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Turning the Tide by Noam Chomsky
anti-communist, Bolshevik threat, British Empire, collective bargaining, cuban missile crisis, declining real wages, failed state, feminist movement, Howard Zinn, land reform, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, Paul Samuelson, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, union organizing
In the late 1920s, the Marines invaded Nicaragua in defense against the “Bolshevik threat” of Mexico. Secretary of State Frank Kellogg warned that The Bolshevik leaders have had very definite ideas with respect to the role which Mexico and Latin America are to play in their general program of world revolution. They have set up as one of their fundamental tasks the destruction of what they term American imperialism as a necessary prerequisite to the successful development of the international revolutionary movement in the New World...Thus Latin America and Mexico are conceived as a base for activity against the United States. “Mexico was on trial before the world,” President Coolidge declared as he sent the Marines to Nicaragua, once again.2 Now Nicaragua is the base for the Bolshevik threat to Mexico, and ultimately the United States.
It requires no great originality, then, when Reagan, speaking on national television, warns of Soviet intentions to surround and ultimately destroy America by taking over Latin American states, as proven by a statement by Lenin, which, he said, “I have often quoted,” but which happens not to exist;3 or when his speech writers have him say that “Like a roving wolf, Castro’s Cuba looks to peace-loving neighbors with hungry eyes and sharp teeth” and that the troubles in Central America are “a power play by Cuba and the Soviet Union, pure and simple”; or when the White House condemns Nicaragua for its “increased aggressive behavior” against Honduras and Costa Rica as the US proxy army attacks Nicaragua from Honduras and Costa Rica and Secretary of State George Shultz thunders that “we have to help our friends to resist the aggression that comes from these arms” that Nicaragua is acquiring to defend itself from the American onslaught, one act of a drama involving fabricated arms shipments to Nicaragua in a successful exercise in media management to deflect attention from unwanted elections there.4 The media have yet to comment on the similarity to earlier episodes, for example, Hitler’s anger at the “increased aggressive behavior” of Poland as his forces attacked in self-defense. What of earlier years? Woodrow Wilson, the revered apostle of self-determination, invaded Mexico and sent his warriors to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where they blocked constitutional government, reinstituted virtual slavery, tortured, murdered and destroyed, leaving a legacy of misery that remains until today. Evidently, there could be no Bolshevik threat at the time, so we claimed we were defending ourselves against the Huns. Marine Commander Thorpe told new Marine arrivals that the war would last long enough “to give every man a chance against the Hun in Europe as against the Hun in Santo Domingo.” The hand of the Huns was particularly evident in Haiti, he explained: “Whoever is running this revolution is a wise man; he certainly is getting a lot out of the niggers...It shows the handwork of the German.”
If the populace can be led to believe that their lives and welfare are threatened by a terrible enemy, then they may accept programs to which they are opposed, as an unfortunate necessity. To induce fear, the propaganda system must be put to work to conjure up whoever happens to be the current Great Satan. Other powers have their own favorites; at various moments of U.S. history the enemy invoked to justify aggression has been Britain, Spain, or the Huns, but since 1917 the Bolshevik threat has been the device most readily at hand. Hence the renewed appeal under Reagan to the threat of the Evil Empire, advancing to destroy us. But confrontations with the Evil Empire itself are much too dangerous. It is necessary, therefore, to contrive confrontations with those designated as the Evil Empire’s proxies: States or groups that are weak and defenseless, and that can therefore be attacked with impunity.
Culture of Terrorism by Noam Chomsky
anti-communist, Bolshevik threat, Bretton Woods, centre right, clean water, David Brooks, failed state, Farzad Bazoft, land reform, Monroe Doctrine, risk tolerance, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, union organizing
They were addressed in the first major publication of the Trilateral Commission, formed at the initiative of David Rockefeller to bring together liberal elites from the United States, Europe and Japan; it is their 1975 study of “the crisis of democracy” that I have been quoting and paraphrasing.22 Every major war of this century has evoked a similar reaction on the part of dominant social groups: business, the political elites that are primarily business-based, the corporate media, and the privileged intelligentsia generally, serving as ideological managers. During and after World War I, the Wilson administration, under the pretext of a Bolshevik threat, launched a “Red Scare” that succeeded in deterring the threat of democracy (in the true sense of the word) while reinforcing “democracy” in the technical Orwellian sense. With broad liberal support, the Red Scare succeeded in undermining the labor movement and dissident politics, and reinforcing corporate power. Two lasting institutional developments from that period, of great consequence, are the rise of the Public Relations industry, dedicated quite openly to controlling “the public mind,” and the national political police (the FBI).
If the populace can be led to believe that their lives and welfare are threatened by a terrible enemy, then they may accept programs to which they are opposed, as an unfortunate necessity. To induce fear, the propaganda system must be put to work to conjure up whoever happens to be the current Great Satan. Other powers have their own favorites; at various moments of U.S. history the enemy invoked to justify aggression, subversion and the resort to terror has been Britain, Spain or the Huns, but since 1917 the Bolshevik threat has been the device most readily at hand. Hence the renewed appeal under Reagan to the threat of the Evil Empire, advancing to destroy us. At this point, however, a new problem arises: confrontations with the Evil Empire might prove costly to us, and therefore must be avoided. The problem is to confront an enemy frightening enough to mobilize the domestic population, but weak enough so that the exercise carries no cost—for us, that is.
The Chomsky Reader by Noam Chomsky
anti-communist, Bolshevik threat, British Empire, business climate, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, European colonialism, feminist movement, Howard Zinn, interchangeable parts, land reform, land tenure, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, strikebreaker, theory of mind, Thomas L Friedman, union organizing, War on Poverty, zero-sum game, éminence grise
In 1926, the marines were sent back to Nicaragua, which they had occupied through much of the century, to combat a Bolshevik threat. Then Mexico was a Soviet proxy, threatening Nicaragua, ultimately the United States itself. “Mexico was on trial before the world,” President Coolidge proclaimed as he sent the marines to Nicaragua once again, an intervention that led to the establishment of the Somoza dictatorship with its terrorist U.S.-trained National Guard and the killing of the authentic Nicaraguan nationalist Sandino. Note that though the cast of characters has changed, the bottom line remains the same: kill Nicaraguans. What did we do before we could appeal to the Bolshevik threat? Wood-row Wilson, the great apostle of self-determination, celebrated this doctrine by sending his warriors to invade Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where they reestablished slavery, burned and destroyed villages, tortured and murdered, leaving in Haiti a legacy that remains today in one of the most miserable corners of one of the most miserable parts of the world, and in the Dominican Republic setting the stage for the Trujillo dictatorship, established after a brutal war of counterinsurgency that has virtually disappeared from American history; the first book dealing with it has just appeared, after sixty years.
Year 501 by Noam Chomsky
anti-communist, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, Bolshevik threat, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, colonial rule, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, declining real wages, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Howard Zinn, invisible hand, land reform, land tenure, long peace, mass incarceration, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, strikebreaker, structural adjustment programs, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, union organizing, War on Poverty, working poor
The Wilson Administration was able to extend these techniques, exploiting the Bolshevik takeover as an opportunity to crush the labor movement and independent thought, with the backing of the press and business community; the pattern has been standard since. The October revolution also provided the framework for Third World intervention, which became “defense against Communist aggression,” whatever the facts might be. Avid US support for Mussolini from his 1922 March on Rome, later support for Hitler, was based on the doctrine that Fascism and Nazism were understandable, if sometimes extreme, reactions to the far more deadly Bolshevik threat—a threat that was internal, of course; no one thought the Red Army was on the march. Similarly, the US had to invade Nicaragua to protect it from Bolshevik Mexico, and 50 years later, to attack Nicaragua to protect Mexico from Nicaraguan Bolshevism. The supple character of ideology is a wonder to behold. Facts are commonly reshaped to establish that some intended target of attack is an outpost of the Kremlin (later, Peiping).
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bolshevik threat, centre right, collective bargaining, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, deindustrialization, kremlinology, land reform, liberation theology, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, nuremberg principles, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, trickle-down economics, union organizing
In 1918, the barons of American capital needed no reason for their war against communism other than the threat to their wealth and privilege, although their opposition was expressed in terms of moral indignation. During the period between the two world wars, US gunboat diplomacy operated in the Caribbean to make "The American Lake" safe for the fortunes of United Fruit and W.R. Grace & Co., at the same time taking care to warn of "the Bolshevik threat" to all that is decent from the likes of Nicaraguan rebel Augusto Sandino. By the end of the Second World War, every American past the age of 40 had been subjected to some 25 years of anti-communist radiation, the average incubation period needed to produce a malignancy. Anti-communism had developed a life of its own, independent of its capitalist father. Increasingly, in the post-war period, middle-aged 9 Washington policy makers and diplomats saw the world out there as one composed of "communists" and "anti-communists", whether of nations, movements or individuals.
Near and Distant Neighbors: A New History of Soviet Intelligence by Jonathan Haslam
active measures, Albert Einstein, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bolshevik threat, Bretton Woods, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, falling living standards, John von Neumann, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Valery Gerasimov, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, éminence grise
Their continued and uncritical purchase of dubious official documents fabricated for this undiscriminating market inadvertently provided welcome dividends for the Soviet Union’s needy foreign exchange reserves. The Russians, of course, noticed how active the British were. Not only did MI6 carry out espionage on its own account, but it could also rely on help from foreign countries similarly preoccupied by the Bolshevik threat. The KRO report for 1923–1924 noted, “So, for example, the intelligence services of Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania, and, to a certain extent, those of Poland, and recently the Swedes and Norwegians, work especially and exclusively for England. The Poles and the Romanians work for the French. The Germans for the time being work alone.”59 In turn, the Polish, Estonian, and Finnish governments backed the Trust, even providing its members diplomatic asylum in the event of failure.60 The brunt of MI6 subversion and intelligence gathering was carried out via passport control officers at British legations in Reval (now Tallinn, Estonia), Riga (Latvia), Helsinki (Finland), and Stockholm (Sweden).
Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne C. Heller
affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Bolshevik threat, conceptual framework, greed is good, laissez-faire capitalism, Milgram experiment, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, New Journalism, open borders, price stability, profit motive, rent control, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile, wage slave, War on Poverty, Works Progress Administration, young professional
She also visited Eugene Lyons of Reader’s Digest, who invited her to a party in his apartment, where she encountered the political idol of her early adolescence, the former Russian prime minister Aleksandr Kerensky. He was now in his sixties, immaculately dressed, with thick glasses and a slight stoop. Introduced, they spoke in Russian. As they discussed their native land, she wondered if he would express second thoughts, or possibly regret, about his government’s failure to take seriously enough the Bolshevik threat in 1917. Instead, she listened, appalled, as he prattled on about how much Russians hated Stalin and how much they had loved Kerensky. Worse, summoning a mystical fatalism she deplored in her native culture, he insisted that the soul of the Russian people would one day set them free. He was a typical Russian sentimental fool, with a fat Russian smile and no capacity for analytic thought. He was a mere zero, she said afterward.
What Went Wrong: How the 1% Hijacked the American Middle Class . . . And What Other Countries Got Right by George R. Tyler
8-hour work day, active measures, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Black Swan, blood diamonds, blue-collar work, Bolshevik threat, bonus culture, British Empire, business process, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate personhood, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Diane Coyle, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, income inequality, invisible hand, job satisfaction, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, lake wobegon effect, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, performance metric, pirate software, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent-seeking, reshoring, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game
For the most part, the great European compromise succeeded.”47 But the default setting remained dictatorship and disrupted commerce, which reemerged in the wake of World War I as inflation, starvation, and the bloody flag of revolution stalked Europe, especially Germany.48 During the disastrous Weimar inflation of the early 1920s, a streetcar ride that had cost a single mark before the war became priced at 15 billion.49 Germany was the world’s third largest economy at the time, and the failure of capitalism there in the early Bolshevik era would have had profound implications, irresistibly thrusting Lenin and later Stalin into the heart of an enfeebled Europe. The armed Bolshevik threat Europe faced down in the tumult following World War I was an existential tipping point for capitalism. There was a pitched uprising in Berlin, bloody insurrections featuring a homegrown Red army occupying the Ruhr in 1920, Saxony, and Thuringia under Bolshevik governments in 1923, and an attempted Communist revolution in conservative Bavaria.50 The westward march of the Red Army itself stalled at the Vistula, thanks to Józef Pilsudski, and southward at the Caucasus, thanks to Kemal Atatürk.51 The weapons were bullets and social reforms, including laws like the eight-hour workday (France 1919) and mandated corporate work councils in 1920, along with unemployment insurance, health, and welfare subsidies.
always be closing, bank run, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bolshevik threat, Boycotts of Israel, Bretton Woods, British Empire, California gold rush, capital controls, collective bargaining, corporate raider, Etonian, financial deregulation, fixed income, German hyperinflation, index arbitrage, interest rate swap, margin call, money market fund, Monroe Doctrine, North Sea oil, oil shale / tar sands, old-boy network, paper trading, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, short selling, strikebreaker, the market place, the payments system, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, Yom Kippur War, young professional
This position wasn’t just a bone tossed belatedly to an old friend, but an extremely sensitive appointment. As Coolidge later said, “It would be difficult to imagine a harder assignment. But Mr. Morrow never had any taste for sham battle.”17 American Catholics and oilmen were agitating to break diplomatic relations with Mexico, and some called for a military invasion. Secretary of State Kellogg had already condemned the regime of President Plutarco Elias Calles as a “Bolshevik threat.”18 In American eyes, Mexico had committed multiple sins. It had nationalized church property and closed Catholic schools, defaulted on foreign debt, insisted that oil companies trade in property titles for government concessions, and confiscated American-owned land without compensation. Newspapers were calling Mexico America’s foremost foreign-policy problem. The Morrow appointment was an inspired choice.