Grenada and Reagan

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Sun Jul 30 13:28:52 MDT 1995


Chris B. wrote:

  Of course the
> US did invade and conquer Grenada in accordance with the pattern
> described here. Not only were they able to avenge Maurice Bishop
> but perhaps slightly more importantly for them, they were able to
> dispose of the marxist New Jewel Movement.
>
Reagan didn't want to "avenge Maurice Bishop."  Far from it.  Reagan was
actively hostile to the Grenada government under Bishop in part because
of the role of Cuban forces in re-building the economy and infrastructure
of Grenada.  Since Bishop had a non-antagonistic relationship with Cuba,
that meant to Reagan that Grenada was under the grip of "the evil empire"
(the USSR) and their "puppet" (Cuba).

What was the reason, though, for the timing of the Grenada invasion?  Two
factors stand out:

1) After the murder of Bishop and the overthrow of a popular government,
the Reagan administration saw that they could be able to take advantage
of the turmoil and launch an invasion that could be managed relatively
quickly and will little loss of life for US armed forces.  In other
words, it was logistically an easier operation to contemplate given the
chaotic political situation and the illegitimacy of the new government in
the minds of the Grenada masses.  Also important from a military
standpoint, Grenada is a small island that could be invaded quickly with
a relatively small US task force.

2) Prior to the Grenada invasion there was a terrorist assault on the
Marine barracks in Beirut that killed many Marines.  So what does this
have to do with Grenada, you ask?  Well ... the assault on the Marines
made Reagan and the Pentagon look bad when they couldn't retaliate
effectively against that assault.  Reagan already wanted to pull US
forces out of Lebanon but had to respond to the tarnished image of the
US armed forces.  So ... instead of directing an assault against forces
in Lebanon, Reagan chose a relatively easy target a hemisphere away where
he could flex US military might and show that the Pentagon could still
"do the job."  Not only was Reagan able to install a pro-US government in
Grenada, but he could also launch a spectacular public relations event
which showed the glorious and "efficient" military ability of US armed
forces.  Consequently, it was also a show for the American people and a
demonstration to the rest of the world that "we" could still kick ass and
everyone else in the world should keep that in mind.

The above suggests again that understanding US foreign policy is by no
means a simple or uncomplicated matter.  Many factors are taken into
consideration -- some of which we may not be aware of (since the US
government doesn't always tell us the real reasons for their policy
actions or keep us informed about all of the relevant considerations --
an understatement).

Jerry


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