Chomsky et al miss the point re: East Timor

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at
Sun Sep 12 02:54:40 MDT 1999

>The following is the essence of the argument I am planning to make in an
>editorial (supported
>by a few interesting articles and interviews) in www.emperors-Clothes
>tomorrow.  I thought I'd run it by you all for reactions, since it goes
>against popular wisdom, especially on the left.
>Your thoughts?
>Jared Israel
>The other day I was chatting on the phone with a left wing friend and I
>, "The US is going to support intervention in East Timor."  And he said "No
>they're not."  And I said "I think you're mistaken."  And he said "I KNOW
>you're mistaken.  Indonesia is a client state."

Very important, and perhaps the most succinct of the current analyses of the
East Timor situation. This scenario, the one that I predict as well, should
hopefully go far in waking up the post Soviet Union marxist community. It
doesn't matter what faction of the Marxist left we are from, we have all
been "Marxified" in the world where there were competing economic camps.
Although no one ever "put it past" the US to attack the non-compliant
capitalist countries, the idea that it was the central feature of foreign
policy has blurred many.

We must attempt the following: Get rid of parrallels in our head that go
before the annexation of Panama. Each new conflict that gets analysed
through our old Marxist glasses comes out with very confused (in)sight. Many
people have believed there is a line in the sand, one that will not be
crossed. That line was washed away during April of 1991. It was hard to see
after the promise from Gorbachev that there would no longer be any
interference in the affairs of American foreign policy. And now it has
simply vanished.

The old world was one of two basic classes- the global ruling classes acting
in concert to abolish whatever upstarts were from the global oppostion,
mainly the Soviet Union and friends. Today, there are only a few hold-outs
that still try mightily to cling to some form of independance. As JI put it,
the west has been attacking old friends for quite some time now, to secure
the compliance of fromer clients. Perhaps the best analogy would be in the
Stalin-Zinoviev bloc, that eventually swallowed Zinoviev. When usefulness
runs out...

When prior to the Soviet Union's existence, any war that seemed about to
erupt was scrutinized by Marxists of the day, the primary facts were
analysed to spot any gaping contradictions between the different capitalist
camps. Lenin's theory of great relevance about Imperialism as the highest
stage of Capitalism was drawn from this. Then all hell broke loose and "we"
had a living regime to scrutinize and dissect, and global relations changed,
it seemed, forever. The world had two competing camps that seemed to have a
direct relevance on almost any single conflict that erupted in the world.

The world is not in a pre-WW! situation, that is grossly oversimplified. It
is, however, heading in the right direction. Carrol Cox mentioned Kwame
Nkrumah some weeks back. Although written right at the peak of the "Cold
War", "Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage Of Imperialism" is a very clear lead
into what is currently going on. Neo-colonialism, roughly translated as very
legal independance but de-facto dependance is perfectly apt today. There is
less and less any reason at all for the world to use "two camps" analysis.
Indonesia had to have its arm twisted to accept the last budget that the
generals tried to implement. The IMF was dangled until Suharto blinked. He
dissappeared shortly after. The only reason that Suharto hasn't been given
the Saddam Hussein treatment is that the US would have too much explaining
to do, and the butcher is already in retirement. It is similar to the
treatment afforded Mobutu in his final months. His successors are also
similar in that they are far too independant of global rules. And the rules
have changed. So will the map, should the Imperialists have their way, of
Indonesia and the DR Congo.

     East Timor is sadly in a vice of sharply pointed rocks. Indonesia has
the potential to draw into an alliance with China for regional and
self-serving principles. As has been mentioned several times, Indonesia is
no longer a bulwark against communism, overnight it became a bulwark against
"globalization". For the reasons that many gave (IMO, correctly) during the
war on Yugoslavia, it simply will not do to take positions of indignation
against the government of Indonesia. Yes, they are brutal miltary dictators,
the type that have served Washington so well. The brutality of this or that
regime was never an issue, and it remains not one, for the Pentagon. Whose
brutality? Now that all the Reds have been neatly mopped up by the
Suhartoists, it is time to mop up the Suhartoists. Any country in the world
that has a large pool of resources, a huge population and even the
possibility of leaning out of line will be fractured down the middle.

   Witness, of course, the end of the Soviet Union, the end of
Multi-cultural Yugoslavia. Witness the war in DR Congo, one that will likely
end with two republics. Again, witness the sudden re-emergence of
seperatists throughout China. All the easier to dominate, all the weaker to
the smaller countries. Indonesia is not something we can handle in
moralistic terms, leave that to Jesse Jackson et al. We must spend our
energy exposing the current strategy of the Imperialists to simply grind up
all newcomers to the point where resistance is unrecognisable. Yes, East
Timor needs out of this horrible situation they are in. But for what, a shoe
factory called a republic? Or, is not correct to subordinate the call to the
greater game, should this scenario tend to be the one that is coming. I
believe it is, and I hope that we are able to avoid being pawned by the
beasts. As for myself, I will leave the jury out on this. General Wiranto
was speaking yesterday on CNN. He hinted softly about the inevitability of
foreign troops being needed. Or at least, that it was a matter of time. The
Suhartoists generally only have the ideology of money, so it is much easier
to conceive of this situation evolving where the Generals simply blink. If
they do, we should read the situation that is set up for the new "free" East
Timor. The East Timorese need safety far more than they need a republic.
However, it appears they will get de jure both, de facto neither.


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