that U.S. spy plane was snooping around the coast of China, crashed into a
Chinese military plane, killing its pilot, the "liberal" media swung into action
and gave us constant coverage of the international incident.
though a Chinese pilot was dead and no American lives were lost, MSNBC – on one
of its news shows – put forward a revealing question: Should America retaliate?
last week a small plane carrying American missionaries was shot down by the
Peruvian government, killing Veronica Bowers and her adopted daughter Charity.
It’s an alleged case of mistaken identity in the farcical war on drugs. Compared
to the spy plane incident, the coverage has been scant. And noticeably absent in
the aftermath of the "mistake" over Peru is any talk of U.S. retaliation.
what gives? How could there be serious discussion about retaliation against
China when no American lives were lost and a Chinese pilot was killed, but no
one is even raising the question of retaliation over Americans killed by Peru’s
some insight, one might begin with foreign policy scholar Charles Lipson, who
wrote "Standing Guard: Protecting Foreign Capital in the 19th and 20th
Centuries." In that book, Lipson details what every military planner knows: The
centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy is not humanitarian intervention but the
protection of the divine right of the rich to pry open foreign markets, with
military might if necessary, and extract huge profits despite the vast poverty
afflicting these societies.
is known as "anti-expropriation politics" in the literature. It’s discussed
openly in business and academic journals, safely out of the purview of public
scrutiny with the complicity of the "free" press. Meanwhile, the rabble is fed
ideological drivel about "freedom" and "democracy" and "human rights." Lipson
notes that the policy debate has never been about democracy, only a discussion
about tactics – "bounded by the consensus that the protection of corporate
investments was a fundamental and long-standing goal of U.S. foreign policy." He
cites a memorandum from U.S. AID administrator David Bell to President Kennedy,
regarding the anti-expropriation Hickenlooper amendment.
seek the same objectives Hickenlooper does. But formal amendments of this type
may arouse nationalistic feelings and exacerbate rather than ease the problems
at issue. Working quietly but forcefully behind the scenes is a far better way
to bring about the results that we are after."
Peru, as is the case throughout Latin America, "the results that we are after"
are undermining the agrarian economy with subsidized U.S. agricultural exports
and other pressures to drive Peruvian peasants into export production.
the words of another Latin America scholar, "when peasants are compelled to
function on the capitalist market, they do it just the way Milton Friedman says
they should: They look for the most profitable crop per hour of labor input. By
any measure, that’s going to be coca. So we drive them to produce it. Then when
we don’t like it, we go there and defoliate the farms. We don’t defoliate the
farms in North Carolina which are producing tobacco, (although) it would be a
lot easier than sending bombers out to Peru."
in mind that Peru (and Colombia) have the most inequitable land distribution in
all of Latin America, which is noted by State Department analysts as the major
cause of the various civil wars in the region, pitting wealthy landowners and
their U.S. corporate allies against the landless peasants.
example, in 1968, the Peruvian government tried to address the problem with land
reform. The International Petroleum Co., a subsidiary of Standard Oil now known
as Exxon, was expropriated. Never mind that these American businesses were
pulling profits out of a struggling economy. Something had to be done.
to Peru was immediately but quietly suspended. Standard Oil initially asked
Washington to invoke the Hickenlooper amendment but later backed off after being
convinced by State Department officials that such harsh legislation serves only
to enflame nationalist sentiment in foreign countries.
Lipson concludes: "Most multinational companies now think that inflexible
threats to suspend foreign aid are either ineffective deterrents or
self-defeating retribution… . This new attitude is best summarized by the
president of Exxon Services in Caracas.
"After Venezuela nationalized billions of dollars in foreign oil concessions,
including Exxon’s, he told Business Week: ‘The government has gained control of
the oil industry without risk, and we have found an attractive income for
technology that we would have to develop anyway… . This is the way the world
is going and it is, in itself, a profitable business’."
war-drum beating over Peru as was done over China. Makes sense. Only innocent
Americans were killed by the Peruvian government. No profits are at stake.