ALAI, América Latina en Movimiento
The two Sept. 11s
| Clasificado en:|| Política: Politica, Democracia, DerechosHumanos, Estado, Justicia, Militar, | Internacional: Internacional, | Social: Social, Poblacion, Violencia, | Economía: Economia, | |
On this date, the course of international history was changed twice
in the past three decades. One year ago, several skyjackers flew
airliners into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. The Islamic
fundamentalists who perpetrated this massacre perhaps didn't realize
that exactly 28 years earlier the heart of another American country
was attacked from the air.
In 1973, the palace of government in Santiago, Chile ,was destroyed.
That action was not carried out by foreign pilots but by armed forces
that had been propped up by the CIA, the intelligence agency of the
same superpower that would suffer the macro-attack in 2001.
On Sept. 11, 1973 , as in 2001, the world order was altered. Twenty-
nine years ago, the first experimental government by a pro-Soviet
party in the Western Hemisphere was terminated. Although Chile 's
Popular Unity stated that it would submit to the system of
representative capitalist democracies sponsored by Washington , the
U.S. administration considered the situation intolerable.
Before the coup by Augusto Pinochet, the left had grown at the polls
and the social climate was tense. U.S. Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger held that the U.S. could not allow a country to turn
communist just because its people were ignorant.
The military uprising in Santiago served to demonstrate that the
principal Western power could not tolerate opposing governments, even
if they were elected by universal vote. In addition, Washington
encouraged the consolidation or extension of anti-communist
dictatorships throughout the Southern Cone.
The new regime, installed Sept. 11, 1973 , would initiate the present
economic model, which would become fashionable during globalization.
Pinochet's prescription was to renounce the old Keynesian economic
system, which protected the national industry and the domestic
market, and promoted development by replacing imports and increasing
consumption by increasing the people's level of income. The Chicago
school sought to open the market to importation and to the free flow
of foreign capital. Even though this would imply the initial
destruction of many industries that produced goods for the domestic
market, along with an increase in unemployment and the reduction of
real wages and the downgrading of working conditions, the new
economists insisted that in the long run a new accumulation of
capital would occur. By turning toward exportation and stabilizing
the currency, Chile began to show an economic drive that other
nations in South America attempted to imitate.
To the critics of neoliberalism, this was a way to starve the people
in order to export. To the money-driven economists, this was the only
way to compete in the international market and develop the countries
that had taken that route.
Pinochet's coup was one of the moments of greatest conflict between
the two world superpowers at a time when both seemed to have reached
the '70s evenly matched.
Late that decade, Carter's new administration began to shift toward
sponsoring human rights, as a way to undermine the Soviet bloc and
provide a social base to any new Latin American governments that
might apply economic readjustments.
The military model imposed on Chile on Sept. 11, 1973 , was gradually
put aside and replaced by the neoliberal system Carter had begun to
encourage. The greatest victory of the takeover was that, in the long
run, the very nations that formed the Warsaw Pact renounced their
system of planned economics and their regimes of a single (Communist)
party, to embrace the capitalist market. Pinochet's currency-driven
economics would become a panacea to several circles in Moscow .
On Sept. 11, 2001 , the United States was attacked from the air. The
symbols of its military and economic might were attacked. This time,
the CIA was not accused of organizing the attack but of having
overlooked it or, in the worst scenario, of having ignored it in
order to justify a military action.
On both dates, 1973 and 2001, the administrations in Washington were
in the hands of hardline Republicans. Bush Jr. and Kissinger today
head the hawkish line within the governing party, proposing an
immediate war against Iraq , although many Republican leaders doubt
if it's convenient to plunge into military intervention without
international support or without justification.
In the wake of Sept. 11, 2001 , the U.S. launched a major campaign to
strengthen its military forces. The arms budget of the only
superpower increased to the point that it surpassed the budgets of
the seven next largest powers. The greatest coalition of countries
ever seen prepared to attack Afghanistan .
One of the world's poorest nations became the recipient of $1 billion
in bombs every month. That's the equivalent of the combined Afghan
exports for more than 12 years.
The incursion in Afghanistan led to the collapse of the government,
which was replaced by a coalition of military warlords, many of whom
had a worse record of killing defenseless people and committing war
crimes than the Talibans themselves.
Neither bin Laden nor Mullah Omar have been captured. Pinochet was
arrested and later released. The people responsible for the two Sept.
11 massacres have been treated differently by the West. Both were CIA
collaborators. One was always a friend of the United States , but the
other attacked it. The Chilean general was allowed to return to his
homeland under pressure from conservatives. The Saudi fundamentalist
is being hunted to the extent that 3,000 Afghan civilians have been
killed by Western bombardments.
Although the objective of capturing the organizers of the macro-
attacks in Manhattan and Washington has not been achieved, the lesson
Bush has imparted is that his country is a global policeman and has
the ability to impose order wherever it sees fit.
The new doctrine is to treat harshly all those who are designated as
terrorists. Along those lines, Sharon started to raze the Palestine
National Authority. The fundamentalist Hindu government has increased
its actions against Kashmiri separatists and it is possible that the
first nuclear war in history will erupt between India and Pakistan .
In Colombia , Alvaro Uribe ascended to the presidency advocating a
generalized offensive against the guerrillas. In the Basque nation,
the government has decreed a ban on Batasuna, a party that brings
together more than a tenth of the electorate but which is accused of
being the legal arm of ETA.
Many critics of the new hard line maintain that the antiterrorist
crusades don't try to solve the real problems that create social
violence. The U.S. is accused of ignoring the widening of
inequalities between nations and classes, the increases in poverty
and the deterioration of the environment, issues that prompt diverse
social movements or the action of violent groups. To those who favor
the anti-terrorist line, it is necessary to impose order on a
worldwide level in order to guarantee investments and the economy.
The two Sept. 11s initially strengthened the Republican right and its
agenda of greater military harshness toward its enemies, greater U.S.
interventionism and greater concessions for U.S. transnational
corporations. In the first instance, the hawkish line of Nixon-
Kissinger led to an eventual weakening of Washington and successful
anti-American uprisings in Indochina , Nicaragua and Iran . In the
second instance, a hawkish line is leading Bush to a policy of
military intervention in Iraq that could isolate the U.S. from its
various European and Muslim allies and might end up producing new
reactions against that superpower.
* Isaac Bigio is an international analyst. He studied at the London
School of Economics & Political Sciences, where he earned degrees and
postgraduate diplomas in International History and Economic Policy
and has been a teacher and researcher.
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