05 January 2014

The Role of Conservative Think Tanks (2/3)

The Reagan Doctrine and Rollback
Heritage's policy was to reject the Cold War doctrine of Containment and certainly reject Nixon and Kissinger's Detente. They called their doctrine Rollback and singled out numerous countries for this doctrine to be implemented. At this point a quick rundown of the list would be helpful. These are the specific countries Heritage targeted for Rollback and a few comments amount the goals and results.

Afghanistan:       1 million+ dead and regional turmoil that is still unresolved. I realize the USSR played their part, but the US did everything it could to make the situation worse. Only the most diehard warmongers like Oliver North or Cal Thomas would still call that mission a success or label it as moral. So much could be said about Afghanistan and the regional impact of American involvement over the past 35 years, but suffice it say American involvement made a bad situation much worse and unleashed a hurricane of sorrows for that nation.

Angola:      The wider application of this issue would include Mozambique and for awhile there were certainly elements supporting Smith in Rhodesia contra Mugabe. The US made use of proxies, especially South Africa. They weren't too fond of Mandela back then. In the 1980's Reagan and Thatcher were calling him a terrorist. The Afrikaners were the American ally and backed by American lobbyists. Ironically, Israel was also quite close to South Africa at this time. The truth is stranger than fiction. Of course by the late 80's the US found it more convenient to 'flip' on the issue and began to condemn South Africa's Apartheid government.

The former CIA agent John Stockwell has talked extensively about US involvement in Angola though he bowed out of the Agency before Reagan came into office. Again....all of these activities were backed and encouraged by Heritage doctrine in the 1980's. The wars in Angola and Mozambique continued throughout the 1990's and left close to 2 million dead.

Cambodia:    In the 1980's this meant supporting the Khmer Rouge and the KPNLF contra the puppet government installed by Vietnam after they ousted the Khmer Rouge in 1979. The United States supported the Cambodian guerillas financially, militarily and diplomatically. Washington worked to allow Pol Pot's government in exile to retain the seat for Cambodia in the UN General Assembly. This actually started under Jimmy Carter and he has admitted to some shame regarding it. Under Reagan, Heritage encouraged this policy. They like many conservatives were bitter about the Vietnam War and were not ready to completely walk away.

Ethiopia:   The Horn of Africa was a contorted mess during the Cold War. Under Selassie the US backed Ethiopia while the USSR backed Somalia. Then in 1974 there was a coup in Ethiopia and under Mengistu it joined with the USSR and the Somalis flipped and were backed by the USA. Old ethnic and territorial tensions superseded Cold War ideology.

During the '80s the US was against Mengistu's Ethiopia and that's when the famous famine took place that we all remember watching on television. Then post-Cold War Somali flipped again, Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia and the US ended up once more backing Ethiopia as they do today in their proxy war against Somalia. During the '80s part of Heritage's plan was to destabilize Ethiopia and support Somalia.

Iran:      The plan was to get rid of Khomeini and the means to do this was to support Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran that he launched in 1980. Of course after the Cold War we have another flip accompanied by political and media spin and off we go in the other direction. Iraq becomes the enemy and is attacked by the United States. The Iran-Iraq War cost over a million lives and of course lost all moral legitimacy when the United States (and to be fair other governments as well) sold weapons to both sides allowing the slaughter to drag on. The United States was happy to let Iraq bleed to death as long as Iran didn't win.

Laos:     Location of the Secret War. During the 1980's (and up until just a few years ago) the US was still backing the Hmong and this all tied in with the plan to defeat the Communists in Vientiane and to counter Vietnam. While not as devastating as the wars in nearby Vietnam and Cambodia, the Secret War proved a disaster for the Hmong. They threw in with the United States and in the end were the big losers. Many were evacuated to the US, but those that remained are still fighting and still suffering. Smaller peoples keep making the mistake of trusting Empires. They don't realize they're being used and are quickly tossed aside. Heritage wanted to continue the fight and the United States backed the Hmong through the 1980's. I don't think many Americans realize how involved the United States was in Indochina right up through the 1980's and beyond. The American troops were out but the United States was still active.

Interestingly in dealing with both Cambodia and Vietnam the US had a natural ally in China who for historic reasons opposed Vietnam and their alliance with the USSR.

Libya:     The Mad Dog of the Middle East had to be destroyed. Heritage apparently wanted to see a return to a puppet monarchy or perhaps even an Italian colony? I'm not sure what they wanted Rollback to accomplish. Suffice it to say they wanted to see Gaddafi destroyed. Gaddafi was about self-aggrandizement and warring against anything Western which he viewed as Imperialist. He was also agitating in the Southern Sahara region and into sub-Saharan Africa. He had angered the French, the British with his support of the IRA, and the Americans. Somehow he survived the '80's and all the attempts to get him. In the end it was his own people who brought him down.

Nicaragua:           While unlikely to return Somoza to power, Heritage played a key role in drafting and organizing policy with regard to the Contras and the war against the Sandinistas. This all ties in with the invasion of Grenada, the Civil War in El Salvador and of course the spectre looming over all these events was the endless American conflict with Cuba. During the '80s America had a strong alliance with Panama's Noriega. Oliver North and Noriega met more than once and this is where we begin to delve into the dark world of almost unbelievable conspiracy. But I'm afraid it's nothing new. The CIA and its host of private sector proxies/allies not only operate in the 'black budget' realm, they are active in generating their own clandestine funds. During the Secret War in Laos and during the Contra episodes there is substantial evidence both hard and circumstantial that the CIA was involved in drug smuggling.

This proved too tempting an opportunity to raise money for their causes especially when operating in parts of the world (Latin America/SE Asia) where drugs were a prime commodity. It's undeniably a profitable business and for an entity seeking to raise large amounts of capital and quickly, it's pretty irresistible. In some cases their proxies were selling the drugs to raise money and CIA shell corporations were assisting with the actual running and of course with money laundering. Southern Air Transport was just such a company. Their L-100 planes made regular runs in Europe while I was in the Air Force in the 1990's. They had regular commercial contracts as well. Quite often there were 'interesting' people tagging along in the back of the plane. They had entered Italy on a military flight and could then walk off the base...completely skipping customs.

Vietnam:    As I said earlier, the US did not just walk away from Vietnam in 1975, nor did they just lay down the sword with regard to Russia in 1991. Public attention turns away but the covert war marches on. The support of the Hmong in Laos, the backing of the Khmer Rouge, moving toward China, all these moves were made with Vietnam in mind or at least as part of the overall picture/strategy.


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