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Quotes and Notes

From The Defense Monitor, Vol XVII, No. 2, 1989, the following summarises a long article entitled ‘The Global Network of United States Military Bases’:—

  1. The United States maintains 500,000 military men and women plus 450,000 civilian employees and dependents at 375 major bases and hundreds of minor installations in 35 foreign countries.

  2. US forces stationed abroad in peacetime plus those stationed at home but intended to fight in foreign countries account for about 70 percent of US military spending (over $200 Billion annually).

  3. US forces actually stationed in foreign countries in peacetime account for nearly one third of US military spending ($90 Billion a year).

  4. In recent years the US has increased its use of foreign bases, particularly in the Third World.

  5. The US has nearly 4,500 nuclear weapons deployed with its forces in foreign countries.

The article concludes that —

  1. The need for foreign bases to fight a nuclear war has been eliminated by the advent of intercontinental-range missiles and bombers.

  2. Many US bases are located in Japan, Korea, West Germany, and other countries which are capable of providing for their own defense.

  3. Host country opposition to the presence of US military bases is growing.

  4. The President as Commander-in-Chief has the authority to begin an overseas base closure which could eliminate all foreign US bases by the year 2000.Editorial _ from the _Manchester Guardian Weekly, December 24.Andrei Sakharov lived a life that could only have been lived in the Soviet Union, a country with a cruel history but also with a small but defined place for the liberal humanist tradition. His science made him useful, his humanism and his suffering made him wise and together the two currents gave him an awesome reach within his society …His gentleness of personal manner gave him a saint’s aspect … apparent not only in his luminous public pronouncements but also in his obsession with obtaining the relief and liberty of other prisoners of conscience. He had a humbling capacity to speak to the anxieties of men and women everywhere and to care for state-menaced individuals one at a time.From the Manchester Guardian Weekly, December 31:As we entered the Eighties, Leonid Brezhnev was glorified in Russia and Andrei Sakharov was vilified. Ten years on it is Sakharov who is glorified and Brezhnev who is vilified.Haynes Johnson (‘US Hypocrisy on China’, Manchester Guardian Weekly, December 24).… the United States (doesn’t) have to like, agree (with) or even respect governments in order to do business with them — a position adopted by most presidents, with the notable exception of the great moralist, Woodrow Wilson. To the United States, the sovereign de facto was the sovereign de jure.This is not the same, however, as articulating a body of denunciation for a bloody undemocratic regime, imposing sanctions on it and then swiftly reversing the position for no apparent good reason. That’s what happened with China.By its actions, the United States stands as a hypocrite espousing a double standard. Unless a better official explanation is forthcoming, the Bush administration richly deserves condemnation.

Quite so, and what about General Noriega who was a sovereign de facto and a past paid ally of the CIA? Does his removal, following invasion of Panama indicate a double double standard?Indeed, on the topic of Noriega and the US invasion of Panama, in an article entitled ‘Washingtonstill deluded that it can impose democracy’ (Manchester Guardian Weekly, January 7), we read… when something is happening in a country within your sphere of influence … let it happen. Even if that something is evil and bloody — Romania until the Christmas revolution — the (new Gorbachev) doctrine holds. And yet America, in its own backyard, has absorbed none of the lessons. It still fails, bizarrely, to understand the nature of democracy. It is not some imported ideology to be imposed on a country. It must (see Czechoslovakia, see Hungary, see Romania) spring from within. It must, in the end, be what the people of Panama want and will themselves defend. It cannot be dumped on a country overnight by the US Army.And, by Ian Aitken (‘One fine mess after another’, also from the same number of the Guardian)—The perpetually astonishing thing about the foreign policy of successive United States Presidents is not so much that they lurch into blatant adventurism with such appalling regularity as that there is so little protest about it from American public opinion. Far from objecting, an overwhelming majority invariably supports whatever version of Ramboism is currently being deployed.From the editorial (‘The Specter Haunting Europe is Still Communism’, Washington Post, January):Given the weakness and fragmentation of the other parties now taking the political stage, the communists have an opportunity, if not necessarily to hold power, then to make themselves part of the new firmamentUnthinkable? … To the extent that they play by democratic rules they can scarcely be kept off the playing field. The best check on their errancy is that the people of East Europe know who they are.From E.J. Dionne Jr. (‘Eastern Europe Shows Orwell May Be Right’, Manchester Guardian Weekly, January 21).Social democracy, unlike capitalism, offers an alternative to Communism,’ Orwell wrote in 1948, ‘and if somewhere or other it can be made to work on a big scale — if it turns out that after all it is possible to introduce Socialism without secret police forces, mass deportation and so forth — then the excuse for dictatorship vanishes.’ Communism, Orwell wrote, would ultimately be upended by a reformist system that would provide ‘economic security without concentration camps.’ That is exactly what the countries of central and eastern Europe are searching for now.From Disarmament Times, December 1989:A new resolution on Education for Peace was passed by the UN General Assembly in December, 1989. The resolution invites governments and non-governmental organizations to submit reports to the Secretary-General on the question and for the S.C. to ‘prepare a report on the current state of education for disarmament.’

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