It's Happening Again

Thus A.J.P. Taylor:

British and French policy, or lack of it, not the policy of Hitler and Mussolini, decided the outcome of the Spanish civil war. The republic...could win if it received the correct treatment to which it was entitled by international law... The rebels had a chance only if they received foreign aid, while the republic received none, or very little; and this extraordinary arrangement was provided, though not deliberately, by London and Paris.

Anyone who sees any lack of deliberation on the part of the United States with respect to Haiti has long ago missed the boat. The Bush administration cannot hold its own in the upcoming domestic political brawl; but it can, or at least attempt to, take down with it anyone with a chance of upholding the concept of popular power. Aristide is not the issue, regardless of how much the CIA-backed death squads that roam the country may try to make him so. The issue is deterring democracy.

Thirteen years ago, Noam Chomsky said “The Winner: George Bush”, and quoted the liberal Mexico City La Jornada:

After 10 years, Washington examines with satisfaction the balance of an investment made with fire and blood..., an undeclared war of aggression... The elections were certainly cleanly prepared and conducted, but a decade of horror was behind them.

That was a different George Bush, or was it? That was Nicaragua, or was it Haiti, or will it be Iraq?

For those who care, read the non-US press, like the Observer:

'The problem has been that this has never been truly an opposition,' said Larry Birns, director of the Washington-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs. 'Their strategy has been non-negotiation, because in a sense it's an intelligent use of their resources. Their popularity on the island is no more than 20 per cent. The electoral road isn't viable for them.'

Therefore they turn to the United States.

Mr. Credibility, Secretary of State Colin Powell, says:

Whether or not he is able to effectively continue as president is something he will have to examine carefully in the interests of the Haitian people,

and you can just see how worried they are there in the White House about the interests of the Haitian people. That's a continuing concern of the folks in Washington:

When Aristide took over, the United States at once turned against his government and U.S. aid dropped. For example, the U.S. aid organizations never provided a penny to the peasant organizations, and Haiti is after all a peasant country. Their aid goes to wealthy manufacturers. This is absolutely consistent with U.S. policy everywhere else in the world, in fact even in the United States, where the general population is considered a sort of enemy which has no role in the political system, it is supposed to watch from the outside. The political system is to be run by privileged sectors and in the third world this is just transparent, Haiti is an extreme example of it.

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