John F Kennedy and US Imperialism

Kennedy was the first US president to authorize chemical warfare and napalm

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Liberals have a nostalgia for John F Kennedy, many of whom believe he was assassinated by the CIA for defying their pressure to invade Cuba.

Even if this entirely plausible scenario were true (the question is academic since the CIA has committed many, many crimes, which the obsession with Kennedy’s assassination only serves to distract from), that Kennedy’s spat with the CIA was due to its warmongering is purely illusory. As Youssef El-Gingihy explains[1]:

“The Kennedys may have fallen out with the CIA over Cuba, but this was more a question of methodology than ideology. For both parties, the ultimate prize remained the overthrow of the Castro regime…JFK authorized multiple CIA ops against Cuba in 1963. True, Operation Mongoose had been disbanded and they ordered the FBI to clamp down on the more extreme groups such as Alpha 66. However, the Kennedys were merely transferring the Cuban project under their aegis”.

An honest appraisal of JFK shows him up to be a committed servant of the US empire. He didn’t want to directly invade Cuba only because that risked nuclear suicide with the Soviets, which would mean the mutual destruction of both superpowers.

As Noam Chomsky once remarked, if the Nuremberg Principles applied today, then every US president since 1945 would have been hanged. Kennedy, he says, “was one of the worst”.

Kennedy was the first American president to authorize chemical warfare and napalm, launching Operation Ranch Hand against South Vietnam in 1962. This Operation damaged or destroyed some 4 million acres of forest and 500,000 acres of food crops with Agent Orange and other chemical defoliants and herbicides[2], destroying/poisoning the food supply of countless civilian families. Millions were directly sprayed with Agent Orange, inflicting subsequent generations with horrific deformities[3].

This Operation was modeled on Britain’s ‘strategic hamlets’ in 1950s Kenya, when the Mau Mau revolt against British colonial rule was savagely suppressed. As revealed in 2011 with the release of declassified files from Britain’s Foreign Office, British troops stabbed/shot, tortured, raped and mutilated up to 1 million Kenyan detainees. Read Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Elkins’ comprehensive account, ‘Britain’s Gulag’.

Like Britain’s Malay Emergency, Kennedy’s Ranch Hand was also a counter-insurgency operation: the Saigon regime, “a Latin American-style terror state” (Chomsky) installed by Washington in the 1950s, had killed 20,000 people. American money and guns, however, were proving insufficient in sustaining the despised regime. To keep its client regime propped up, Washington had to intervene. LBJ sent in the troops following the (fake) Gulf of Tonkin incident, but it was JFK who initiated the war’s most devastating dimension: air raids.

Then there’s Cuba. Kennedy implemented his predecessor Dwight Eisenhower’s plans to oust the revolutionary government of Fidel Castro, whose courageous guerillas had toppled the murderous junta of Gen. Batista, a CIA stooge who had ruthlessly guarded Wall Street’s interests in the de facto corporate colony.

The President’s brother, Robert Kennedy, masterminded the most vicious crimes against Cuba: Operation Mongoose, a CIA terrorist/sabotage campaign, was designed (in his words) to “raise the terrors of the earth” against Havana.

He almost succeeded: Mongoose, perhaps the biggest campaign of international terrorism until that of Al Qaeda, involved attempted bombings of oil/sugar refineries. For decades, the US allowed terrorists to launch tourist shootings and hotel bombings from their base in Miami. Cue Bush II: “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbour them!”.

And of course there’s the gamble with nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis (https://flashpointssite.wordpress.com/2017/11/23/we-were-this-close-how-the-cuban-missile-crisis-brought-the-world-to-the-nuclear-brink/).

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“Nordic races appear to be definitely superior to their Latin counterparts”.

The following chapter, “Destabilization Policies,” focuses on Kennedy-era efforts to undermine Argentina’s Arturo Frondizi (who declined to support the U.S. anticommunist crusade against Cuba), Brazil’s João Goulart (who was considered a closet communist), and Guatemala’s Miguel Ydígoras Fuentes (whose only sin was to allow former president Arévalo to return from exile).

Next comes a chapter on the “Kennedy Doctrine”–JFK’s assertion of the right to intervene in cases involving the potential for communist expansion–a chapter designed around the case of Guyana, where the British were transferring power to the electorate which, in turn, seemed intent upon electing a prime minister that Washington perceived as a dangerous radical…the Kennedy administration strong-armed the British into rescheduling elections under a new form of proportional representation, and that ended Cheddi Jagan’s electoral hopes.

Turning the coin over, Rabe’s next chapter on “Constitutional Defenses” explains how…Kennedy’s highly selective embrace of constitutionalism also included covert funding to ensure that the Chilean Christian Democrats could triumph over their more radical democratic adversaries…

1. https://newint.org/blog/2014/11/21/jfk-assassination-anniversary
2. http://www.internationalrelations.house.gov/111/quy060409.pdf.
3. http://www.nature.com/articles/nature01537

Author: WeatherEye

Author of "Eurasian Tinderbox: The US Buildup against Russia and China". Ebook available at Amazon for $2.99 Producer of Flashpoints (2017), a documentary about NATO/Russia/Ukraine. Available for free viewing at YouTube.com

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