to We The People to fix it. And in re: vindication of these “deals with the devil”:
With a viable democratic alternative at hand, the Reagan administration turned about and decisively helped push the two dictators out of power. Under the assistant secretary of state for East Asia, Paul Wolfowitz, we supported Corazon Aquino’s “people power” revolution in the Philippines and arranged a Hawaii exile for Marcos. Under the assistant secretary of state for Latin America, Elliott Abrams, we pushed Pinochet into a referendum that he lost, ushering in the transition to today’s flourishing Chilean democracy.
Oh puhleeeze! Wolfowitz’s and Jeanne Kirkpatrick’s policies in the Philippines led directly to the ascendency of Marcos, and the assassination of Benigno Aquino in 1983. The only reason they chose to “support” Corazon Aquino was 1) the revolution was imminent, and 2) they wanted to keep hold of Clark Air Force Base, and the Naval Base at Subic Bay. Oh yeah, and to keep out the Communists.
And positioning Elliot Abrams as a champion of democracy, just remember Iran/Contra.
The only thing we know for sure about Pakistan is that there will be no such happy ending. President Pervez Musharraf was a good bet in 2001 when, under extreme pressure from the Bush administration, he flipped and joined our war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. But like Marcos and Pinochet, he has now become near-terminally unpopular, illegitimate and destructive to his own country. Is it time to revisit the 1980s and help push him over the edge?
So the Philippines and Chile were happy endings? Not from where I sit, especially the Philippines, with the country functionally fractured, and Islamist radicals running throuught the outlying islands. But that’s not important right now.
What is important is the last sentence. Should we help topple Musharref? We did that in Iran, with Mossadegh. That led directly to the Revolution of 1979. And as Krauthammer fails to mention, we did it in Chile when we installed Pinochet. We did it earlier in Nicaragua when the Marines installed Somoza. We installed Mobutu in the Congo in 1960. And while we didn’t directly install the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, we are clearly responsible, having bombed the country earlier, then sent them money when they took an anti-Soviet stance. Never mind the genocide, and that they were self-stated Communists.
I can’t think of a single time when overthrowing a country’s government has helped the U.S.
Well, except once. In 1776.
Time to do it again?