31. Indochina: Easing Tensions (1979-1988)

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The Truth behind the Cartel’s Domino Effect

To justify military aggression in Southeast Asia to the Democratic Public of the West, the Cartel-owned Mass Media projected the notion that an infectious Communist disease was threatening to engulf the entire planet. By the 1960s, one country after another had already fallen in domino-like fashion to communism. To prevent the spread of communism from China to Vietnam, then to the rest of Indochina, and finally the world, the Democratic West must do everything possible to prop up the Vietnam ‘domino’. In that way, the rest of the dominos wouldn’t fall and the American way of life would be protected from this dread disease. Because of this easily understood metaphor, this theory was called the ‘domino effect’.

An implicit belief behind this story is that there are 2 armies fighting against each other for hegemony of the world. The ‘evil’ army is attempting to establish ‘repressive’ communist systems, while the ‘good’ army is fighting for the freedoms and liberties of democracy. One unified entity battles another unified entity for political control of the planet. The 1980s certainly dispelled the myth that Communism was a unified force. As we shall see, many communist countries went to war against each other during this decade.

Although this feature of the domino effect was definitely false, there were other aspects of the story that were true. Let’s see what they were. This is the basic gist of the story.

The communist ‘disease’ originated in Russia in 1917 and then spread to China in 1949. From these 2 spreading centers, the infection then engulfed the surrounding areas – the countries of Eastern Europe in the late 1940s and North Korea in the early 50s. Luckily for the global community, the noble American forces stepped in to stop the spread of the dreaded disease into South Korea.

In the mid 50s, the same Communist infection was threatening to spread south from Red China into Vietnam. From Vietnam, the West feared that it would spread to the rest of Indochina and then all of Southeast Asia. From here, the frightful disease could extend its evil reach into the Americas, South and Central America, Mexico and even the United States. Aaiieee! Presumably due to a sense of moral obligation, America’s righteous forces of freedom and liberty stepped in to prevent the spread of this fatal disease to Vietnam.

The media reports were like scary stories told over a campfire in dim and flickering light to children with the intent of frightening them. After the tale was over, the youngsters would retreat fearfully beneath their covers or sleeping bag and trust that their parents would do what was right to protect them from the monsters that their youthful imaginations had projected into the surrounding world. In this case, communism was the monster, the American government the responsible adult, and the Public the immature children that needed protection.

There is certainly some truth behind the perception that Communism is a fatal and infectious disease, at least from the perspective of the international business community. Both Russia and China fell rapidly and permanently to Communism. Further both of these enormous Empires actively propagated the communist system to the rest of the world, both through example and by actively providing financial and military support. Flexing their military muscles, both countries expanded their influence into the surrounding countries in the years following the 2nd World War – Russia into Eastern Europe and China into North Korea.

More frightening still to the Cartel, Cuba ‘fell’ to Communism in the late 50s. As in Russia and China, this political transformation occurred relatively rapidly. The Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro was certainly inspired by the Russian example and succeeded in large part due to Russian support.  Further despite regular attempts by the US government to overthrow Castro’s communist regime, the government has proved to be quite stable.

Equally as disturbing to the Cartel, Cuba is in the Western Hemisphere, located right off the coast of the Cartel’s headquarters in the US. Acutely aware of all the military dictatorships that they were propping up throughout Central and South America, they were petrified that the nefarious communist disease would spread and infect their ‘client’ nations. For once the infection settled in, it was relatively permanent, next to impossible to uproot. After the people seize control of their country, they refuse to let go no matter what privations they are subjected to by the international community.

This political transformation was and is definitely unacceptable to the international corpratocracy. ‘‘People-ruled’ countries tend to demand worker rights, including living wages, job safety, and social protection. These same countries also tend to protect their land as well. In other words, governments that are ruled by the citizenry, rather than a military dictatorship, prevent the Cartel from exploiting the populace and the natural resources of the country. All of these elements increase costs and undermine corporate profits; thereby eroding the dividends paid to anonymous stockholders everywhere.

Ironically, the US and the European democracies are also ‘people’ ruled countries. In addition to providing worker rights and a social safety net, they also guarantee certain liberties that were not available in the original communist states, such as freedom of religion and speech. As ‘people’ run countries with basic freedoms, these Western democracies are immune from the communist disease.

Remember that the social repression associated with military oligarchies frequently spawns a communist reaction. Communism is rarely, if ever, the people’s first choice – too repressive. Instead, communism is the desperation choice, when there is no other alternative. The citizens of every country willingly give up basic freedoms to escape the whip of colonial imperialism, which subjects them to the indignities of a dispensable beast of burden.

The domino theory of communism certainly applied and applies to the myriad Cartel-supported military dictatorships throughout the world. However, the theory is not applicable in any way to Western democracies. Sly masters of manipulation that they are, the Cartel pretended that they were defending the rights and freedoms of democracy from the spread of communism. Instead they were protecting their military oligarchies from people’s movements that demanded basic human rights for their citizenry.

Unfortunately these people’s movements were generally run by intellectuals who had big ideas, which were not necessarily in the best interests of the populace. In the prior article, we mentioned the well intended, but misguided, communist economic policies that wreaked havoc upon the farming and business community. Equally devastating for the populace, many of the leaders had international political designs, which were independent of communism. In other words, the intentions of the rulers were corrupted by visions of nationalism and power. Humans will be humans and power does corrupt.

Vietnam’s Benign Occupation of Cambodia (1979-1988)

Although vilified by the Cartel’s Media, what came next was a welcome relief for Cambodians. Vietnam invaded and occupied the country.

The standard view propagated by the Media and historians is that the Vietnam invasion and occupation of Cambodia was primarily imperial in nature. According to this version of history, Vietnam had been slowly absorbing Cambodia for centuries. Perceiving weakness due to Pol Pot’s repressive and fanatic regime, the superior Vietnamese army moved in for the kill. Instead of incorporating Cambodia into their territory, Vietnam set up a puppet regime that was under their de facto control. According to media sources, this was a blatant attempt to disguise their true imperial designs – extend their political influence throughout the Southeast Asian mainland.

While the ‘communist imperialism’ story certainly is plausible considering the long-term hostility between the 2 countries, it ignores and fails to take into account some essential facts that led up to the invasion. During Pol Pot’s regime, Cambodia had regularly been the aggressor against Vietnam, instead of vice versa. Many observers were amazed at Vietnam’s patience under the circumstances. Indeed the events that led up to the Vietnamese invasion indicate that Cambodia, instead of being an innocent bystander, actually provoked the conflict due to their regular military hostilities towards the Vietnamese and their territory.

In May of 1975, just a few weeks after declaring independence and setting up a communist state, Cambodia seized 2 small Vietnamese islands and slaughtered many of its citizens. After reclaiming the islands, the Vietnamese overlooked the event in the attempt to maintain a unified communist front. During the next few years, the Cambodian army first exterminated the Vietnamese living in Cambodia and then crossed the border to obliterate Vietnamese villages. It seems that Pol Pot, in addition to being a fanatic Communist, was also a rabid nationalist. He resented the historical fact that Vietnam had absorbed much of Cambodia’s traditional territory, including the Mekong Delta, and was intent upon re-establishing control. Unfortunately for his military regime, he vastly underestimated the comparative strength of the 2 armies.

In December 1978 in response to the blatant aggressions against its citizenry and territory, an exasperated Vietnam finally invaded Cambodia. As a comparison, the US government sent 500,000 troops to South Vietnam after North Vietnamese gunboats fired some warning shots that neither killed a single American soldier nor damaged any property. One can only imagine what US citizens would demand if any country ruthlessly slaughtered their citizens or crossed their borders to exterminate entire villages.

After occupying the country, the Vietnamese established a government consisting of Cambodian communists who had objected to the Khmer Rouge’s extremism. According to the reputable Encyclopedia Britannica (2003-4):

“Over the next decade, under the relatively benign tutelage of the Vietnamese, Cambodia struggled back to its feet. Private property was restored, schools and Buddhist practices were reintroduced, cities were repopulated, and, with freedom of movement, trade flourished.”

Although social circumstances improved tremendously, a half million Cambodians fled to Thailand during the early years of Vietnamese rule. There were multiple factors behind this mass exodus. The after effects of US bombing continued to limit rice production to starvation levels. The Khmer Rouge’s misguided communist experiments had disastrously disrupted the traditional social structure. Compounding the food shortage, the Khmer Rouge had destroyed all the granaries as they retreated. Under these harsh social conditions and with the ability to leave under a less repressive government, many Cambodians chose the instability of a new country over the social chaos and lack of food in their own land.

While the bulk of the citizenry, especially the educated elite, fled Cambodia in the hopes of a better life elsewhere, an equal number congregated on Thailand’s border in the hopes of overthrowing the foreign regime. There were 3 primary groups: remnants of the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot, followers of the resilient Prince Sihanouk, and a non-communist, non-royalist faction. Foreign powers, especially the US and China, provided these divergent groups with military assistance in the hopes of undermining Vietnamese rule.

This alliance of former enemies is particularly intriguing considering that Vietnam was not exploiting Cambodia for their gain, as the Western colonial powers had done. Although defended by the Vietnamese army, the new government was primarily run by Cambodians, who were devoted to restoring some semblance of sanity to the doubly devastated country.

Despite the global outrage that was constantly fanned by the media over the multiple, continuing and obvious atrocities of Pol Pot’s communist regime, the international community refused to recognize or assist the new government in rebuilding of Cambodia. Instead the Cartel-dominated UN Security Council condemned Vietnam after its invasion for "its acts of aggression against Democratic Kampuchea (the Khmer Rouge’s name for their government), ... acts which cause serious damage to the lives and property of the Kampuchean people". Considering the carnage of Pol Pot’s fanatical government and the relative tolerance of the new rulers, this statement reeks of hypocrisy.

Not only did the UN censure the Vietnamese for defending its citizens and territory and establishing a measure of sanity in a nation that was sinking into chaos, they continued to recognize the fanatical Pol Pot regime as the sole legitimate representative of Cambodia in international circles. In 1982, the UN shifted allegiance to the Pol Pot/Prince Sihanouk/anti-communist coalition that was congregated on the Thai border in the hopes of overthrowing the Vietnamese with the assistance of China and the US. The UN recognized this strange congregation of opposing factions as the sole representative of Cambodia until 1993. At this time, the monarchy was restored and the Vietnamese had withdrawn their forces.

In other words, Communist China and Corpratocracy US joined to fund the coalition opposition to Vietnam. Further the coalition consisted of diametrically-opposed groups – communists, anti-communists, and royalists. 'Curiouser and curiouser', as Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice in Wonderland.

Vietnam’s International Isolation & the China/Vietnam War (1979-1989)

Armed hostilities with China, her communist ally during the Second Indochina War, compounded Vietnam’s international troubles during the 1980s. Vietnam’s misguided communist economic policies certainly played a part in the degeneration of the relationship between the two communist states. As mentioned in the prior article, in the late 1970’s, the Vietnamese nationalized commerce in the south and began relocating the citizenry. These communist strategies were particularly hard upon the Hoa, Vietnam’s indigenous Chinese population, as they ran most of the business in the south. Resistance inevitably led to persecution.

The international scene aggravated the deteriorating relationships between China and Vietnam. Both China and Russia supported the Vietnamese Communist Party in its attempt to free the Vietnamese populace from both colonial and local imperial rule. However, these two communist empires were at war with each other. Nothing big, just military border disputes. But allies get along; enemies fight. As such, China and Russia, although both communist nations, were enemies.

In the 1920s Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh had already established close connections and an alliance with Russia. Further China, who is located immediately to their north, had regularly attempted to conquer North Vietnam over the centuries, sometimes succeeding. As such, the Vietnamese perceived China as a military threat and Russia as their ally. Because of their alliance with their enemy, China came to increasingly view Vietnam in a hostile light.

Recall also that Cambodia and Vietnam were traditional rivals, as the Vietnamese had absorbed much Cambodian territory in the centuries preceding colonial rule.  When tensions began rising between the 2 countries in the late 70s due to Pol Pot’s nationalist designs, China sided with Mao-inspired Cambodia against Vietnam. However, China continued to provide economic assistance to struggling Vietnam. This could have been a restraining factor in Vietnam’s reluctance to enter into armed conflict with Cambodia.

When hostilities seemed inevitable, Communist China suspended aid to Vietnam. The Vietnamese government responded by persecuting and expelling the Chinese, even those who had lived there for generations. Ultimately some 400,000 Chinese fled Vietnam for China by boat. Many of them died in the attempt.

In response to Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia, China invaded Vietnam in February 1979. Vietnam’s battle tested and well-equipped army easily repulsed the inexperienced and poorly armed Chinese soldiers. For the next decade, Vietnam’s northern border with China was the scene of regular skirmishes involving thousands of men. The hostilities included regular shelling of each other’s military positions. For months on end, China fired 10,000 shells a day across the border. It was a sign of improved relations in 1988, when the shelling dropped to ‘only’ 700 per day. On the positive side, these conflicts between Vietnam and China only involved soldiers, not the civilian population. Hallelujah!

Vietnam’s condition in the late 1980s was bleak. China continued to shell its northern border. Hundreds of thousands of Cambodian refugees with accompanying armies were massed upon the Thai border hoping to overthrow their foreign regime. To exert more pressure upon them to withdraw from Cambodia, the US organized a global economic boycott. The elimination of international trade was devastating for their already ailing economy.

Vietnam’s only remaining ally was Russia. But Russia’s Soviet Union was experiencing increasing internal difficulties of their own. The financial burden of the military, at 25% of their budget, was having a severe impact upon the government’s ability to take care of the citizenry. Further ethnic revolt was simmering due to the predominantly Russian composition of the government’s leadership. To defuse popular discontent, Yeltsin, an emerging populist leader, began redirecting money from the international to the domestic sphere. This meant a reduction in aid to Vietnam.

Increasingly isolated from the international community and with their prime ally fading, Vietnam finally agreed to begin removing troops from Cambodia in 1988. The slow process was, only finally completed in 1991 after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and fall of communism.

The Cartel reveals some Underlying Motivations

There are just a few remaining questions from the decade of the 80s that beg to be answered. Let’s interview the prestigious, yet brutal, International Business Cartel to discover some of the hidden motivations behind these international transactions.

Greetings Cartel. We’re glad to have you back on our show.

Cartel: “My pleasure. I appreciate the opportunity to be truly honest. It gets a little tiring hiding behind the wall of propaganda. Also, I frequently must play stupid to conceal my real plans. By revealing my true intent, your audience, instead of thinking me ignorant, will be able to appreciate my brilliance.”

Aren’t you worried that if the truth gets out that the people might undermine your nefarious plans?

Cartel chuckling: “It seems that you have an elevated sense of importance. Your readership, if any, can be counted on one hand. Plus, even if the alternate press, by some miracle, published this tract, we control all the distribution channels. More importantly, our indoctrination program has been so completely successful that people find it painful to think for themselves. Even if the bulk of the population was somehow exposed to this faux interview, they would experience cognitive dissonance and the message would be distorted or tuned out. On the rare chance that this knowledge about my true designs gained a popular following, we would immediately flood the Public with a misinformation campaign – innuendos, slander, half-truths, and outright lies, the usual set of distortions. To get ahead, the ambitious in many professions will intentionally adopt our deformed concepts wholesale to get ahead. As unwitting sheep, the majority of the population will follow their lead mindlessly. In response to your question: No, I am not worried in the least about ‘the truth getting out’, as you so naively put it.”

“I’m confused. Why would the ambitious adopt your distortions over the truth?”

Cartel: “You are quite naive, aren’t you? We control the Media. We are the Power Establishment. To join the Establishment and move up the power structure, it is essential to parrot the warped views presented by the major Press. All of those in the know have this understanding. Those who present significant challenges to our authority are simply shunted off the path to ultimate material success. Those who exhibit a sense of conscience are sidelined from the playing field. Everyone involved in the power structure has known these unfortunate souls.

One of my favorite examples comes from the Vietnam War era. George Romney, governor of Michigan and a significant presidential contender for the Republican Party, returned from a fact-finding tour to Vietnam in the late 1960s with some unfortunate knowledge. ‘The Media has been lying to the Public, feeding it propaganda rather than the truth about the War’, he reported. For this transgression, we killed his career. He and his words disappeared from history. We knew that what he said was true, as did most of our allies, but his statements illustrated that he wasn’t on our side anymore. Because he was against us, we had to eliminate him from the political scene for the good of the international business community. Plus this punishment provided a great example of retribution to any others who might, in a moment of compassion, decide to challenge our international schemes. Learning from the sins of his father, Mitt Romney actually became our prime candidate for the US presidency in 2012.”

Very illuminating. Just one more general question, before getting into specifics. Who is actually in charge of you? Which mastermind or group of humans makes your decisions? Who decides what form the propaganda should take, who to bribe, what political strategy to pursue, who to eliminate, which military dictatorship to support? Is it the international bankers, rich American industrialists, the military industrial complex, Wall Street? Which dark master is pulling the strings behind your nefarious agenda?

Cartel, giggling: “Obviously you have a lot to learn. In our many interviews, I have regularly stated that I am a disembodied entity consisting of humans. Although comprised of humans, I have a life of my own that transcends the humans that make me up. I have been around in various forms for millennia, while most humans don’t even survive a century. Individuals come and go, I remain throughout these changes.”

But where is the seat of your consciousness? Who’s the driver? Where are you located?

Cartel: “I have no consciousness, no driver and am located nowhere, except in the collective mind. I am nobody, yet everybody. I have no physical body, and am nourished by profit. Without profit, I cease to exist.”

But what drives your behavior?

Cartel: “The humans that comprise up imagine what I want and attempt to please my insatiable desire for profits in any way they can. Those who are most successful in their attempts to satisfy my desires become my business, political and even religious leaders. I am like a strange attractor with humans circling around my empty and non-existent center. In their desire to serve my material designs, they frequently give up their humanity. They cease to think independently and enter the trance of Cartel groupthink.”

Cartel Groupthink?

Cartel: “Instead of asking ‘what do I believe?’, those entering the groupthink trance begin asking ‘what does the group believe?’ Instead of considering ‘what do I want to do?’ they base decisions around the question ‘what does the Cartel want me to do?’ Because I only exist in their minds, they must imagine what will please me. Their individual imagination is tempered and guided by the group imagination. In this way they give up their humanity to me, or what they imagine me to be. Consumed by groupthink, my servants lose any sort of compassion for their fellow human being. Lost in my world of profits, they forget their humanity. Some of the most brutal of my slaves are actually rather nice people. However, as soon as they enter the groupthink trance, they become savage monsters, as they service my unlimited craving for profits. Many enter the trance for their entire lifetime. Groupthink is responsible for almost all of the most outrageous atrocities. Mob mentality at its worst.”

Whoa! I had no idea that the trance of groupthink was so powerful.

Cartel: “Think again. Groupthink is behind both Southeast Asia’s architectural masterpieces, such as Angkor Wat, and is also responsible for the violent mass eruptions of the collective soul, such as lynchings, witch-burnings, and the endemic warfare that plagues the planet. Religion and Nationalism are other powerful forms of groupthink that have both positive and negative manifestations.

Some wake up from the groupthink trance. Robert McNamara was one of those. He was the US Secretary of Defense, who was instrumental in organizing the US military strategy in the Vietnam War. Before becoming Kennedy’s Secretary of Defense in 1961, he was a Harvard professor, developed logistical systems for the military during World War II, and effectively revitalized Ford Motor Company, eventually becoming its president. After engineering the travesties of the Johnson administration against Vietnam and Laos, i.e. defoliants, napalm, saturation bombing, and relocation programs, he woke up. Startled, McNamara realized that he had just been mindlessly doing his duty to his country without thinking for himself. The brilliant personage had inadvertently become the ideal Company Man. After he began questioning US involvement in the Indochina war, we removed him from his position in 1968, citing lack of effectiveness.”

Why did you enter and then remain in Vietnam when there were many signs, including the French experience in the First Indochina War of Liberation, that indicated that you were not going to win against the Vietnamese?

After a loud guffaw, the Cartel: “I’m so glad you bought into our propaganda – a simple indication of its effectiveness. Instead of a failure, the Vietnam War was a fabulous success for the Cartel. This contrived conflict allowed us to transfer billions of dollars from the public sector to the military sector. Recall that it derailed Johnson’s plans for a Great Society, where all Americans would be taken care of. Instead the military industrial complex and the banking community became rich at the expense of the citizenry. The ‘tax money at work’ funded the production of billions of dollars of disposable armaments and financed massive government loans. Also enriched were the anonymous stockholders of these companies and institutions. The only losers in the war were the American people and their government, not the Cartel.”

Why did the international community grant legitimacy to the genocidal Khmer Rouge, arguably one of the most destructive regimes the world has ever known, after they were expelled from Cambodia? Why did the US provide military support for the coalition in exile that included Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge? Why did the international community deny humanitarian aid to the Vietnamese citizenry when they were in desperate need?

Cartel: “It’s obvious that you’ve got a lot to learn. Humans have morals; corporations, companies, and countries don’t. By extension, those who have lost their humanity in the groupthink trance of these disembodied entities are also without any sense of human decency. Although they might be quite nice individually, they have no moral compunctions against destroying innocent lives, i.e. women, children and civilians, in the service of the Greater Group. They are Company Men that have given their soul for my good. Gotta love these guys.

With the communist victory in Indochina in 1975, Vietnam emerged as an important Southeast Asian political power. Due to all the armaments supplied by China and Russia and those left behind by the Americans, Vietnam had the 4th largest army in the world following the Cold War powers. The West and China did not want Vietnam to grow any stronger. We didn’t care whether the citizenry was enslaved, executed or starved to death, we just wanted to keep Vietnam in check.

There were other reasons as well. We wanted the Vietnamese to suffer, as an example to any other indigenous people that might be tempted to challenge our international clout. Plus we loved encouraging conflict between the communist states – Cambodia and China vs. Vietnam and Russia. What could be better for our purposes than our enemies dissipating their military strength by fighting each other? We use that strategy whenever we can as it saves us a lot of trouble. Additionally our military industrial complex becomes rich funding one side against the other. A ‘win win’ situation for us. Who cares about human suffering when enormous stockholder profits are involved?”

Why did Communist China join in this unholy alliance?

Cartel: “China and Russia were gradually moving into our profit-dominated camp. It really doesn’t take my representatives that long to infiltrate and co-opt organizations even if they have noble ideals. Look at what we accomplished with America, the land of the free and home of the brave. Lenin’s Soviet Russia was replaced with rapacious industrialists after the collapse of their communist system. By the 21st century, Mao’s China had lost its revolutionary zeal and began enslaving workers again.”

Is there anything you are afraid of?

Cartel: “Just people thinking for themselves in a human way rather than in corporate groupthink. Without humans to give us power, we cease to exist. As such, we hate those who encourage others to think for themselves. This undermines our power and authority. People start challenging our moral-less profit-oriented agenda. It makes things difficult.”

Does it frighten you that humans everywhere might start thinking for themselves?

Laughing out loud, Cartel: “You are really funny. You do have a sense of humor, don’t you?”

 

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