Saturday, December 24, 2016

Mission Accomplished

Ariel Dorfman and his wife, we learn in Mr. Dorfman's December 16 piece in The New York Times, were living in Chile in October,1970 when President Salvador Allende was overthrown with an assist from the Central Intelligence Agency and the govenment of Richard M. Nixon it represented.  He "can savor the irony" but "feel no glee" now that a foreign power has successfully intervened in an American presidential election.

He recommends "an independent, transparent and thorough public investigation so that any collusion between American citizens and foreigners bent on mischief can be exposed and punished, no matter how powerful these operatives may be." as well as "an incessant and unforgiving meditation on our shared country, its values, its beliefs, its history."

More critical, less forgiving, and less objectively, Bob Hennelly goes through a litany of sins of the US government over well more than a century of evil-doing.  He quotes late historian Howard Zinn, who maintained after having "seized Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and fought a brutal war to subjugate the Filipinos," from "1900 and 1933 the United States intervened in Cuba four times, in Nicaragua twice, Panama six times, in Guatemala once, in Honduras seven times."

Zinn also, Hennelly mentions, describes the "covert domestic network of several hundred professors, administrators and graduate students on over 100 college campuses who acted as eyes and ears" for the Central Intelligence Agency in the post-World War II period. At approximately the same time there was, Hennelly chronicled, Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, Fidel Castro in Cuba in the 1960s, "duplicity in the Vietnam War revealed in the Pentagon Papers," and all manner of domestic spying on leftist groups.

The history is daunting and Dorfman (to whose op-ed Hennelly links) believes now is the "time for America to look at itself in the mirror, and if ever there was a time of reckoning and accountability, it is now."

Still, as Dorfman understands and Hennelly seems not to, this has jack squat to do with the current controversy of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential  (and congressional) election.  Putin probably is not fixated on American acquisition of the sandy beaches of the Hawaiian Islands. Although in late July less was known and naivete about the Russian President's intent greater, Politico's Michael Crowley and Julia Ioffe noted

While Donald Trump’s budding bromance with Vladimir Putin is well known — the two men have exchanged admiring words about each other and called for improved relations between Washington and Moscow — Putin’s hostility towards Clinton draws less attention.

Former U.S. officials who worked on Russia policy with Clinton say that Putin was personally stung by Clinton’s December 2011 condemnation of Russia’s parliamentary elections, and had his anger communicated directly to President Barack Obama. They say Putin and his advisers are also keenly aware that, even as she executed Obama’s “reset” policy with Russia, Clinton took a harder line toward Moscow than others in the administration. And they say Putin sees Clinton as a forceful proponent of “regime change” policies that the Russian leader considers a grave threat to his own survival.

“He was very upset [with Clinton] and continued to be for the rest of the time that I was in government,” said Michael McFaul, who served as the top Russia official in Obama’s national security council from 2009 to December 2011 and then was U.S. ambassador to Moscow until early 2014. “One could speculate that this is his moment for payback.”

And one could sarcastically remark "you think?"  However, that was in more innocent times, and McFaul was speculating- accurately- at a time when others were unnecessarily cautious.

Now, however, it's clear. The ball is in our court, Congress has it, and the implications are dire.

MERRY CHRISTMAS                                                              HAPPY CHANUKAH

(But in honor of Donald Trump's war against political correctness:  Happy Holidays!)

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