—Before I expound on this issue, I would like to make the following very clear:
♦1. I consider the United States the Greatest Force for Good in the World. To the extent that I criticize, it is in the hope that at least some of what I explain might help to restore that country to its proper leading place in our world.
♦2. All that I explain below about the 1970s may be found in Chapters 22 and 23 of AmaBhulu.
♦3. On 9 Jun 2002 this author predicted for an Israeli business visitor that the next Democratic Administration in the United States would sell out Israel. The warning was politely laughed off and I was told it would never happen.
The United States 1975 – International Position
In 1975, the United States was in very bad shape. The country had just hounded its president out of office and the Vice President, Gerald Ford—a good man—was in office. The US had shortly before lost the Vietnam War in particularly demoralizing fashion. It had lost around 60,000 men in that war, partly due to demanding that its men fight with their hands figuratively tied behind their backs. On April 30 of the year, a shocked Western World had to see American seamen shove helicopters into the sea (photo) the previous day to make way for others to land on aircraft carriers with people evacuated from the fallen Saigon. Desperate South Vietnamese people who had supported the United States had been forcibly shoved away from the last helicopters leaving Saigon, thereby sentenced to a life of Communist re-education if not death. The Americans called it “Operation Frequent Wind“, and it lives in infamy.
Inside the United States
A Democratic Party majority ran both Houses of Congress. They had the requisite 60% of the votes in Congress to override any presidential veto. Their focus turned almost immediately to finding ways to curtail the abilities of their own Central Intelligence Agency which they blamed for the war. The nation was in a funk about “little wars” turning into Vietnam-like nightmares for Americans. I am keenly aware of the emotions and convictions of the time and count Americans on different sides of that argument as my personal friends, including so-called “Draft Dodgers” who fled to Canada. Culturally, the United States seemed to completely ignore the International Communist Revolution and focused instead on its own parochial internal Social Rights. While a rampant USSR promoted the International Communist Revolution all over the world under the Brezhnev Doctrine, the United States ignored the planet and promoted the Sexual Revolution within its borders. The United States had grown myopic and obsessive about gender. The best this author can say, is that the 1970s music was very good.
In this introspective psychological state the United States elected the Georgia Governor and peanut farmer Jimmy Carter as president in 1976. He appointed Andrew Young, a Black Caucus member [read that link to the end], as UN ambassador. Together they created what most Americans agree today was the worst administration the country had seen since world War I. It is a rare Democrat indeed who will today defend that Administration.
The Russian led Response
The Russians are a chess playing nation. Correctly sensing the self-inflicted weakness of the United States, the Russian dominated Soviet Union made its move. Using Cubans as a proxy army it moved into Angola in 1975 on the watch of the Congressionally hamstrung Ford. The Über Liberal Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minster of Canada, made the airfield of Gander in Newfoundland available to Fidel Castro to ship his troops to Angola.
Desperate, several African states turned to South Africa for help. So did Henry Kissinger, still US Secretary of State in 1975. With such compelling pleas as background South Africa elected to back one of the Angolan parties fighting against the Communist supported Angolan government. The story can be read in detail in AmaBhulu, where all the evidence any reader could wish for is provided, including information from declassified US State Department documents.
A Democratic led United States on the World Stage
On 16 December 1975, despite desperate pleas by President Ford, the US Congress implemented the decision to cut off the financial ability of the CIA to maintain the support effort in Angola. President Ford’s sage words echo across history :
A great nation cannot escape its responsibilities. Responsibilities abandoned today will return as more acute crises tomorrow
In short, an American government in which the Democrats held the controlling hand deserted the field of battle in the face of the enemy. The CIA packed its bags and very literally flew off, leaving the South Africans to their fate in Angola. South Africa withdrew back to Namibia. In Luanda in Angola, a senior Cuban intelligence officer took over the facilities that the CIA’s Robert Hultslander had occupied before .
The ensuing period is treated in detail in AmaBhulu. However, instead of believing this author and his massive list of reference material in that book, the reader could just accept the truth from the horse’s mouth. The “horse” in this case is Russian Soviet Ambassador to the UN/US, Anatoliy Dobrynin (shown here), who later (1995) stated ,
…having suffered no major international complications because of its interference in Angola, Moscow had no scruples about escalating its activities in other countries, first Ethiopia, then Yemen, a number of African and Middle Eastern states, and, to crown it all Afghanistan.
For “Ethiopia”, one may read “Somalia”, which was the opponent. And the whole world knows that Afghanistan and Somalia gave us Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. The mess in Yemen is still with us. Zaïre, one of the “number of African states”, is today a prime example of a completely failed state. All this would ultimately lead to the World Trade Center attacks on 11 September 2001 and the loss of more lives than the Pearl Harbor attack. The abandoned responsibility certainly returned with a vengeance, and the consequences are with us all still.
Invoking the word “Apartheid”
Back in the 1970s, sensing revolution in the water, the ANC in South Africa initiated the 1976 Soweto Riots. As a result of this, Jimmy Carter and Andy Young found the time and inclination to insist on “One man, One vote” in South Africa . Somehow they thought that their domestic political management model applied to South Africa. That country is today teetering on the brink of collapsing into the most significant national basket case on Earth precisely because of this insistence. Democracy is a superb way of resolving issues and it has its place among civilized people, but does not belong in a country dominated by either base savagery or religious fundamentalism. In 1977 the Soviets exploited the situation by suggesting that the US was feigning concern about the Soviet effort in Ethiopia in order to distract attention from apartheid in South Africa .
Hitting Rock Bottom
By 1980, with the Iranian Crisis, the United States finally hit psychological rock bottom. This author well remembers his best American friend physically in tears about his country; and he was a loyal Democrat!! The indelible image of this period is a dejected Carter sitting with his team in the White House near a television set, trying to work until the last few minutes (see photo) of his disastrous presidency, hoping against all hope that the Iranians would release their American captives. Carter was replaced after his first term in office by Ronald Reagan (below), a man who could rightly stomach America’s international disgrace not a minute longer, and actually did something about it.
The US gets back its Mojo
Over the following 12 years the United States recovered its “mojo” despite some economic setbacks. It is called LEADERSHIP. It is that leadership that led the US to declare the ANC in South Africa a terrorist organization based on hard evidence. It is also that leadership that welcomed President Assad Senior of Syria as ally in the First Gulf War. I have been listening very closely to the US Media over the last month, and there has not been so much as a peep out of them about Assad Senior’s membership of the US Ally Team in that war. But, I remembered the incongruous images of Syrian pilots climbing into their Russian-built MIGs as part of a US attack. I don’t forget such images. The US media does, because it is convenient. And right now, in American minds, Assad Junior HAS TO BE the monster and Democracy HAS TO BE the solution. It never occurs to US administrations that the guys replacing the “monsters” are “monsters” themselves. They just never seem to learn the lesson. They simply do not comprehend that they are misreading an entire culture.
NOW, FAST FORWARD TO 2015 ⇒
The United States 2015 – International Position
—In 2015 the United States is in very bad shape. Some seven years before, in 2008, the country was in a funk about its 2003 invasion of Iraq. That war had been a very quick initial success, followed by a comprehensive failure to consolidate the situation. It had all gone wrong and dragged on because of Democracy plugged into Iraq like a square peg in a round hole. Why would Democracy work in a place where there is no regard for another man’s life, let alone his opinion expressed via a cross on a piece of paper? Eventually, the previous president, George Bush, had implemented a “Surge” of military effort and had stabilized the situation. With a loss of around 4,500 men and thousands maimed for no apparent benefit, Americans felt that they had just experienced another near-Vietnam. They wanted “out”. Many used the faulty intelligence employed as reason for the invasion as an expedient basis to justify withdrawal. To make matters worse, the world economy “tanked” at the end of 2008 on the back of American Financial Sector malfeasance that misled the entire world and deeply damaged almost all economies around the globe. Many Americans lost their homes and millions lost their jobs.
Inside the United States
A new presidential Candidate, Barack Obama (shown here), promised he would end the war in Iraq; now approaching six years in the running. By early 2009, the new Democratic Party Government controlled the Presidency, the House of Representatives, and the Senate: utter and complete control. As in 1975, the focus immediately swung inward. The economy received little attention, the War in Iraq even less, and the big issue appeared to be Socialized Medicine. Soon the issue was a fictitious “War on Women” and various Social Rights issues. Yet again, under a Democratic administration, the United States had grown myopic and obsessive about gender. This time there was no good music to save the era.
A Democrat led United States on the World Stage
On 18 December 2011, Obama withdrew the last US forces from Iraq. Ironically, the last vehicle to leave was a mine-proof BAE Caiman based on a design by the South African company Land Systems OMC. Just like Angola, where South Africa had suffered a similar US departure in 1975 and had learned to make the mine-proof vehicles, Iraq was left to fester in the rubble left behind by the United States’ effort. Entirely predictably, the Shia dominated government promptly turned to diminishing the position of the Sunni and the general situation in the Middle East started to metastasize.
Precisely a year before Obama withdrew from Iraq, the so-called Arab Spring erupted in Tunisia. Soon, a veritable horde of Arab and Muslim African countries were in different states of upheaval. Through idealistic Democrat eyes this was overwhelming testimony to the irrepressible power of Democracy and its supposed inherent goodness. Thousands of miles away, the much tried white South Africans felt they’d seen this all before and knew how it would end. They were right. They had experience of what Democracy does in uncivilized places. The author certainly realized that Democracy had already given the Shia Hezbollah and its allies veto power in Lebanon and given control to Hamas in Gaza. There was no way that Democracy could bode well in the present Arab world. In South Africa it had given the country to a Listed Terrorist Organization that has since shown its true colors. It would assuredly do the same in the Middle East.
The US helped to remove Muammar Gadaffi (below) from power in Libya, but did not replace him with anything. Ultimately, the US ambassador to Libya ended up dead at the hands of a local Al Qaeda affiliated group on the watch of Hillary Clinton. The Arab Spring failed in Egypt and resulted in the Muslim Brotherhood taking over. This situation was only overcome by yet again letting the Egyptian military restore sanity in non-democratic fashion. Yemen produced a supposedly US-friendly leader that soon fled in the face of Iranian sponsored Houthi attacks. The Americans upped and left Yemen. Trouble flared and subsided in Bahrain, Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Sudan, Mauritania, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, and even in Western Sahara and Mali. Fortunately, the inappropriate domestic management process of Democracy could not make much inroad there, otherwise those countries would surely be terrorist headquarters today.
Syria and Iraq
But it was in Iraq and Syria that an evil straight from Hell was brewing. When matters boiled over in Syria, Obama failed to take decisive action and focused instead on domestic issues with a general overtone of “rights” rather than “responsibilities”. The fictitious “War on women” was receiving more attention than the real wars in the Middle East.
Back in the Middle East, ISIS developed within Eastern Syria from the mire in Iraq. It chased the largely Shia Iraqi Army out of most of the important Sunni territory in Iraq, taking massive amounts of the American weaponry and vehicles in the process. Then it started perpetrating the most vile of inhuman crimes on those who would not follow their sick brand of supposed Islam. The world could undeniably see on TV the horror white people had had to deal with in Africa for many decades. The Western World was stunned.
Obama, who is still today veto-proof in Congress, seemed paralyzed. In Syria he was caught between Assad Junior on the one hand and an even worse ISIS on the other. It seems odd to this author that the US in 1990 welcomed Assad’s father as an ally, but Assad Junior was now being painted as a monster. Obama chose neither and backed instead the so called “Free Syrian Army”. This is a force so nebulous and ineffectual as to be non-existent. His reward for this was that 25% of the equipment the US provided ended up in the hands of Al Nusra – “Al Qaeda in Syria”.
The Russian led Response
Correctly assessing the weakness of the American leadership, the Russian leader Vladimir Putin has now made his move. He has no difficulty making decisions. He believes the choice is between Assad and ISIS and that Assad is the lesser of two evils. Therefore he is going to support Assad. As it is, Assad has been a Russian ally for a while and, unlike the US, the Russians do not employ the word “Democracy” as an anti-evil incantation.
Over the past three weeks we received various reports of Russian military equipment and men heading for Syria. It was clear that Putin is a man of action and resolve and understands the interests of his nation. Shrugging off US and European sanctions like an irritating tick bird on his back, he openly flew his Su-24 strike aircraft, ground-support Su-25s (below), and some Su-30 air superiority fighter planes into Syria.
At this point, stinging Internet posts from the Middle East joke ironically that a year of “so-called Allied bombardment” has killed “33” ISIS members. Much of the US air-dropped supplies are said to fall into ISIS and Al Nusra hands. At least one Internet poster cleverly muses that the “33” ISIS members that were killed died “when US supplies dropped on their heads”. US Generals have confessed that, after a year of training, they now have “4 or 5” recruits trained elsewhere in Syria. The situation is outrageous in the extreme.
After the first Russian bombs dropped, Obama complained that the Russians were bombing the moderate parties the US is “supporting” and not ISIS. Putin has denied this, and Foreign Minister Lavrov has been asking how it is that, if the US knows so clearly where ISIS is, it has not obliterated ISIS in its own bombing campaign. Tough question indeed!
And what do we have now?
In one fell swoop, Putin has effectively checked the US influence in the Middle East. Israel finds itself on the front line with the Russian, Hezbollah and Iranian Khuts proxy forces on their border. The country is in late 2015 precisely where South Africa was in 1975 with respect to the Russians, Cuban proxies and MPLA in Angola. The difference is that Israel is not subject to sanctions. If terrorists from Syria now were to strike at Israel the Israelis would in principle not be able to hit back without risking confrontation with the Russian Air Force.
However, here is the interesting twist that was not available to South Africa in 1975. Benjamin Netanyahu has simply ignored Obama and has made arrangements with Putin regarding matters of military air operations. He made it clear to Putin that Israel has no problem with Assad, just with Hezbollah and Iran. After all, Israel is used to having non-Democratic neighbors. It has sensibly been staying out of any inter-Arab conflict. However, it has also been selling Russia military drone technology. Perhaps the fact that Russian is by far the most commonly spoken unofficial language in Israel has played a role.
All this is happening at a time when Barack Obama has just signed a deal with Iran that will allow the latter access to nuclear weapons. Putin helped facilitate this agreement. All this was done over the vehement objections of Israel. Obama’s defense to the justified criticism is essentially, “that was the best we could get“. No one can blame Israel for turning to Putin in order to survive the last year of Obama’s rule in the United States.
Even before the ink was dry on the Nuclear Deal the leader of the elite Iranian Kuds Force got together with Putin. When we all woke up yesterday morning, Iranian forces were serving in Syria in support of the Russians and Assad. Later yesterday we learned that the Russians now had 50 aircraft in Syria; almost double the number of the day before. This morning we learned that Putin had called up 150,000 military conscripts.
Invoking the word “Apartheid”
Just as the Soviets invoked the word “Apartheid” in 1978, Mahmoud Abbas, leader of West Bank Palestinians Wednesday invoked it at the UN against Israel. Abbas plays to US audiences as “imminently reasonable”. However, his doctoral thesis was “The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism”. As in Ethiopia in 1977, while the Russians make military moves, others run flak for them using the word “Apartheid”. Abbas is a graduate of Moscow’s Patrice Lumumba University, a place that South Africa’s 1970’s government constantly warned about. See AmaBhulu for the author’s personal encounter with another graduate from that place. The Epilogue of the book was written in 2013 and reads (about South Africa):
There is something inherently obscene about the West commending the destruction of its own first outer wall, even as it is preparing to sell out Israel, the guardian on its second outer wall. That country will soon be treated the same way the West treated “the Second America,” and it will be morally assailed by the media. At the same time, the events of the first decade of the 21st century have forced the First America to question its own invincibility. The entire Western Civilization has lost its edge and is losing its place in the world. This work is a wake-up call to that Civilization; an opportunity to stare closely at the beast lying in wait.
Will the United States regrow its Mojo?
I believe it will. However, it will not be under Barack Obama. The nation shall have to find a way to survive his term until February 2017. That is an awfully long time for Putin to do just what he pleases. Meanwhile Obama will keep “staring at the TV in the White House” and wonder “What the hell just happened?”; a deer in the headlights of history. This is what happens when a great nation is badly led.
The frustration for America’s top generals must be beyond endurance. On the ground, mature Americans who lived the 1970s, are saying “Obama is the best thing that ever happened to Carter.” In the rest of the world they talk to Putin.
- White House Press Meeting in the Briefing Room, 4:58 pm, December 18, 1975
- National Security Archive, Interview with Robert W. Hultslander, former CIA Station Chief in Luanda, Angola
- Anatoliy Federovich Dobrynin, In Confidence, (1995) p.403
- Time Magazine, Monday, 30 May 1977; SOUTH AFRICA: Mondale v. Vorster: Tough Talk
- Bruce D. Porter, The U.S.S.R. in Third World conflicts, (1986), p.189; Radio Moscow transmission July27, 1977.