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Mainstream, Vol XLVII No 12, March 7, 2009

Washington to Dacca

Saturday 7 March 2009, by Nikhil Chakravartty


From Washington to Dacca, the changes in scenario are indicative of the new temper that has been overtaking politics all over the world.

The forces hostile to peace and independence cannot come on top; at the same time, they have not yet been eliminated, not even brought under control. The decisive element in the international politics is the power of socialism and anti-imperialism, but the power of mischief of imperialism has not yet been neutralised.

The US Administration today faces a terrible dilemma, more serious than what Watergate had thrown up last year. In 1974, the jettisoning of Nixon who had bathed himself with ignominy, could at least save the political will of Washington though its moral and military authority had already been eroded both with the exposures at home and the disgraceful debacle in Vietnam.

This year it has no escape from the compulsions of a different order: if the switch-over from the Cold War to the Détente was a setback for Pax Americana, the saber-rattling against Moscow has today become a political gamble which even the hard-headed politicians and millionaires in Washington who wield real authority are afraid of indulging in.

The latest shake-up in the Washington set-up is a sign not of strength but of a critical situation facing the US Administration. It may have been a relatively easy operation even for a President of Gerald Ford’s level of IQ to sack Colby and Schlesinger, but this does not mean that the CIA and the Pentagon can change their spots overnight. The White House can no longer play the hawk, because this pays neither at home nor abroad.

Even Kissinger has not emerged unscathed, because the military commitments involved in his West Asian policy—including the purchase of Sadat with the bait of military hardware to build up his anti-Sovietism—are to a large measure disliked by the majority in the US Congress. Similarly, there is resentment in Capitol Hill at the military underwriting of the South Korean puppet regime.

In the trauma of defeat in Vietnam, the trend towards an isolationist policy, particularly in the matter of military commitments abroad, is percep-tible in Washington. Rather, the new American strategy abroad is to go in for political destabili-sation as the main weapon.

It is not that the massive military machine is to be dismantled, but to see that the US’ political objectives do not have to rely entirely on military strength, since its bankruptcy has been exposed in the countryside along the Mekong. Client govern-ments in different parts of the world have to be set up largely through assassination, political mani-pulation and large-scale economic bribery and blackmail, rather than through the exploded theory of military-bloc domination.

It is with this understanding of the new American reality that one has to interpret not only the troubles that Kissinger has had with Mao during his recent visit to Peking, but also the ghastly happenings in Bangladesh. For, Washington’s involvement in the gruesome killings is proved not only by the fact that the killers have sought asylum in the USA as well as Pakistan. The massacre of Mujibur Rahman’s family and entourage on August 15 was obviously planned out in meticulous detail just as was the escape of the assassins and the further cold-blooded murder of virtually the entire national leadership of the Bangladesh on November 3.

Such an operation is a testimony to the active functioning of the CIA. It is not without interest for any Indian observer that Peter Burleigh, whose handiwork could be seen in the last few years all over eastern India, from Gauhati to Gangkok, from Patna to Bhubaneswar, had shifted his centre of operation from Calcutta to Dacca only a few weeks before the liquidation of Mujibur Rahman and his democratic regime.

While the killings in Dacca have naturally sent a wave of shock and anger throughout this country, the hard fact to note is that with all this reckless expense, the agents of Washington could not set up a stable government of their own in Dacca. What they had planned to establish on August 15— a plan in which Peking obviously had fully concurred as could be seen from its troop concentration along the Himalayas throughout this period, of which the murderous foray on October 20 was only a sample—coiuld not last, and the perpetrators of the coup against Mujib were themselves over-thrown on November 3.

Whatever might be the final outcome of the dramatic developments in Daca, there is little doubt that Washington, even with the active connivance of Peking, can no longer foist a puppet regime over the politically awakened people of Bangladesh, in spite of the fact that the bulk of their national leaders have been butchered.

The picture that emerges today is that the US Administration, with all its power and resources, cannot triumph in any continent; in desperation, it is bound to try to exploit every weakness, every shortcoming, political or economic, wherever it can worm its way in.

For our country, there is much to learn—from the bribery in Egypt to the bloodletting in Dacca.

(Mainstream, November 8, 1975)

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