“Jimmy Carter . . . Liberal Saint Now, Neo-Liberal War Criminal Then” (Transcript)

[Unedited transcript of podcast on Jimmy Carter’s legacy as president, November 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krp2XygLxgo&t=14s. Opened w/ discussion of Carter’s well-deserved reputation as a humanitarian and peace advocate after he left the White House, then segued to discussion below].

Bob Buzzanco (BB): And it’s something we have talked about a long time and on my blog https://afflictthecomfortable.org, which is part of the green and red media empire. I wrote a piece in November just, I don’t know, on the spur of the moment about Jimmy Carter, and I think it was called . . . “Jimmy Carter is a liberal saint now, was a war criminal then,” and I do not get the traffic of Jacobin or any of those big New York publications, obviously.  But for some reason, this thing has really taken off. And I’m still getting every week, I’m still getting like hundreds of reads. I have no idea why. And we’ve talked about doing a show about this for some time, about Jimmy Carter. And so the recent death of his vice president, Walter Mondale, kind of became the impetus to actually do it. And and the reason I think Carter is important, one, because I think it’s just historically, it’s always important to understand what people really were like and what they really did. But we’re going to say a lot of negative stuff about Jimmy Carter, right? Jimmy Carter is lionized and he should be. I don’t want you to think, you know, I mean, his his work with Habitat for Humanity, the Carter Center, working on elections all over the world, his views on race, his outspoken views on race. He won a Nobel Prize for working on the North Korea nuclear agreement in the in the Nineties.   On Israel he’s remarkable. He has used the word apartheid in a book title to describe Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. So he’s a great guy. And I think that’s the point because people like that don’t become president if they’re people like that, right. Most of the time, all the time to get to that level of power in the government, whether it be president, Senate courts, whatever, you fit into this super framework of what the oligarchy wants.

BB: [00:12:25] And only rarely does somebody move beyond that. And we’re seeing that now. Right? All these people like Boehner, John Boehner, I hate Trump and I voted for him. Right. And you’re seeing people who are criticizing Trump and not really distancing himself. That’s why, like Liz Cheney has become Trump’s biggest critic in this upside down world. We have. But but rarely does a member who was really at that level. And I can think of a few one and we’ll talk about him in a future show is Ramsey Clark, who was the attorney general. Ramsey Clark father was Tom Clark, who was a Supreme Court justice, who, if he didn’t write the decision, certainly voted for the the putting Japanese in concentration camps in World War Two. Ramsey Clark was attorney general and later became a huge advocate for non-intervention, anti imperialism and civil rights.  Before Carter the best known I would say would probably be George Kennan, who was one of the architects of the Cold War, famous diplomat who later in life became like this ardent critic of nuclear weapons, nuclear proliferation, and in the 1980s wrote a piece in Foreign Affairs, which is the official publication of the ruling class, in which he said his concern for the future wasn’t nuclear war.

BB: [00:13:41] It was some kind of catastrophic environmental event. This is in the early 1980s. So and he really became it almost sounded like the new left people we’ve read. And then there’s Jimmy Carter. And so that’s what we want to talk about. He’s done great stuff. But what we’re going to do is tell you . . . how he became president and what he did as president and how American politics is structured in a way that a good guy is never going to become president and never get any close. You said Bernie Sanders, right? Who what we’re seeing now from Biden is that that, you know, Sanders and Warren aren’t really all that different from a lot of the stuff we’re seeing other than Medicare for All, which would be pretty radical. What Biden is doing isn’t all that dissimilar to what Warren and Sanders were talking about. So Jimmy Carter as president really fit well into that framework and laid the groundwork for Reagan, for Clinton, for this really pretty significant rightward drift that we’ve been seeing since the sixties and seventies. So I think Scott wants to lead off to talk a little bit about well, we’re going to start by talking about how who Jimmy Carter was and how he became president. And that involves the story of a group called the Trilateral Commission. So. . .

Scott Parkin (SP): [00:15:00] Yeah, and the Trilateral Commission is a term that you hear often in these conspiracy circles. It’s you hear about the Rockefellers and you hear about the Freemasons and you hear about the Illuminati . . . . And so the Trilateral Commission is actually now equated to some grand globalist conspiracy, etc.. But the important thing about the Trilateral Commission is it was it actually was a very influential body. It was a non-partisan, non-governmental discussion group founded by a Rockefeller, by David Rockefeller in 1973, and it was created to foster closer cooperation between Japan and Western Europe and North America. And and I’m going to actually read a quote. I’m going to start with a quote by one of our favorite people, which is Noam Chomsky. And Noam says, Talking about the Trilateral Commission and the philosophy of the Trilateral Commission is “essentially liberal internationalists from Europe, Japan and the United States, the liberal wing of the intellectual elite.” That’s where Jimmy Carter’s whole government came from, The Trilateral Commission. The Trilateral Commission was concerned with trying to induce what they call called more moderation in democracy. Little democracy turn people back to passive. . . . Yeah, to being passive and obedience so they don’t put so many constraints on state power and so on. In particular, they were worried about young people. They were concerned about the institutions responsible for the indoctrination of the young.

SP: [00:16:48] That’s their phrase, meaning schools, universities, church and so on. They’re not doing their job. The young are not being sufficiently indoctrinated. They’re too free to pursue their own initiatives and concerns, and you’ve got to control them better. And so, like I said, the Trilateral Commission comes together in 1973. It is a group of private citizens from the elite circles includes David Rockefeller, Brzezinski, Cyrus Vance. If you look at it in the spectrum of American politics, it’s people from both parties. Including William Scranton, who was a liberal Republican from Pennsylvania. He was the governor. And so essentially, when we talk about, you know, and Bob and I actually met in the midst of an anti corporate globalization movement about 20 years ago, we there’s a lot of critique of this phrase which we actually need to do a show on called neoliberalism. And so what the Trilateral Commission did was it was it was it’s one of those bodies which essentially. Manage the framework that led to this neoliberalism, that that rose up through the through the. What we tend to think has happened during the Reagan years, but it actually happened here in the Carter years. And that’s that’s a little bit about what we’re going to talk about. But it was a very influential body on governments and it was a very influential body on the US government. And it started with the administration of Jimmy Carter.

BB: [00:18:15] And Jimmy Carter, who was a peanut farmer, ran for governor of Georgia in 1974. He’d been in the state legislature, was elected governor, was a member of the Trilateral Commission, and some of those names there you mentioned Zbigniew Brzezinski was the kind of director of the trilateral, became Carter as his version of Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance, I believe Griffin Bell may have been.

SP: [00:18:35] Brzezinski worked for Kissinger, correct?

BB: [00:18:37] Yeah. Do you think he did? Yeah. But he always thought he was smart, you know, not saying much. But Brzezinski later in life actually became kind of a critical of wars in the Middle East and things like that. But any at any rate, and Carter was a member of this. And like you said, it’s not a conspiracy. This is done in the open. I mean, they’re having open meetings. Everybody knows about it. It’s being covered in the media. Around that same time, there was another group called the Committee on the Present Danger, which was established to push for higher defense spending. So we should do a show about all this because the left loves these conspiracies that they’re not. They’re just a bunch of people. And Jimmy Carter, . . .  impressed these people at the Trilateral Commission. You know, at the time. He’s really young. He’s fresh. This is Watergate. It just happened two years earlier. He was kind of unknown. And then he’s the first person who really understood that the Iowa caucuses could be important, You know, So he spent a lot of time in Iowa and won the caucuses. And all of a sudden, you know, the Democrats were in disarray after 1972 and after Watergate. So kind of the usual suspects were running. You had Ed Muskie was allegedly the front runner and he kind of fell apart. And I think did McGovern run again? I can’t remember now.

SP: [00:19:45] And McGovern seemed to be perpetually running.

BB: [00:19:47] There were ten or 12 people, Fred Harris from Oklahoma, who was actually a good old populist.

SP: [00:19:51] Jerry Brown, Scoop Jackson.

BB: [00:19:53] Fred Harris had the best line. He said, The little people are going to elect me president. And after two primaries, he dropped out. He said the little people were too small to reach the voting levers. So . . .  Jimmy Carter emerged from that and the ruling class loved him. Right. Because, you know, in the aftermath of Watergate, there was this intense anger and there was a real fear, like you said, like Chomsky, quote, says, like the sixties scared the hell out of these people. Right. The students are on campus and SDS and, you know, Black Panthers. And so they want to bring back this level of normalcy. And Carter is their guy. Right. And, you know, as you said, you know, he kind of lays the groundwork like his views on race, which are ironic, right, Because he’s great [now]. I mean, he’s working with Stacey Abrams. He’s been very outspoken on all racial issues, on police and everything. But that wasn’t that wasn’t Jimmy Carter in 1976, was it?

SP: [00:20:45] No. And it’s interesting. One thing I’m going to say to kind of prelude all of this is that a lot of what we attribute to Reagan-like policies and bringing in certain political views and things like that, a lot of it started with Carter. And so, for example, in 1976, when he was running for president, he’s really known actually for what he I believe he said when he launched his campaign, which was to be contrary to Nixon, which is like, “I will never lie to you.” But there’s a lot of other interesting things that he says in that campaign. And so, you know, Carter actually race-baited during the 1976 election. So by the mid-seventies, there had actually been a big push on busing, particularly in northern cities, but also in places like Charlotte. And so Carter came out and spoke out against that and he was doing that during the 1976 primary and election to appeal to northern white ethnics and white southerners. And he carried a majority of white Southern men in 1976, in the election, in the general election. But a quote that he said was, “I see nothing wrong with ethnic purity being maintained. I would not force a racial integration of a neighborhood by government action.” And then a couple of days later, when he was criticized for it by the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, he doubled down and he said, “What I say is that the government ought not to take as a major purpose the intrusion of alien groups into a neighborhood simply to establish their intrusion.”

BB: [00:22:14] And so that’s not really even coded language now. And Jesse Jackson got into a very public pissing match about that when it happened.

SP: [00:22:24] And, you know, a lot of when Reagan announced his presidential run and I believe 1979, he did it at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Blanket on the town in Mississippi. But it’s near where the three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964. A lot of coded language in there about states rights, blah, blah, blah. Et cetera. Carter. Carter predates that.

BB: [00:22:51] Carter also reached out to the evangelical community.

SP: [00:22:54] Philadelphia, Mississippi.

BB: [00:22:55] That’s where Carter also reached out to the evangelical religious community. And I believe met with Jerry Falwell and I think kind of got his blessing. Carter won a majority of evangelical votes. So today, when we talk about the horrors of these evangelicals and Trump, Carter started that.

SP: [00:23:11] Yeah, exactly. And the rise of the religious right didn’t start . . .  they joined the Republican, the Reagan coalition, the Reagan cold, the Reagan coalition, the Republican coalition in 1980. But they were actually part of the Carter Coalition in 1976 to get him elected and to beat Ford, who who was actually a bit of a liberal Republican. Just to be clear.

BB: [00:23:30] Yeah. You know, in retrospect, as you look back on these things, like I was saying the other day, like, you know, it might have been better for everybody if Mitt Romney had won in 2012 and a Ford. Yeah. I mean, you know, Jerry Ford, me kind of I, I roam around. But I remember and I’ve said this, I told you this story probably more times. You care to remember Jerry Ford? I believe it was his first press conference, either as president or right after the pardon. And they talked about the pardon. And then somebody said there was a bill, a public spending bill, small amount, $15 Billion or something like that. And there’s Jerry Ford about it. And he said, look, you know, we’re in an economic you know, we’re in a stagnant economy. The federal government has a responsibility and obligation to take care of people in times like this. I mean, can you imagine anybody, any Democrat from that point on Clinton or Gore or, you know, Biden’s actually saying that now, which is kind of why we’ve some of these shows we’ve talked about. We’re starting to see kind of some slight reversion back to these kind of corporate liberal ideas because the situation is so bad. But no, absolutely. Ford in retrospect, when you look back, yeah, we might have been better off if he’d beaten Jimmy Carter, given the nature of what’s happened since then.

SP: [00:24:40] Yeah, exactly. The other on the other domestic front that we wanted to touch on is around economic policy. And so Carter was very much a fiscal conservative, fiscal not physical, but fiscal conservative, probably a fiscal conservative as well. But we won’t go.

BB: [00:24:59] Oh, he did. He was he did give an interview to Playboy where he admitted to having lust in his heart for other women. So, yes, I guess he was I would make that make him a fiscal conservative, too. I remember Shirley MacLaine.

SP: [00:25:12] Maybe maybe in the Matt Gates context of the word.

BB: [00:25:15] I remember Shirley MacLaine saying it should really be a little lower than that.

SP: [00:25:18] So but Carter was a hardcore supply sider. And so when we’re talking about supply side economics, we’re talking about neoliberalism, we’re talking about a macro economic theory that effectively wants to foster lower taxes, decreasing regulation and free trade. Right? And so everything that we have organized against just since Seattle, the WTO protest in Seattle is essentially like supply side economics. And it’s the governing philosophy of Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama and Trump.

BB: [00:25:55] And Carter had a kind of sketchy relationship, sometimes antagonistic, with the union, with labor because of that supply side means you take care of supply and demand supply or the producers demand or the consumers. Right, Right. And basic Keynesian economics is basically demand side, which means the basis of Keynes idea is that you provide employment because employment gives people money and then they can become consumers. Supply side means you take care of the people at the top generally means you cut taxes. And then by doing that, you open that money for investment and you know, and that’ll trickle down, right? So the unions still wanted good union contracts and they wanted good wages and they still were kind of living in that Keynesian. Economy. And Carter is really the first person. He had really antagonistic relationships with a lot of a lot of especially left labor like the the mechanics, the machinist union at the time and a couple of others wanted Teddy Kennedy to run. Chappaquiddick had made that impossible. But the liberal wing of the Democratic Party wanted Teddy Kennedy to run, and so they never really warmed to Carter. And Carter didn’t warm to them.

SP: [00:27:04] No. And we talk about the dismantling of the New Deal, Even though all of these politicians run on an embrace of the New Deal and Franklin Roosevelt like Carter and Reagan, and say that Reagan’s noted for saying that FDR was one of his heroes when he was a young man. But they’re actually the ones who began the dismantling of the regulatory systems that the New Deal policies had implemented. Reagan actually praised Carter in a column when one of the ways that Reagan, after he was governor of California, he had a radio show, which would probably be a podcast in 2021, and then and then a column. And he actually had a column called Give Carter a Chance, praising his fiscal conservatism.

BB: [00:27:45] But but Carter And worth noting, in the 1976 election, Carter had been way ahead like by 20 points and barely won, eked it out. But the Democrats that year had a veto proof Congress because of Watergate. They had two thirds of the Senate and the House. And I don’t know. That was I think FDR is the only other time that had happened. Right. So he had incredible political juice, much like Obama did in 2009. And he essentially went to war against the liberal wing of his own party.

SP: [00:28:22] Yeah. And. There were a number of things that he did that that pissed off the liberal wing of his party. Deregulation was actually a big one. There, there, there was moves around with the Interstate Commerce Commission. To deregulate trucking and railroads. There was deregulation move against the against Ma Bell the the phone companies. And then there was also a deregulation. There was deregulation moves around the oil sector as well.

BB: [00:29:00] And airlines.

SP: [00:29:02] And airlines as well in which.

BB: [00:29:04] 80 there were, I think, something like 29 domestic carriers and within like what, a decade and a half it was down to. When you were working in your old corporate life, what was there like five or six major carriers.

SP: [00:29:20] Something like.

BB: [00:29:20] That? Yeah.

SP: [00:29:22] But then we also had the rise of the low cost carriers. This is like, yeah, that meant mid to late nineties, which were.

BB: [00:29:27] Really challenging deregulated trucking, which meant which really hurt wages among truckers.

SP: [00:29:34] And put him at odds with the Teamsters.

BB: [00:29:36] With the Teamsters Union. Right. And the Teamsters, I think didn’t the Teamsters endorsed Reagan in 1980. Yes. They might have.

SP: [00:29:41] Yeah. Yeah, they did. One thing I won’t say about about the oil sector is. Is there were a couple of different schools of thought. Here is like Ted Kennedy, who was becoming the leader of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, was essentially advocating nationalization of the oil industry, where Reagan was calling for complete deregulation. And so Carter took a middle road. And we in prepping for this episode, Bob and I found a Bob found an article in misuse by some unknown academic who remember his name.

BB: [00:30:20] The Ludwig von Mises was one of the Austrian economists, you know, hardcore conservative libertarian, no regulation, no laws, basically. So the Mesa Institute is kind of as far out there as you can get.

SP: [00:30:34] Let’s take us back to fatalism.

BB: [00:30:36] Oh, yeah, yeah. These are this is Milton Friedman and Hijack and all those guys, right? The Austrians, right. They are the sworn mortal enemies of the Keynesians. Right. And yeah, I’m looking around and I find this article from some guy in the Thesis Institute newsletter praising Jimmy Carter.

SP: [00:30:53] The title of the article is Rethinking Carter, but there’s a great quote in it. Do you want to read that?

BB: [00:30:57] Yeah. Let’s see the last line here. And he basically praises him for all the reasons we just gave deregulation and limiting spending on infrastructure and things like that, like the infrastructure bill today. That was an issue in the late 1970s, spending on infrastructure. So you can imagine, like a lot of that stuff we’re talking about today hasn’t been touched bridges and roads and now we have Internet and things like that. The one line you had, Scott always prepare his notes for this. He does all the heavy lifting. But at the time Ma Bell, a copper wire could carry 15 calls. And today a single fiber optic line can carry 2 million calls. So that’s the kind of infrastructure we were talking about at the time. But the last line in this article in the von Mises, since the two newsletters, however, Carter actually made it easier for Reagan to take the actions he did if the Democrats wish to lionize one of their own as the creator of the new economy, they should be looking at Jimmy Carter, not Bill Clinton. And other than you and I and some lefty economists and historians, people like Noam Chomsky, I’ve never heard anybody say that. So we are on the same side as the Austrians on this one.

SP: [00:32:11] But I’ve aspired to that for a long time.

BB: [00:32:14] I know, right?

SP: [00:32:16] And and so it’s it’s really important, like thinking about this in terms of the Trilateral Commission, what they did, thinking about Carter’s conservative economic politics. There was also the other thing the other thing I want to talk about real just touch on really quick and Bob kind of touched on this is there’s there’s two the Democratic Party is very polarized in this moment. And so there’s a there’s a pretty strong. The liberal wing, which is led by Ted Kennedy, George McGovern, people like that. And they’re in deep conflict with this more conservative wing of the party, which is led by Carter. And so clearly, Carter had won the primaries. He had been able to win the election by making a pre Reagan coalition, Carter coalition. And this is a this is also a story that continues to play out today. You could see it as being more about the wing that’s led by Rahm Emanuel and Obama ites versus the Sanders AOC wing. Right. With Biden somewhere in the middle. And so it’s Ryan Grim, who’s a bureau chief, D.C. bureau chief for The Intercept, actually wrote a great book that came out just a couple of years ago called We’ve Got the People or We Got People, which is essentially at least a four is a 40 year history of this struggle. He starts also in 1980 about the struggle between the liberal left wing and and the conservatives, mainstream establishment Democrats. But just very important thing to kind of think about the context. You know, we could also look at the Republicans and we can see the the splits there as well. And that’s actually playing out very publicly right now. But the context of what happens with the Democrats and their political divisions is very important.

BB: [00:33:59] And what that does with Carter is it moves Carter and Reagan, move everybody to the right so that when we talk about centrist Democrats back in the early 1970s, those guys were like liberal Republicans. Right, Right, right. So Carter is really pivotal. And, you know, not that I’m a seer because a lot of people were saying this in in 2016. I said, no matter who wins, I think you’re looking at a Jimmy Carter presidency like a one term kind of really lackadaisical malaise. Who knew it would be so tumultuous? But the fact is, we were right. But Carter’s presidency is not looked on favorably. You know, he was at war with his own party. In fact, Teddy Kennedy ran in the primaries against him in 1980, which is really bad whenever you have a primary challenge, just like when Pat Buchanan, remember, ran fairly strongly against George Bush in 92, you kind of knew George Bush was done for.

SP: [00:34:58] Or when Sanders ran pretty strongly against Hillary in 2016.

BB: [00:35:04] Carter defeated Kennedy because he had the mechanism of the party behind him. But by that time, you had just the country, you know, you had these energy problems. And he was advocating kind of this, you know, he’d do these he did these fireside chats, remember, and he talked about malaise and all that, like a lot of lefties liked him because he was friends with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. You know, he let Willie Nelson smoke weed at the White House and he would quote Dylan all the time. Right. But the reality was that the country wasn’t doing well. And then the big bond came, I think, with regard to and we can do this as a segue into the foreign policy stuff, which is what my article was actually about. The big bomb was Iran. It occurred in the Middle East. Iran had become America’s along with Israel and Saudi to some extent, but even more Iran. And we talked about this for a few weeks without really great show we did with Iskandar Shah, and we have to do another show on Iran because things aren’t getting different there. Obviously, you just had this hack by Israel. Israel is trying to muck up any opportunity to create and it’s not like Biden is eager to do it anyway. But Israel’s really mucking up every every chance to kind of create any kind of stability in that region. But I. The there was you have the revolution in Iran, the Islamic revolution with Khomeini. Prior to that, under the Nixon in the Nixon years. The US had established Iran as kind of a client state, a client state, but kind of a protector in the Middle East.

BB: [00:36:40] The United States. There are a couple to school. I’m being professor here. Forgive me. There are kind of a couple of schools of thought on the US role in the Middle East and especially with regard to Israel. So a lot of people say, well, the United States supports Israel because of domestic politics, right? A pack and the vote and all that. But then you have another school and Chomsky is part of that. And I think he’s right. And I’ve seen documents from Nixon which says that the United States supports Israel because Israel does America’s dirty work in the region. It’s like the cop, it’s their. Derek Chauvin Israel is America’s. Derek Chauvin Well, so was Iran. And between 1973 and 1978, Iran received $19 billion in weapons from the United States. The Shah of Iran was as reliable an ally in the region as you could get, really vicious, you know, brutal regime. And then you had this domestic opposition to to the shah emerge, the mujahideen, which is basically a word that means freedom fighter. The Mujahideen included a lot of young people who were influenced by the not just pan-Arabism like the Nasser type, but by Marx and communism. Remember, the seventies is a time where there’s a global left, right, you might say, doing before that and you had Fidel and Ho, the Vietnamese Revolution, the Cuban revolution, Mandela, the national. The you know, I’m talking about the ANC.

SP: [00:38:01] The African National Congress.

BB: [00:38:04] You know, there are these leftist movements all over. And we’ll talk about some of them because as President Carter’s move is to defeat those movements. So Iran is blowing up and Carter size with the shah. The Shah was diagnosed with cancer. He let him come into the United States for treatment at Johns Hopkins. And I forget who it was. It was I mean, Kissinger who wasn’t in his cabinet. Kissinger pressured him, but it may have been Cyrus Vance. It doesn’t matter. One of his cabinet members says, you know, if you side with the shore and let him in the country, you know, you realize what this is going to do inside Iran. And I’m not sure so but but I’m going to say it anyway, because it’s a great story. One of them I almost remember somebody saying, what are you going to do when they take the embassy? You know, So they were aware that America’s relationship with the Shah was toxic and it was going to lead to an upheaval in Iran. And it did. And so in the aftermath of the United States supporting the Shah, the shah leaves there’s a kind of a mini uprising. There’s a new government in Iran, I believe, led by guts by day. And then Khomeini returns from exile in Paris, and you have the creation of that first Islamic republic.

BB: [00:39:20] With that comes the second of the so called oil shocks of the 1970s. The first was in 1973 with the Arab-Israeli war, and then in 1979 you had the second. So there’s this Arab oil embargo. Inflation blows up. This would also leave we didn’t talk about it in the first place. This also led to the the appointment of Paul Volcker to head the Federal Reserve. And Volcker was a hard core hawk on inflation, which, you know, inflation for poor people isn’t a bad thing. Know, if inflation is done right, wages are raised and your debts are actually cost less because money isn’t worth as much. So for for people inflation, it’s not that bad, which is, I think, the basis of of a lot of these people. I’m not an advocate of that just to make it clear. So the the oil shocks and then the takeover of the American embassy sealed Carter’s fate. He appeared weak. He decided to stay in the Rose Garden and not leave. He was kind of a hostage. That was the word that was used, a hostage of the Rose Garden. He attempted against the advice of Cyrus Vance, who was a secretary of state. He attempted a rescue mission in the desert.

SP: [00:40:31] National Security Advisor.

BB: [00:40:32] Not security advisor. I’m sorry. Secretary of State was. No, no, it was Vance Brzezinski was.

SP: [00:40:37] I got him mixed up.

BB: [00:40:38] Yeah. Attempted a rescue mission in the desert, which was a disaster. Everybody, the helicopters went down. Everybody died. Vance resigned in protest against it, so Carter was just in dismal shape. So the election was still close, but it ended up. It was just a disaster. Carter lost heavily and then a bunch of establishment liberal Democrats, McGovern laws, Frank Church laws. I think Gaylord Nelson lost. Really? Didn’t they lose 11 Senate seats?

SP: [00:41:09] Yeah. Mike Gravel.

BB: [00:41:11] Great. In my brilliant predictions, I was saying that this the last year’s election could be like that for the Republicans. I was predicting like this massive Republican defeat.

SP: [00:41:20] So but then although we were we were betting on the Democrats, which is probably.

BB: [00:41:24] When you’re like I said, when you’re playing the Washington generals. Yeah. You’re never out of the game. Right. We’re seeing that right now. Every, you know, going back to the very beginning when we talked about Derek Chauvin, there was a poll today, over 60% of Americans are saying the police are racist and they need to be scrutinized more heavily on every major. I mean, Biden is 59 to 38 in the latest Pew poll. Right. Those are numbers Trump never, never hit 50%. So the Democratic Party has big majorities on like what is it, two thirds of Americans say, yeah, tax everybody over 400 million. 400,000, right. This is this is the democratic.

SP: [00:42:00] And corporations.

BB: [00:42:01] And corporations. Yeah. These are they’re the Washington generals of politics. And that was clearly the case then. And in 1980, it was just a they got destroyed. And that’s kind of a segue, unless you have something else. We could talk about Carter’s foreign policy, which is that’s the basis of the article I wrote last November. Jimmy Carter’s a liberal saying I was a war criminal then. And it’s my field. It’s the area I study more closely, although I kind of anything after any any aspect of American politics, especially in the 20th century and onward. I think Scott and I that’s our wheelhouse. Liberalism, political economy, things like that. We are I think I think people say we’re the best political podcast ever as well.

SP: [00:42:41] So I’m pretty you’ve definitely made it into the top 10% of all podcast, right? Right. Or at least in the top 10%.

BB: [00:42:47] Watch out, Watch out, Chop. We’re coming for you. We are coming for Chapo, man. And we’re much more interesting.

SP: [00:42:53] We’re much more interesting.

BB: [00:42:55] Donate. That’s right, man. This is our stop, Chapo. Campaign. Right. Or don’t.

SP: [00:42:59] Anti hipsters.

BB: [00:43:00] The anti hipsters campaign. We are too old to be hipsters, right? But well, I am you.

SP: [00:43:07] We’re more like hipsters, not hipsters.

BB: [00:43:08] Hipsters. In honor of our executive producer and the champion of the working class are our friend Hep, who we’re going to have to have on a show at some point again, Anyway, I don’t want to go into great detail on this, but Carter’s foreign policy fit within that new, reinvigorated Cold War framework. Remember, Richard Nixon went to China, right? Nixon, who had been like a hardcore cold warrior, came, you know, became a senator based on his attachment to McCarthyism and all that kind of rhetoric When he ended the Vietnam War, for what it was worth, blew the hell out of Cambodia, Laos, in Vietnam. But he but he also entered the war. He created that detente. Right. You know, to to to create these relationships with with both the Soviet Union and China in order to kind of break there never was that communist bloc. But he break out. He also used it against Vietnam. And then, you know, he had actually come to an agreement with the Soviet Union on nuclear weapons, the Strategic Arms Limitation talks, and then was in negotiations for another even more rigorous cutback on nuclear weapons. Salt, too. And salt, too, was in the works when Watergate happened. And then Ford picked it up. And that’s when if we ever do issue on the Committee for the Present Danger, we can talk about their role in scuttling salt to basically American military contractors, defense intellectuals, People in the military were were afraid that if you start reducing nuclear weapons, you’re not going to have as much business.

BB: [00:44:45] Right. One of the things that Nixon did after Vietnam, because defense spending went down so dramatically, was really pump up arms sales, which is why, like Iran got, you know, $19 Billion in Weapons in just the four or five year period. So Jimmy Carter became President Carter even before Reagan. We usually talk about Reagan in the new Cold War. It actually is before that. So Jimmy Carter is to the right of the previous administration. And in fact, during one of the debates in 1976, Carter debated Gerald Ford. And this is like one of the big moments that Ford was considered to have blown it. They were talking about Eastern Europe. And Gerald Ford said during a debate, Carter said that this administration, he was attacking Ford from the right, which is what Kennedy did to Nixon in 1960 on Cuba, Jimmy Carter said that Nixon Ford administration has been soft on communism, right? They have allowed the Soviet Union to dominate Poland and Czechoslovakia and all these countries. Jerry Ford, in response said, I don’t think you can say that the countries of Eastern Europe are dominated by the Soviet Union. In fact, he’s right. I mean, they’re clearly under the there was more autonomy and more flexibility in those Eastern European regimes than than the US media portrayed. Right. It was more than just a boot that was there. But Brezhnev wasn’t Stalin and the.

SP: [00:46:09] Us and more that’s taught in public schools.

BB: [00:46:12] Yeah, yeah, yeah. So. So Ford really wasn’t that far off. Carter pounced on that, and that was really big because Ford like that was like a really body blow to Gerald Ford. So Carter scored mega points by attacking Ford from the right and being this anti so Carter staking out a position far to the right of Nixon. So just let that sink in for a minute. Justice Kennedy did in 1960 on things like.

SP: [00:46:38] Cuba and and and the Republicans after Carter never. Maybe arguably in more recent times, never let the Democrats get to the right of them again on such things.

BB: [00:46:50] Yeah, although they tried.

SP: [00:46:51] Yeah, they tried.

BB: [00:46:54] Yeah. And I think that’s the one weird thing about Trump, right? You have all these these liberals now who have become big advocates of Naito and they hate Russia and they hate China. And, you know, Russia and China are clearly autocratic. I mean, China’s I think China is actually a fascist state. People have to throw that word around. China is far more fascist than anything you’ll you’ve seen in the US with the way that corporations are run in the States, run and all that kind of stuff. At any rate, so Carter did that. Now let’s just give some examples of that and we can just do it. And if you’re interested, you can go read the whole article that afflict the comfortable dot org and just do a search. That’s what we’re.

SP: [00:47:31] Going to put it in the show notes as.

BB: [00:47:32] Well. Put on this one, too. All right. So you want to just kind of go by the order in which it’s structured there. We can start with like Indonesia, and I assume you have it opened or, you know. Um.

SP: [00:47:44] Why don’t you. Why don’t you start? Okay.

BB: [00:47:47] And I just did it based on kind of some of the key elements of of Carter’s foreign policy. I did not include Iran because that’s kind of what and I didn’t really clue to Israel because it’s only after he became president, it became so critical of Israel, which I think he should be absolutely lauded for. It’s really remarkable to use the word apartheid in a title of a book about Israel is is really, really something for for somebody who had been president of the United States. You’re not going to hear that very often. I mean, look at AOC. The way she stumbles and jibber jabber is when they ask her about Israel. Right. So I want to start with Indonesia and East Timor, which we’ve talked about before, and we’re going have a show on that coming forward. I’m reading this amazing book right now called Buried Histories about the Indonesian massacres in the Sixties. So Americans know a bit about that. When we interviewed Clinton Fernandez about Noam for for our Chomsky birthday spectacle, which is done quite well, by the way, he talked a lot about Indonesian Timor because Clinton is an advocate and a scholar in Australia who studies this very closely. There’s this idea that the US looked away in Indonesia while they slaughtered people in East Timor. Tens of thousands. That’s true. It’s true. And Jimmy Carter was a big part of that.

BB: [00:49:01] Timor was an ex Portuguese colony that Indonesia wanted to annex. You know, Timor wanted independence. The Carter administration supported, supported and provided heavy aid, military, financial and diplomatic to Jakarta. So that kind of whole Jakarta method thing that all these people and the stuff we’re going to talk about, the book I’m reading is actually better than the Jakarta method. It’s called Buried History by John Russo. But Carter was a big advocate and an important piece in that what we would call the Jakarta method today. Indonesian troops in East Timor were armed roughly 90% with our equipment. One Department of State report acknowledged. So the Indonesians were killing the Timorese with American made weapons, which is unfortunately going to be kind of one of the themes of of the Carter years as the Indonesian were running out of military material. Carter authorized additional arms sales of $112 million just in 1978. And since Walter Mondale was the kind of genesis of this set Mondale to Jakarta to announce these new arms sales and continued to deny throughout that the situation in East Timor was dangerous. So Carter had a huge role to play in the slaughter and the massacre and the denial of sovereignty to East Timor, and that led to a bloodbath that would continue. Until when did the Timorese get independence?

SP: [00:50:40] I can’t remember in 2000.

BB: [00:50:42] Yeah, I’ve written about it too. I have a piece, another piece on my blog about that. It was on December 7th, 1975, I think was the invasion. Right? And so Carter was president during most of that time.

SP: [00:50:54] So. So the occupation lasts 25 ish years.

BB: [00:50:57] Yeah, yeah, yeah. And the US support throughout US supported it through it.

SP: [00:51:00] Was in 99. It was 99 when. Yeah, I think so. It finally got in.

BB: [00:51:03] And there were massacres and these were all heavily subsidized by, by Washington DC, by Jimmy Carter and by Bill Clinton. You know, if you want to talk about Democrats, Clinton Clinton was on board just just as well. Angola.

SP: [00:51:19] Oh, yeah. I was going to take that one.

BB: [00:51:21] Oh, go ahead. Yeah. Just as I was going to I was throwing it to you, actually.

SP: [00:51:25] So sorry. Missed our cues there.

BB: [00:51:27] But I didn’t know we had any.

Speaker1: [00:51:29] Yeah.

SP: [00:51:32] Yeah. Southwest Africa, Angola and South Africa. Carter continued US policy and supporting the apartheid regime in South Africa. There had been a marxist government had taken over in Angola and there was actually a. A reactionary rebel front called UNITA, which was led by a pretty notable figure named Jonas of NB and who basically wage war from South Africa against the Marxist government, Angola. Kind of going back to the Nixon Kissinger triangulation is the US actually works with makes a deal with the Chinese send 800 tons of military equipment to support UNITA but lots of battles that included air attacks, raids on refugee camps, a massacre at Kaziranga in 1978 in which US backed forces killed 800 people. I also want to note that the Internet there was the sort of triangulation going on here is that the Marxist governments actually backed by the Soviet Union, and that is where they get a lot of their supplies. And it also included an international brigade of international fighters which were Cuban who actually went and fought. You need to with the Marxist government for many years. And we’re going to talk a little bit about Cuba as well by the end of this episode.

BB: [00:52:56] Yeah, and Cuba, we need to do another show there because in the 1970s especially and I talked I was talking about this recently because Raul Castro stepped down. So there’s not a Castro now in official position in the Communist Party or in the government of Cuba. The Cubans were part of that solidarity that they called a tri continental. You know, the US had the Trilateral Commission for the four for the left that was tri continental ism. And the Cubans were really active in Angola. They were vital to the liberation. Angola finally did gain its independence, and Cuban troops played a huge role in that. The famous battle of Carnival. And I’ve written about that. There’s actually I have a blog on that just you can do a search on or we can put it in the show notes or you can do a search on it. But and the important piece to this, which I can’t stress enough, because we’re going to talk about it in a second with our next the next thing we talk about is the United States is working with China. Right. Mao died, I think, in 1975. So Deng Xiaoping took over and began this. Mao would have called him a capitalist roader. Right. And also kind of reoriented China’s foreign policy. So the United States and the Chinese were working very closely now, and they were on the same side. Savimbi had once been a maoist. Savimbi was a brutal terrorist thug. Right. The US is supporting him, as is China.

BB: [00:54:29] And the United States and China are coordinating support to essentially the South Africa. I mean, the US and China were both supporting this apartheid regime in southern Africa, not just in South Africa itself, but also in in Angola and Namibia and throughout the southern part of the continent. So Jimmy Carter, who’s obviously has these great ideas about race and everything else, was defending very I mean, more than defending arming the apartheid regimes in in those places. Right. Which is what? And that’s the point. Carter is a great guy, but this is what American presidents do, right? I mean, if Carter had said, you know, we’re going to support the the MPLA, we’re going to support the Marxist, we’re never you know, he would have been like they would have invoked the 25th Amendment on him. You know, you can you can incite a riot and get away with it. Right. They’re getting away. They’ve gotten away with it. Right. But if you were to do that, people would think you’re robots or so as my people would say. All right. Speaking of China, that leads to the area that I actually know best, which is Vietnam. And Vietnam War was over right by the time Jimmy Carter became president. But that did not mean that America’s relationships or American policies with that region, Indochina, were not important. In fact, in one of Carter’s first press conferences in 1977, somebody asked him if the United States should make reparations to Vietnam, if the United States should do something to help Vietnam because of all the intense and immense destruction.

BB: [00:56:17] Vietnam was is about the size of New Mexico and had how many million tons of bombs dropped on it, 15 million refugees just devastated. And Carter said no. And his his reasoning is, to me, chilling. He said the destruction was mutual, the destruction. That’s how Jimmy Carter looked at the Vietnam War. The destruction was mutual. The US invaded Vietnam. The US killed 2 to 3 million Vietnamese. The United States. I mean, to this day in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, over 10,000 people a year die still from unexploded bombs from that war. And for Jimmy Carter, the United States owed the Vietnamese nothing because the destruction was mutual, which is utterly chilling. I think he continued to go after the new government. The Viet Nam was renamed the RV, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. And remember 1975 next door. There had been a revolution. There have been revolutions in all three of the countries of Indochina, Laos, Cambodia, Kampuchea and Vietnam at the same time. And they all came to power in late April 1975, literally within a week or ten days of each other. And the most brutal regime was in Kampuchea, the Khmer Rouge. And you’ve been there so you can speak to it. And those pictures are utterly chilling, right? The Killing Fields. So the Khmer Rouge have this bizarre sense of communism led by Pol Pot, and.

SP: [00:57:44] They’re a maoist sect as well.

BB: [00:57:46] Yeah. And they I mean, just went on. I mean, I forget what the what was the overall population of Cambodia? Like six or 7 million or something like that. It wasn’t that big. And they killed perhaps a million people. Right. Just these like if you wore glasses, you were considered western. If you spoke French, you were considered Western. So they wanted to eliminate that. They were. I’ve met several years ago. Somebody was going through Houston and I met this this this older guy who was a musician. And when he was like ten years old, the Khmer Rouge killed his parents and gave him a gun. And he had to fight in the Khmer Rouge army right now. And remember, this comes on the heels of the American air war against Cambodia, which was highly destructive, too, which really laid the groundwork. The Khmer Rouge was kind of a splinter, not really that important until the United States started bombing the shit out of Cambodia and then really propelled the Khmer Rouge into power. So they’ve had these twin horrors as bad as anything really, in the 20th century. When you consider how small Cambodia was, the US attacks and then the Khmer Rouge. Right? And Carter and so the Vietnamese and you know, you can say, well, they did it. There are different. They’re different. They’ve never been the same type of communist. Right. The Vietnamese and the Cambodians right there. There had been tension there when Ho Chi Minh was still alive. So it was the Vietnamese who intervened to get rid of Pol Pot on the Khmer Rouge. Right. And it doesn’t, you know, to me, like the the motivation, whatever, if you want to use the phrase humanitarian intervention there, it’s that’s an Orwellian term. But if you’re going to use it, this is where you use it, because they did end the genocides.

SP: [00:59:34] The killing, the killing fields.

BB: [00:59:35] The killing fields in Cambodia. And what did Carter do? Carter talked to China. And and I’ve written an article about this, and we can put that in the notes, too, with in some detail about the United States and China in the late seventies. Carter in China in the late seventies because there’s documents on it now and and in January of 1979, less than a year after the Vietnamese had intervened to get rid of the Khmer Rouge, Carter was talking to Deng Xiaoping again and expressed his desire to punish Vietnam, to reduce aid to Hanoi as long as the Vietnamese are the invaders. Right. So he wants to set up a pretext. His his thing is Vietnam has invaded Cambodia. Right? But it got rid of this murderous regime that was destroying killing hundreds of thousand people. But but in Carter’s world, they’re the invaders. He’s talking to China. China and Vietnam have long been adversaries. Even though China supported Vietnam during the war, Carter increased military aid to Thailand to a group called ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and he got them all to unite against the government in Hanoi and warned the Soviet Union that if they continue to support Hanoi, that that would harm relations with the United States.

BB: [01:00:57] Carter is going full on Imperial Hawke here. I mean, this is war criminal stuff here. You’re supporting the Khmer Rouge. And then remember, when Reagan became president, Jeane Kirkpatrick went to the UN to defend the Khmer Rouge seat, saying the Khmer Rouge should hold this seat at the United Nations, not the the the government put into place by the the Vietnamese. Deng Xiaoping agreed and said some punishment in a short period of time. We’ll put a restraint on Vietnamese ambitions. The United States and the Chinese are trying to restrain Vietnam. This country has just been devastated by war, can’t get international lending. The United States. Nixon had a secret cortisol to give to the Vietnamese, I think two and one half billion dollars in reparations, which he said, Well, I’m not going to give it to him because they still have POWs, which is an utter lie. There are no POWs and MIAs that those flags are based on an utter lie there. Every public building in the United States.

SP: [01:01:54] It’s you know, it’s flies over the post office in Berkeley, California, today.

BB: [01:01:59] Yeah.

SP: [01:02:00] And that’s a propaganda campaign, a myth.

BB: [01:02:03] There’s a good book on that by Bruce Franklin, an outstanding scholar called MIA or Myth Making in America. And that’s from like Rambo and all those. Movies and all that stuff.

SP: [01:02:12] And Ross Perot.

BB: [01:02:13] Yeah. So Carter said that he understood that China wanted to get rid of Vietnam and invade, but he said an invasion of Vietnam would be very serious, serious, destabilizing force. Deng Xiaoping said, We have noted what you said to us, that you want us to be restrained. It is not that we did not consider this. We intend a limited action. Our troops will quickly withdraw. We’ll deal with it like a border incident. That’s not cryptic. Deng Xiaoping is telling Jimmy Carter that the Chinese are going to invade Vietnam. Carter doesn’t say anything. All right. That’s a green light. And in February of 1979, I don’t know how many people know this. This is like really important stuff that more people need to know. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops in February of 1979 attacked along the Vietnamese border and invaded Vietnam. The incursion only lasted about a month because the Vietnamese basically kicked their ass. Don’t mess with Vietnam, right? It was costly. The Chinese had about 25,000 or more killed. The Vietnamese probably more than that. Financially, however, the toll was great. And this is the when you talk about Vietnam after the war, the financial burden, it’s not just of not getting international lending, but of occupying Cambodia in a fight against the Vietnamese was really immense. And I mean, there’s a great deal of criticism that the Vietnamese government from Van Dong and others deserved. They they mishandled winning very badly. And Gabriel Kolko has written a great book about this called Anatomy of a Peace. But the burden of fighting against China after the intervention was was was huge. And Carter was a huge part. The main force behind that. Carter greenlit the attack on Vietnam because of the intervention, the humanitarian intervention in Cambodia, and and then worked with the Chinese to physically invade Vietnam. And and the Vietnamese economy never really recovered from that until it started this kind of heavy duty capitalist demos, which was kind of like what Gorbachev’s Gorbachev was.

SP: [01:04:31] Was perestroika is the Vietnamese perestroika.

BB: [01:04:33] It’s a market oriented thing. So they basically abandoned socialism. They abandoned the people who had won the war, the labor and the veterans and things like that. So it’s it’s a it’s a sad story. Like all around.

SP: [01:04:46] Doi is in perestroika, essentially.

BB: [01:04:50] Pretty much the.

SP: [01:04:50] Same thing. Deregulation, neoliberalism.

BB: [01:04:53] Yeah. Now the the I think the last thing on this or no, the next last and I can point to the flag behind me which I’ve had up there for a while now. A friend of mine brought this back in 1984. To Managua. And it’s a flag of for the Sandinista government there, the Fsln, which they’re in power today, but they’re a lot different. And let’s just leave it at that than they were then. But the Fsln came to power against Jimmy Carter’s wishes, did it not?

SP: [01:05:25] Oh, yeah, absolutely. One real quick thing I want to just kind of point back to is when we began the episode, we talked about the Trilateral Commission and we talked about these global frameworks that spans Western Europe, North America and Japan. And so these machinations were the Carter administration is is doing grand strategic moves with the Chinese and Southwest Africa or Vietnam or Cambodia and a number of other places. Is is that’s part of the plan. And the the thought that what’s coming from the liberal internationalist wing of the global elite, which is the represented in the Trilateral Commission, is like that’s what’s happening here is like we don’t commit US troops per se to South West Africa or Vietnam. We are supporting people who we perceive as our friend under these certain circumstances. And I actually think it’s a Chinese army from Sun Tzu is like the enemy of my enemy is my friend, which is essentially part I mean, that’s a real simple way of kind of talking about why the US developed relations with the Chinese.

BB: [01:06:34] And let me let me just throw one thing in there, too, because when the Trilateral Commission was established, it was really about Japan. In Asia, no one foresaw what would happen after Mao died. So, you know, the the entreaties and the cooperation between the United States and Beijing was was insane. Like that was unbelievable. And that was a huge bonus for these people who had kind of created this idea. You know, like the the Trilateral Commission is like the Council on Foreign Relations or something like that. It’s these guys and, you know, no. One in 1973, no one could have said, oh, you know, six years from now we’re going to be cooperating with China to to support apartheid and and attack Vietnam. Right.

SP: [01:07:20] A genocide in Cambodia and genocide can’t.

BB: [01:07:23] Right. Right. So this is I mean, if you want to kind of I don’t like giving moral evaluations of foreign policy because I just don’t see any point to it. But these are evil motherfuckers. They really are.

SP: [01:07:35] So, yeah. And so the next little theatre of operations, I guess we could say, is is going to be in the US’s own backyard, which is Nicaragua. And we had a recent episode with Professor Phil Berriman, former priest, talking about his experience as both a priest and Central America in the seventies and then as an activist with the American Friends Service Committee. But we, you know. Not enough Reagan gets. Reagan is very attached to the bloody wars in Central America in the eighties. And frankly, I think Bob and I would both agree that not enough people talk about that. But then Carter also talking about how the Carter administration policies were a prelude to what Reagan did is like. Carter was also. A player in what happened in Nicaragua. And while the Contra War and US destruction in Nicaragua, in other parts of Central America is mostly a product of the Reagan administration, Carter sets the stage for that for later in the summer of 1979, when when the Sandinista revolution made its final push to take over Managua and depose the dictator Somoza, they were actually part of a large popular front group, which was a whole bunch of different components.

SP: [01:08:59] The Carter administration, which actually supported throwing out Somoza because he was such a brutal dictator, basically didn’t like that it was being led by Soviet backed communists, the Sandinistas, and. Pushed for moderate positions, actually led to led to kind of splitting them up, up splitting up of that coalition, which was created a whole lot of problems. And. Basically when the the Sandinistas front the Fsln, they’re on Bob’s wall. You can see if you’re watching this on YouTube. Took over in July of of 1979 and they began receiving aid from other socialist states, most notably the Soviet Union. Carter authorized the CIA to begin to support resistance forces in Nicaragua, which is the the genesis of the Contra war. And so. There’s a lot of popular media and most notably in the film Salvador Bye bye Oliver Stone that Carter Actually the Carter administration was doing the right thing. In many ways, because before the before the Reagan people came in. But Carter is actually very responsible for a lot of the bloodshed that happened in Central America during the eighties as well.

BB: [01:10:18] When I tell liberals that Carter created the Contras, they just they’re an utter like they get angry. I it’s like I can show you document I have I’ve shown the documents you know and it doesn’t matter. One thing I want to say, though, because we also did the show about the nuns, remember, in December, to Carter’s credit, he’s the first person who kind of established human rights as as an issue in American foreign policy, actually created an assistant secretary of state for human rights, Pat Darian. And when we talked about El Salvador, like Robert White was really outspoken about the regime there and the death squads and Doby song and things like that. So Carter did have that in him. And like in Argentina, he played a role in ending the the dirty war there, you know, and the disappeared And in Argentina they speak very well of him. So I don’t want to again you know, like he’s he’s not like individually in his heart. I’m sure he’s a great guy. He’s kind and caring and he’s certainly done amazing things since he’s left the White House. But he was an American president, you know, and and and that’s and all of that that that entails. So the last things we’re going to do because this has gone on. But it’s good stuff. It’s really good stuff are kind of two of his longest lasting legacies which are Iraq and Afghanistan. And we can just have a kind of conversation on this. When I teach toward the end of the semester, usually the last semester, I do a really long, long background or on the United States in the Middle East as kind of a prelude to why 911 happened. Kind of I set it up that way.

SP: [01:11:52] And we had an episode on that as.

BB: [01:11:53] Well. Oh yeah, that’s right. 4911. Yeah, we did. Which we can we can have an encore next year on 901. And when I talk about Iraq and Afghanistan, the students, this is the one time one. But this is clearly one of the times during the semester where they’re like jolted, right? Because, you know, Iraq and Afghanistan, the way we look at them now, Iraq, I’m not sure how much is there. The United States had supported the Baathists. You know, they helped them overthrow the government in 1963. They had kind of a tenuous relationship with them. For a time, Henry Kissinger was sending money to the Kurds to overthrow Saddam Hussein, but then realized that that wasn’t going to happen. So we withdrew aid. And I basically tell the story because it’s one of my favorite Kissinger quotes when they asked him why he was no longer supporting the Kurds, he said covert operations is not the missionary work. And then Saddam went in in gas.

SP: [01:12:50] Is that like a Kissinger impression you’re trying to do there?

BB: [01:12:53] Yeah, it wasn’t it was that wasn’t it obvious?

SP: [01:12:55] It was a little subtle.

BB: [01:12:56] Okay. I’m not I’m not a ventral. I can talk. I can give you. If it was an Italian accent, I could have done it a lot better. But he also said that what was it then? Chile as a dagger aimed at them, aren’t they? Right. We are not. We are not going to let Chile go socialize due to the stupidity of its own voters. And this guy was dating Jill Saint John. I don’t get it, you know, Anyway, in Iraq. The Islamic revolution in Iran made Iraq a lot more important, and Iraq and Iran had all kinds of disputes over the shot Arab waterway and borders and different types of Islam and stuff like that anyway. There is no documentary evidence of it, but there’s like a lot of heavy duty innuendo and speculation and stories that in 1980, Carter’s people talked to Saddam Hussein and essentially green lit his attack on Iran. Remember, 1980, a brutal, long, bloody war between Iraq and Iran began. And the United States, which would in the 1990s call Saddam Hussein the new Hitler and talk about WMDs and all the horrible things he was going to do in the 19 in 1980 when Jimmy Carter was still president. Iraq, with heavy American support, invade Iran. And throughout that eight or nine years of war got like $40 billion of of aid from the United States. So this green light, the US green lit, the war is still kind of speculative, but it is clear that the Reagan program to support Baghdad did not emerge just out of nowhere. Right. So there’s that. And then Afghanistan, I think, is the big one where Carter’s Cold War talents really came out. Do you want to. Talk about that.

SP: [01:15:00] Yeah, just that, you know, Carter took a. Well, just to back up, I mean, and this is what we talk about in the episode of around 9/11 is that there was had been a Soviet intervention after a. A marxist government was established. And so and and there was internal dispute over that between the what we later would call the Mujahideen and the new Marxist government. So the Soviets actually staged an intervention. The right people on the right in the US would call it an invasion, but it was like an intervention supporting the government.

BB: [01:15:40] And so just let me say one thing. And when that happened in the pages of the New York Times, George Frost Cannon wrote an op ed saying, This is none of America’s business. This is part of the Soviet Union sphere. The government they overthrew is actually far more extreme and far more right wing than the government they put into power. And Kennan said, stay the hell out.

SP: [01:16:04] So. Right. And going against the ruling class in which he had been a part of and had supported for decades before that or. Decades for decades. And so what happens is that Carter takes a harder line there. Right. And so he he begins funding the Mujahideen, kind of like the way he began funding the Contras around Nicaragua. But then he also on the international stage of what I would call the public relations stage or how things are perceived. You know, Carter boycotts the 1980 Olympics, which were scheduled to happen in Moscow. He dramatically increased military spending in 1984, the 1980 1981 budget, which becomes another prologue for the for the for the Reagan administration of of increased military budgets. And then, like I said, they they began they support in a really strong way. Uh. The mujahedeen, which is the resistance against the Soviet intervention and the Marxist government in Kabul, and one of the sort of main groups of people they begin to to recruit for this are the hard line Islamic fundamentalists, which Reagan continues. This probably puts even more money into. It leads to the rise of al Qaeda, for example, which are foreign foreign fighters who are from other parts of the Middle East, who come most notably Osama bin Laden. And then the only the only other thing I’ll say is that Brzezinski actually went to the Pakistan Afghan border. This is his national security advisor and told the mujahideen fighters that God is on their side and that.

BB: [01:17:54] We should have cued that up. And although we played it in the 911 and we’ll put that into. Yeah, that’s an amazing video.

SP: [01:18:02] Oh.

BB: [01:18:04] Go ahead. Sorry. Go ahead.

SP: [01:18:05] The only other thing I’ll say is that this is what led to both the creation of al Qaeda and the Taliban.

BB: [01:18:09] Which are so our.

SP: [01:18:11] Mortal enemies of the US.

BB: [01:18:13] That’s that’s like the United States supported Saddam Hussein. Well, it created the Contras. Carter supported Saddam Hussein in 1980 and then later turned on him. Right. And then helped create. And Carter, this is Jimmy Carter helped create al Qaeda and Taliban. The the Brzezinski video is really striking. He lands in a helicopter. He’s on the near the, I think, Kashmir. Right. And then he he’s talking to these fundamentalist Muslims. And he said that that’s your country. Those are your mosques. You will return there because God is on your side. So when the United States says fundamentalist Islam is our enemy and it’s a clash of civilizations, and speaking of clash of civilizations, another person who’s really important in the Trilateral Commission was Sam Huntington. And if you don’t know who Sam Huntington is, you should. He was one of the hardcore like people like Kissinger and Brzezinski, you know, became political appointees. And they held positions Huntington didn’t. But they all came out of academia, academics, Right. Harvard, especially Huntington was called Mad Dog Sam. He’s the guy who believed that you should, like, go in and just destroy urban areas in Vietnam to get rid of the Vietcong. So it’s he’s a bad guy, too, so.

SP: [01:19:24] Harvard professor.

BB: [01:19:25] Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, this idea that it’s a class of civilizations or that Muslims are the enemies, it’s insane, because that’s who the United States was funding in, in, in. That’s what Jimmy Carter was funding against, you know, And now he is a big supporter of Palestinian rights and so on. But, you know, the overall point, I think, is is well made. Now, I think you wanted to also finish by talking a little bit about the Marriott. Was it married the Marriott ethos in Cuba or.

SP: [01:19:54] The last thing I’ll say and this is sort of bridges, bridges, domestic and foreign policy is that in Cuba in 1980, there was a an insurrection around a lot of Cubans who wanted to flee Cuba for whatever reasons they had. They’re related to people who had already fled Cuba. You know, there’s a lot of there’s a lot of politics and a lot of propaganda around Cuba and Castro and being, you know, under an under a socialist government. And so this insurrection starts and it leads to this sort of like noted episode called the Mary Alito Boatlift, where tens of thousands of Cubans were. Castro opened up the gates and said, if you don’t want to be here, you don’t have to stay.

BB: [01:20:41] He kind of called their bluff.

SP: [01:20:43] Yeah, Yeah. Hundreds, hundreds of hundreds of boats left South Florida in a very unsanctioned sort of way by the US government and began bringing in Cubans, Cubans back by the many, many full boats. And there were boats that were not really shouldn’t have made that trip. And some sank and people died and things like that. Castro also, it’s noted he he also opened up the prisons and sent people who had been in prison. He sent political dissidents. He opened up the mental institutions and just kind of like let all those folks to go in. And the Carter administration, where we’ve talked about most of these episodes, have been, you know, intentional, intentional policy to try and undermine Marxist governments, etc.. Carter wasn’t actually didn’t do that as effectively against Castro. And Castro actually played the game a little better than he did. And so the Mia Alito boatlift, which was like one of many exodus of Cubans fleeing, fleeing the socialists in Castro, mostly because they were his political enemies. It also creates this state of disarray in Florida, but also other parts of the US. And it’s one of the it was another undermining factor, much like Iran, another undermining factor for the Carter administration in 1980.

BB: [01:22:02] And helped give rise to Miami Vice and Scarface.

SP: [01:22:06] And one one thing that people don’t know is they actually put them, many of them, in refugee camps and even like jails and detention centers throughout the US, particularly in the south. And they had actually put one in Arkansas. And the the Cuban refugees actually staged a riot, which undermined the first term of an Arkansas governor that we know as lovingly as Bill Clinton these days. And he actually lost reelection that year because of the Mary Alito boatlift in the Carter policy.

BB: [01:22:37] Clinton lost. Yeah. No, he ran for Congress, too, and lost. Yeah.

SP: [01:22:41] Yeah. And then Clinton, he stages a comeback and that’s where he becomes the comeback kid.

BB: [01:22:45] But yeah. Well, again, the point isn’t to just say Jimmy Carter is a horrible, evil war criminal, although he as president was a horrible, evil war criminal. I mean, I think what what’s striking is we tend to focus on individuals. And the idea here is Carter is is a decent human, as decent a human as the ruling class will ever produce. Probably. So. That’s not how you become president. That’s how he become a governor. That’s not how the Trilateral Commission notices you. And I think it’s, again, going back to this idea of important the importance of understanding structures, of the way the ruling class operates and and how no matter what your intentions are, you kind of fit into this framework. So like today when lefties, you know, are bashing Biden, I mean, I’m not saying they should. And my point is that Joe Biden is Joe Biden. He he’s been who he is for 40 years. And so, you know, being angry at him for being Joe Biden, I’m not sure. You know, I mean, that’s who he is. You know, today I saw one of the leftists and going off about how horrible his foreign policy is. And it’s just like Trump’s. And I’m like, what? What did you what were you expecting? You know, it’s like when people get mad because he wouldn’t say defund the police. I was like, you think he’s going to come out and say, burn, baby, burn. I mean, this is this is who these people are.

BB: [01:24:15] You know, the fact that Bernie Sanders was considered too far out there, I should tell you a lot, because Bernie Sanders is essentially a Carter, mondale, Dukakis, Gephardt, liberal. There’s not much difference in that other than national health care. Right. And Teddy Kennedy actually had a national health care plan. So, Carter, you know, that’s I think that’s important to understand as as decent and good a human being as Jimmy Carter is and probably was didn’t matter. It didn’t matter at all once you get into that. System of government, that system of power, once you become part of that ruling class now, and that’s why we’ve been talking about it so much. The ruling class can be reformist or ruling class can be progressive. The ruling class is in a moment right now where it’s understanding how badly neoliberalism. And then in the last four years, Trump has destabilized this system and they are now acting as as a counterbalance to that. On the Georgia voting laws and all the stuff we’ve been talking about for over a year that the media and the left media has suddenly discovered in the last three weeks. We’ve been talking about it for for forever since we started. So I think it’s a lesson worth knowing. And Carter Carter, it’s it validates the correct history, which is important. You have to know your history. But it also I think it says a lot about just kind of the nature of of American political society.

SP: [01:25:38] Yeah.

BB: [01:25:39] So.

SP: [01:25:41] Folks, you have been listening to Bob and Scott go on about Jimmy Carter and many other things. You have been listening to the Green and Red podcast. We love talking about the stuff. We particularly love our history episodes, which is why this one’s probably been almost 90 minutes. But it’s an important period that to be considered, particularly as we’re going forward in into the Roaring Twenties here. But we will be back with a new episode really soon, even after this one. We have many we have many great episodes lined up. And so if you want to support that and you want to make sure that we continue to have great episodes, even with some of the most notable left thinkers in history or in recent history, please go to our Patreon page and become a patron patron backslash Green Red podcast or make a one time donation at Green and Red podcast dot org and hit that support button and then follow us on all of our social media channels. All of the channels, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, You will see this video on YouTube. And if you’re watching it on YouTube, hit subscribe just to help us out. And then we have a medium page, which we haven’t actually put anything new on in a while, but I’m sure that we’ll be putting up some new content before too long. And just want to thank everybody out there for listening to us and supporting us. And I hope you all have a good day. Stay safe. Go raise a lot of hell. See you in the streets.

About buzzanco

Historian, Agitator, Sicilian
This entry was posted in Foreign Policy, History, Imperialism, Liberals, Military, Uncategorized, Vietnam, War. Bookmark the permalink.

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