There was a brief moment, after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, when even Bill Clinton recognized what had been done to Haiti in the name of ‘free trade’: the destruction of local markets and rice production.
Most students of Kissinger find it hard to say anything about Kissinger that isn’t about the man himself. He is such an outsize figure that he eclipses his own context, leading his many biographers, critics, and admirers to focus nearly exclusively on the quirks of his personality or his moral failings.
Kissinger’s unusually high body count and singular moral imperiousness has the effect, among his critics, of obscuring his didactic utility. An outsized personality who has committed outsized mayhem, Kissinger eclipses his own context. Yet, as animals were to the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, Kissinger is good to think with.
Starting in the early 1800s, Southerners in the United States began to defend slavery as their ‘peculiar institution,’ and northerners didn’t mind, since the phrase suggested that chattel bondage was quarantined from the rest of the nation: that it was, or soon would be, a relic of its past and would not define its future.
Within days of Richard Nixon’s inauguration in January 1969, national-security adviser Kissinger asked the Pentagon to lay out his bombing options in Indochina. The previous president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, had suspended his own bombing campaign against North Vietnam in hopes of negotiating a broader cease-fire.
Such is the nature of the ‘unity government’ Clinton helped institutionalize. In her book, ‘Hard Choices,’ Clinton holds up her Honduran settlement as a proud example of her trademark clear-eyed, ‘pragmatic’ foreign policy approach. Berta Caceres gave her life to fight that government.
Ronald Reagan, who led the larger New Right project of re-sanctifying U.S. foreign policy after its Vietnam disaccreditation, felt compelled to drape his support for Central American death squads in the rhetoric of American exceptionalism.
According to Colombia’s respected Escuela Nacional Sindical, as of April 2015, 105 union activists had been executed in the four years since Clinton’s free-trade treaty went into effect. That’s just trade unionists.
The idea that Hillary Clinton wants to do to Central America what her husband did to Colombia is troubling.
Even before the expansion of slave labor in the South and into the West, slavery was already an important source of northern profit, as was the already exploding slave trade in the Caribbean and South America. Banks capitalized the slave trade, and insurance companies underwrote it.