Throughout the Cold War, the U.S. national-security state was devoted to keeping communist-socialist regimes from coming to power in Latin America. The idea was that if communism was permitted to achieve a beachhead in the Western Hemisphere, it was a certainty that the U.S. government would end up falling to the communists.
That’s of course what the decades of U.S. aggression against Cuba were all about. The
CIA’s invasion at the Bay of Pigs. The CIA’s assassination partnership with the Mafia. The CIA’s repeated assassination attempts against Fidel Castro. The CIA’s terrorism and sabotage against Cuban enterprises. The brutal embargo against Cuba. The Pentagon’s Operation Northwoods, the plan by which there would be U.S.-instigated terrorist attacks that would be blamed on the Cubans and serve as a justification for invading the island.
All of that against a country that never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so.
Cuba, of course, wasn’t the only victim of U.S. Cold War aggression in the name of stopping the commies from taking over the IRS, the Interstate Highway System, and the rest of the federal government. There was the CIA’s regime change operation in Guatemala, by which the CIA ousted the democratically elected president of the country, Jacobo Arbenz, and installed a series of brutal military dictatorships in his stead, throwing the country into a brutal civil war that lasted decades and killed hundreds of thousands of people.
There was the U.S. national-security state’s regime change operation in Chile, whereby the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, was ousted from power and replaced by the brutal military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, whose goons, with the full support of U.S. officials, rounded up, tortured, raped, and disappeared thousands of people for believing in socialism, progressivism, or communism.
There was Ronald Reagan’s support of the Nicaraguan Contras in their effort to oust communist-socialist Manuel Noriega from power in that country.
There was the CIA’s partnership in Operation Condor, the secretive scheme of right-wing Latin American dictatorships that involved assassination, torture, and disappearances.
Through it all, America was led into the dark side by the national-security state apparatus that had been brought into existence to oppose America’s World War II ally and partner, the Soviet Union. Americans were told that unless their government adopted communist and totalitarian methods, the communists would ultimately prevail in taking over the United States.
It was all a lie, a great big lie that was used to justify ever-growing profits for what President Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex. It really didn’t matter how many Latin American countries went communist. It would never have resulted in the communist takeover of the United States.
After all, don’t forget: This is what they also said about Korea and Vietnam. If we don’t stop the communists here, national-security state officials exclaimed, the dominoes will start falling, with the final one being the United States.
It was a lie, a great big lie that was exposed with the U.S. defeat in Vietnam. The country was united under the communists. America remained standing and continues to stand, even to the point that the Pentagon not so long ago asked the Vietnamese government if the Pentagon could establish a military base in Vietnam.
It would have been no different with Korea. If those 50,000 American men had not been sacrificed in the Korean War, it is entirely possible that Korea might well have been united under communist rule, just as Vietnam was. But it would not have meant the fall of the United States to the communists, any more than the U.S. defeat in Vietnam did.
It’s no different with Latin America. How do we know that? Because so many Latin American regimes are now controlled by leftists-progressives-socialists-communists. What difference does it make? Do you see America falling to the communists?
Consider Cuba. It’s still there. The Castro brothers are still in charge. America is still standing.
Or Venezuela, which is ruled by a communist sympathizer, Nicolas Maduro, whose economic policies mirror those of Cuba, whose communist rulers he reveres. America is still standing.
Ecuador is also headed by a ruler on the extreme left, Rafael Correa, who also reveres Fidel Castro. America is still standing.
Indeed, Nicaragua’s president is Manuel Ortega, the communist-socialist who ruled the country when Reagan’s Contras were waging their war to oust him. Imagine that: He’s back in power and America is still standing.
Chile’s president, Michelle Bachelet, is a socialist whose parents were targeted by Pinochet. Her economic policies are no different, in principle, from those of Salvador Allende, the communist-socialist whom Pinochet and the U.S. ousted from power. America is still standing.
Today, another extreme socialist, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, who is a former guerilla fighter, is on the verge of being elected president of El Salvador. America is still standing.
Libertarians, of course, would oppose the communism-socialism-progressivism of all these people, just as we opposed the leftist economic policies of Barack Obama, Lyndon Johnson, and Franklin Roosevelt.
But that’s not the point. The point is that the fact that people in other countries decide to elect communists, socialists, and progressives obviously does not lead to the communist takeover of the United States.
In other words, precisely what is happening today is what would have happened if the U.S. national-security state had never been permitted to come into existence to oppose communism. Some countries would have fallen under the rule of communists-socialists, elected or not, just as they are doing today. It would never have meant the communist takeover of the United States.
But the U.S. national security state turned it all into one great big crisis, one that was used to engender deep, irrational fear within the American people. It was all a great big scam, one used to justify ever-growing expenditures for the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, which gradually grew into a fourth branch of the U.S. government, and the most powerful branch at that.
It was all so unnecessary. All so immoral. All so un-American. Rather than embracing communist and totalitarian dark-side methods to fight communism, the United States would have been better off fighting communism by standing for its founding principles of liberty, free markets, and limited government. It’s not too late to do so.