Saigon. The rain sheeted down, time washed away. I looked down from the rooftop in Saigon where, more than a generation ago, in the wake of the longest war of modern times, I had watched silent, sullen streets awash. The foreigners were gone, at last. Through the mist, like little phantoms, four children ran into view, their arms outstretched. They circled and weaved and dived; and one of them fell down, feigning death. They were bombers.
This was not unusual, for there is no place like Vietnam. Within my lifetime, Ho Chi Minh’s nationalists had fought and expelled the French, whose tree-lined boulevards, pink-washed villas and scaled-down replica of the Paris Opera, were facades for plunder and cruelty; then the Japanese, with whom the French colons collaborated; then the British who sought to reinstall the French; then the Americans, with whom Ho had repeatedly tried to forge an alliance against China; then Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, who attacked from the west; and finally the Chinese who, with a vengeful nod from Washington, came down from the north. All of them were seen off at immeasurable cost.
The twin nemesis of Latin America’s quest for more equitable and dynamic development, US imperial and local oligarchic power have been subject to profound changes over the past decade. New capitalist classes both at home and abroad have redefined Latin America’s relation to world markets, seized opportunities to stimulate growth and forged cross class coalitions linking overseas investors, agro-mineral exporters, national industrialists with a broad array of trade unions, and in some countries peasant and Indian social movements. Parallel to these changes in Latin America, a new militarist and financial political configuration engaged in prolonged wars, colonial occupations and widespread speculation has weakened the structural economic links – dominance – between US imperial economic interests and Latin America’s dynamic socio-economic classes.
As a very frequent flyer, I have wanted to write about the abuses of the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) for years now. To tell the truth, since I am such a frequent flyer and often recognized by individual TSA employees, I was a little timid about this because I did not want flying to become an even bigger hassle and more invasive than it already is. But the recent brouhaha over the Chertoff-O-Scanners has given me the courage in numbers to be able to write about my experiences.
US foreign policy of our time is clearly interventionist. From the 1950s to today, from Korea, Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan and countless smaller wars in between the country has moved away from the sentiment once expressed by George Washington: Beware of foreign entanglements.
On December 1 the U.S. and its South Korean military ally completed four days of naval maneuvers in the Yellow Sea where China claims a 200-mile exclusive economic zone.
The U.S. dispatched the 97,000-ton USS George Washington nuclear-powered aircraft supercarrier for the exercise, accompanied by a carrier strike group consisting of a guided missile cruiser and three guided missile destroyers. The American deployment included 6,000 sailors and 75 aircraft. South Korea supplied destroyers, corvettes, frigates, support ships, anti-submarine aircraft and an undisclosed amount of military personnel.