Monday, March 13, 2006

# Posted 8:47 AM by Patrick Porter  

GREETINGS FROM THE UK: the news from here is that Scotland Yard's police chief has apologised for secretly taping a phone conversation about wiretapping with the attorney general. This is a state that shows signs of taking the business of monitoring seriously, eavesdropping on conversations about eavesdropping.
Speaking of apologies, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has not apologised to Chile's new president for America's part in the coup that displaced a democratically elected government and installed Pinochet. Rice has focussed only on the positive:

I think it's good to remember that it's now been almost 20 years that the United States has been a friend and supporter of Chilean democracy.
That America has played a constructive role in Chile for 20 years may well be true. But even though I'm a fan of the stars and stripes more than is healthy, its a little naughty and counterproductive for America's representative to be selectively congratulating the USA on its role in democracy building in Chile, at least without showing some awareness that America has a more mixed political record in that country. Also, its not all that pragmatic. Building a solid diplomatic relationship with a country would surely better be done on the basis of an honest confrontation with the past, including some recognition of the fact that the pressures of the Cold War sometimes led the US into moral and strategic error.

Finally, just before I flew out of the states, I heard a former marine and observer of the Darfur genocide speak at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. He discussed in particular the problems facing the forces of the African Union: they haven't got enough troops there, they haven't got a positive mandate to interpose themselves between targeted civilians and their aggressors, and they are often logistically dependent on the Sudanese government. For example, they have been denied fuel and helicopters on the basis that there is a shortage, while government-supplied helicopter gunships operate over the heads of fleeing victims.

Being a corpulent beast, need to go and lie down after the flight.
(3) opinions -- Add your opinion

Please detail America's part in the coup. AFAIK, it was money to a transport workers' union. Only.

Rooting doesn't count.

Detail Allende's probable path and his antecedents.

As we can see recently, South America can screw itself up royally without US help, which leads to the question if that isn't what happened back in the day with the excuse that it was the evil US.
Hey Richard,

apologies for strange keyboard for this post.

no doubt many of South Americas problems cant be simply blamed on the evil US, I would be the very first person to agree on that. And you are also right to imply that Allende might have implemented disastrous policies.

On americas part in the coup,
to quote Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon
"Kissinger: We didn't do it. I mean we helped them. [Garbled] created the conditions as great as possible.
Nixon: That is right. And that is the way it is going to be played."

The conditions included economic sanctions and covert financing. Whatever else they are alleged to have done, sounds like a substantial "role" to me.

about Allendes probably path if he survived, that is a matter of some controversy. We will probably never really know with any confidence. If Allende had survived and begun dismantling the democratic system and establishing a pro Soviet dictatorship, then I would be much more sympathetic about the case for American intervention in that context.
But if you are endorsing a US policy of supporting the subversion of a democratically elected leader in the expectation that they might adopt bad policies in the future, we will have to disagree. Much as I would have detested many of Allendes command economy reforms, I think the consent of the Chilean people comes first.
I'm supporting nothing. I am suggesting two things:
One is that I have, from time to time, gotten folks' wrist up between their shoulder blades and discovered that the "support" they're bitching about consists of not taking the guy out, or at least suggesting he retire. One nutcase called our humanitarian aid to the poor "support". So I am always suspicious.
Now, about "creating conditions". Clearly, we don't know what that means in this case, but if it's external actions only, that differs significantly from messing around internally.
I don't see a problem with making things tough for a guy before he makes things tough on us.
We don't know the future--but you seem to recall a number of things about Allende that bothered you and could have led to a command economy with the required loss of freedom--but we are allowed to look at stuff and guess. In fact, we're required.
As I say, the only thing I know of was money to a union and the Nixon/K chat doesn't get even that specific.
Which means Allende may well have gotten what was coming to him for strictly internal reasons.
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