The cartoon awfulness of the Bush crime syndicate’s foreign policy is enough to make Americans nostalgic for almost anything that came before. And as Bill Clinton parades around the country and the world associating himself with “good” causes, it’s enough to evoke yearnings in many people on the left who should know better. So here’s a little reminder of what Clinton’s foreign policy was composed of. Hold on to it in case Lady Macbeth runs in 2008 and tries to capitalize on lover boy’s record.
Yugoslavia: The United States played the principal role during the 1990s in the destruction of this nation, republic by republic, the low point of which was 78 consecutive days of terrible bombing of the population in 1999. No, it was not an act of “humanitarianism”. It was pure imperialism, corporate globalization, getting rid of “the last communist government in Europe”, keeping NATO alive by giving it a function after the end of the Cold War. There was no moral issue behind US policy. The ousted Yugoslav leader, Slobodan Milosevic, is routinely labeled “authoritarian” (Compared to whom? To the Busheviks?), but that had nothing to do with it. The great exodus of the people of Kosovo resulted from the bombing, not Serbian “ethnic cleansing”; and while saving Kosovars the Clinton administration was servicing the Turkish massacre of Kurds. NATO admitted (sic) to repeatedly and deliberately targeting civilians; amongst other war crimes.
Somalia: The 1993 intervention was presented as a mission to help feed the starving masses. But the US soon started taking sides in the clan-based civil war and tried to rearrange the country’s political map by eliminating the dominant warlord, Mohamed Aidid, and his power base. On many occasions, US helicopters strafed groups of Aidid’s supporters or fired missiles at them; missiles were fired into a hospital because of the belief that Aidid’s forces had taken refuge there; also a private home, where members of Aidid’s political movement were holding a meeting; finally, an attempt by American forces to kidnap two leaders of Aidid’s clan resulted in a horrendous bloody battle. This last action alone cost the lives of more than a thousand Somalis, with many more wounded.
It’s questionable that getting food to hungry people was as important as the fact that four American oil giants held exploratory rights to large areas of Somali land and were hoping that US troops would put an end to the prevailing chaos which threatened their highly expensive investments.
Ecuador: In 2000, downtrodden Indian peasants rose up once again against the hardships of US/IMF globalization policies, such as privatization. The Indians were joined by labor unions and some junior military officers and their coalition forced the president to resign. Washington was alarmed. American officials in Quito and Washington unleashed a blitz of threats against Ecuadorian government and military officials. And that was the end of the Ecuadorian revolution.
Sudan: The US deliberately bombed and destroyed a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum in 1998 in the stated belief that it was a plant for making chemical weapons for terrorists. In actuality, the plant produced about 90 percent of the drugs used to treat the most deadly illnesses in that desperately poor country; it was reportedly one of the biggest and best of its kind in Africa. And had no connection to chemical weapons.
Sierra Leone: In 1998, Clinton sent Jesse Jackson as his special envoy to Liberia and Sierra Leone, the latter being in the midst of one of the great horrors of the 20th century — an army of mostly young boys, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), going around raping and chopping off people’s arms and legs. African and world opinion was enraged against the RUF, which was committed to protecting the diamond mines they controlled. Liberian president Charles Taylor was an indispensable ally and supporter of the RUF and Jackson was an old friend of his. Jesse was not sent to the region to try to curtail the RUF’s atrocities, nor to hound Taylor about his widespread human rights violations, but instead, in June 1999, Jackson and other American officials drafted entire sections of an accord that made RUF leader, Foday Sankoh, the vice president of Sierra Leone, and gave him official control over the diamond mines, the country’s major source of wealth.
Iraq: Eight more years of the economic sanctions which Clinton’s National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger, called “the most pervasive sanctions every imposed on a nation in the history of mankind”, absolutely devastating every aspect of the lives of the Iraqi people, particularly their health; truly a weapon of mass destruction.
Cuba: Eight more years of economic sanctions, political hostility, and giving haven to anti-Castro terrorists in Florida. In 1999, Cuba filed a suit against the United States for $181.1 billion in compensation for economic losses and loss of life during the first forty years of this aggression. The suit holds Washington responsible for the death of 3,478 Cubans and the wounding and disabling of 2,099 others.
Only the imperialist powers have the ability to enforce sanctions and are therefore always exempt from them.
As to Clinton’s domestic policies, keep in mind those two beauties: The “Effective death penalty Act” and the “Welfare Reform Act”.
And let’s not forget the massacre at Waco, Texas.
WILLIAM BLUM is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide to the World’s Only Super Power. and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir.
He can be reached at: BBlum6@aol.com