Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Little History of Chicken Little in Politics

"The sky is falling, the sky is falling." Oh, Chicken Little......Well, we have our own Chicken Littles. A little history to remind us of how our politicians use fear-mongering to govern us. This is from a book entitled Mad As Hell: The Rise of the Populist Right. It is anything but left wing. I have added some editorial comments.

"Kissinger's fall from grace meant that foreign policy shifted to the right. For many observers [in 1975] Communism was on the march. [Yes, toward its grave!] While Vietnam and Cambodia had been lost, Nixon and Ford had cut defense spending, and the CIA had been humiliated by the Church Committee. Britain, West Germany, and Italy were haunted by terrorism, while Spain and Portugal seemed the wave of the future. The mineral-rich country of Angola, for example, had thrown off Portuguese rule at the beginning of 1975, yet within months it was on the brink of falling to a Soviet-backed insurgency. To the neoconservatives, it seemed the United States had lost the will to fight. Commentary warned that Soviet victory in Angola, giving it access to raw materials and shipping lanes, would 'weaken the security of the West.' And according to Daniel Moynihan...Moscow was 'the new colonial power in Africa.'

"We know now that the apparent Soviet expansion in the mid-1970s was much exaggerated. [Ya think?] At the time, however, the American military advantage seemed to be disappearing. In early 1975, James Schlesinger had predicted that the Soviet Union would soon enjoy military 'preponderance.' Two years later, Robert Tucker, a hawkish political scientist at Johns Hopkins, wrote of the 'impressive and persistent growth of Soviet military power,' while the military historian Edward Luttwak told Commentary's readers that 'the Russians are building missiles, bombers, and warships to acquire a worldwide strategic reach.' reflecting their 'expansionist intent.' At the Pentagon, the new secretary of defense was 'absolutely convinced that the United States was falling behind the Soviet Union.' There had been a 'tremendous shift' in Moscow's favor, Donald Rumsfeld told the House Armed Services Committee - which was why he wanted a $14.4 billion hike in the defense budget." [pp. 98-99]

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