[Marxism] Stephen Kinzer's "Overthrow"

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Apr 16 17:07:59 MDT 2006

It's hard to imagine a situation in which an invasion and occupation
of a Middle Eastern country by Israel's prime international backer
could have "gone smoothly". People don't like liberators who come
bearing bayonets, as the old saying goes. Looking back at it today,
Washington's invasion and occupation of Iraq has proven very much to
be the quagmire some of the pundits have said it would. Kinzer's book
will be useful if it gets more people to thinking about what are the
consequences. He points out, for example, that Washington invaded and
occuppied Cuba, AFTER the island's compromised independence was given
on May 20, 1902. That was the date which is formally observed as 
Indepence Day by counter-revolutionary exiles and by Washington, too.
Cuba's "independence" 

KInzer's book is an excellent one which should be widely read. It
demonstrates that Washington's strategy of "regime change" is nothing
new, but has been, according to Kinzer's thinking, U.S. policy since
1893 when the Washington overthrew Hawaii's monarchy and installed
itself on that ialsnd.

His book ALL THE SHAH'S MEN gives a concise explanation of how the
U.S. organized the overthrow of the Iranian government of Mossadegh
in 1953. This new book contains a number of very thought-provoking
observations which made me stop and think while reading. If you look
at the cover blurbs, you find the names of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.,
Chalmers Johnson and Seymour Hirsch. None of these are revolutionary 
or Marxist-oriented people. They are trying to address the powers 
that be with a warning that Washington's policy of imposing its rule 
on the rest of the world only makes the world more hostile to the 
United States.  

People don't seem to learn from the experiences of others. It seems
that it's necessary to learn from one's own bad experiences, so it's
possible that Kinzer's OVERTHROW is an attempt to influence powerful
people in this country by telling them they're only stirring up more
opposition by their policies of regime change? Hate the Revolution in
Cuba as they do, the NYT has begun to express some distancing from
Washington's unilateralist invasion policies in recent months. That
is a good thing because it legitimates discussion on foreign policy
matters generally.

There's a section on the US invasion and occupation of Grenada in
Kinzer's book on Grenada which contains references to a document
I'd not previously seen. It's one in which the coup-plotters make
what seems to be a serious apology to the Grenadian people for
having murcered Maurice Bishop and the rest of the leadership of
the New Jewel Movement, and decisively foreswear politics forever.
This is somewhat different from the materials which float around
from time to time by an author named Rich Gibson which presents
them as nice people who've rehabilitated themselves, and so they
should, please, be allowed out of jail.

I'm quite struck that someone like Kinzer could stay on at a place
like the New York Times for so long, given the paper's reprehensible
politics, particularly about Cuba. Maybe he's not directly employed
there but works on an as-needed basis these days?

Louis: What's Kinzer's book on Turkey like?

Walter LIppmann

One wonders if Kinzer would have taken the trouble to write it if the
occupation of Iraq had gone smoothly. Kinzer co-wrote "Bitter Fruit,"
a powerful account of the role of the USA in the overthrow of Jacobo
Arbenz in Guatemala at the very time he was writing anti-Sandinista
propaganda for the NY Times in the guise of objective reporting. So
we are obviously dealing with a complex writer.)

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