The Man Who Saw it Coming: Robert Heilbroner

What’s Going on in South America?

Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, are Aligning With Castro,Communism Amid Rising Oil Prices and Anti-American Sentiments —And Dr. Robert Heilbroner, a Nostradamus of Political History, Saw It Coming Back in 1959

By Jefferson Peabody

Revolution against inequality is a predictable force of nature in economics, equal to Adam Smith’s “invisible hand,” at least that’s what Karl Marx would have had us believe. However, Marx, one of the founders of Communism, did not have a proprietary claim to the theory. Many economic and political theories have been proposed in recognition of this “problem,” and seek less violent solutions than armed combat. Dr. Robert Heilbroner, in his book The Future as History, (1959, 1960 Grove Press, Inc. New York, reprinted Evergreen, 1961) written in 1959, recognized that both Smith and Marx were on the right track, but that their work has been taken to opposite extremes. By combining aspects of these theories, Heilbroner was able to create an economic model so comprehensive that he was able to predict many of today’s trends and upheavals in some detail.

Smith’s “invisible hand” refers to the idea that in a free market system, earnings will be distributed fairly according to merit over the course of time. A reading of Marx suggests that those who rise to power in a free market will tend to close the market and create monopolies and empires, leading to extreme inequality. Marxists suggest that once this happens, the only invisible hand will be in your pocket! This, they say, will predictably result in armed revolution by the “proletariat,” the workers. Although it has been further stated that economic policy is usually determined by the barrel of a gun, many seek to find non-violent alternatives and preventative measures. Some of these alternatives have been echoed recently in a book The Unconquerable World: Power, Non-Violence and the Will of the People, by Jonathan Schell. In it, he focuses on non-communist and non-violent examples of social and economic reform. The current administration tends to view all compromises regarding capitalism as “socialist,” or left wing, and perhaps dangerous. What is becoming clear is that the real danger is to refuse compromise.

On September 1st, 2005, gasoline prices in the U.S. and Canada approximately 40 cents in one day, and continued to rise the next day. Many economists speaking to the media commented that such a change could not be due solely to the hurricane in New Orleans and the consequent flooding. (The flooding part was thanks largely to the unregulated development and removal of nearby wetlands, barrier reefs, sand bars, and forests. The effects of that carelessness, which were seen at the end of August 2005, were predicted in detail in an article published by the Houston Chronicle in December of 2001; they saw it coming!) ) Is it the result of “peak oil,” the idea that worldwide crude drilling has reached a point of diminishing returns? No one seems to know. But oil producing South American countries have been feeling misused for decades, and more now than ever, and Venezuela, Brazil, and Argentina, are breaking some traditional ties with the U.S. and are headed towards Communism. South America has been the location of many successful socialist initiatives, which tend to be peaceful, but Communist revolutions tend not to be, and generally happen in desperate countries with desperate workers.

Back in 1959, Dr. Robert Heilbroner, teaching at the New School for Social Research, wrote a book called “The Future As History,” in which he dared to predict the future of mankind based on the socio-economic theory that . We have been living his predictions for the last fifteen years. Many of the problems created by our economic and foreign policies which the mainstream media paints as “unforeseeable,” were easily predictable in 1959, at least to one man. The Chavez “revolution” in Venezuela, which Pat Robertson has called “an immediate threat to the United States,” was largely foreseeable, and may cause repercussions around the world among countries that have experienced similar economic exploitation. Robertson stated that assassination of Hugo Chavez will save the needless loss of many American lives in war. This is true, (if you fall for cheap rhetorical tricks such as the “unreasonable alternatives” ploy) but Dr. Heilbroner learned years ago that there are options other than war or assassination; allowing for a sense of economic fair play and equality will also save lives on both sides, as that is the preventive medicine for revolution. Unfortunately, once revolution starts, such moves towards fairness look like weakness and pandering to terrorists. It seems to encourage violence, whereas when enacted beforehand, it prevents violence, and gives the appearance of strength without a display of power. Is it too late for the current administration to save face?

Heilbroner would see Chavez’s friendly gestures towards Castro’s Cuba as one filled with historical meaning. He saw Castro’s Marxism as an embodiment of an eternal principle of revolution (against the injustices of capitalism), which he implies is usually tragic and unjust in itself, and must be prevented, but through balanced economic policies that do not disenfranchise the working class. Such revolutions cut off real social reform at the root. In a sense he predicted the events of September 11th, 2001, insofar as the attack was celebrated by individuals in certain economically depressed non-capitalist countries, regardless of the real cause. He saw socialistic policies on the other hand as a long-sighted means of preventing the conditions that lead to a bloody “Marxist” revolt (or perhaps another 9-11). He sees inherent flaws in capitalism, specifically the great inequality between the classes, but also, I think, sees that one of communism’s inherent flaws is that it does not lend itself to sustaining a stable government over a long period of time. He sees “socialism” as a tenuous compromise, a means of achieving “sustainability,” to use a term from our own time.

As part of his history lesson, Heilbroner points out that in 1913, capitalism was the dominant and unchallenged force in the world, with all its advantages and inequalities. This was before the Fair Trade Act was passed in the U.S. and before anti-trust laws were enacted, somewhat “socialist” ideas that prevented a second (or may we say third, after the civil war) revolution in this country. One of the main targets of this surge to reform corrupt capitalism was John D. Rockefeller, who developed the oil industry from its birth, and whose notorious exploits are cited in the text of the Fair Trade Act itself, and inspired the fiery anti-trust speeches of Ida Tarbell. These same abuses were prevalent around the world, and not all enacted by Rockefeller. It was John D.’s children who took control of Venezuela and its oil from 1949 (until the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998 by a 56% majority of the voters,) and exploited it mercilessly. This activity has been outlined exhaustively in Gerard Colby’s book Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil (Harper Collins San Francisco, 2000) Anti-trust broke up Rockefeller’s Standard Oil into Esso, Standard Oil of Ohio, Mobil, and others. When oil interests went aggressively into Venezuela after World War II, Esso and its affiliates played a big role. In 2000, the re-remerging of Exxon and Mobil should have been a warning to Venezuela, and to us all.

Venezuela is not alone in the feeling that someone has been stealing food from their table, and what happens now in Venezuela will probably set the course of history for a while to come.

Only seven of South America’s thirty-three countries supported the U.S. invention (excuse me, intervention) in Iraq. Honduras pulled out in early March of 2004, responding to anti-American pressure in South and Central America. That set the tone for unrest concerning other economic issues regarding both the U.S. and the World Trade Organization. During the Bush administration’s term of office, full-scale Marxist revolution has been percolating in the land of coffee; Nestor Kirchner has moved Argentina towards communism and has been very buddy-buddy with Castro. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, since his election in January of 2003, has moved Brazil to a full Castro-Communist’s stance, and is encouraging other neighboring countries to follow suit. His tough-guy foreign policy wonk Aurelio Garcia is associated with leftist-extremist group FARC, and the country is developing the potential for nuclear weapons, a very dangerous situation. Cuba, Venezuela, and Brazil are now considered the cradle of the new reincarnated Communism, this time in “our own back yard.”. Fueled by anger at George Bush, the infection is spreading rapidly. BBC reporter Greg Palast even quotes a general concern that a new “Soviet Union” a union of socialist republics, could form in South America, one with considerable military might.

Heilbroner predicted this would happen. He says that with global affluence will come many small revolutions. “Many of these revolutions, or near-revolutions [in non-communist block countries] will be undemocratic. Most will take the form of a thoroughgoing socialism. All will take its name.” (164) Again, we think of all the numerous socialist reforms in South America since 1959, possibly leading up to a major shift to the left in the near future among the remaining countries.

Heilbroner felt that the close proximity of growing U.S. wealth to third world poverty “…confronts us with the risk of an explosion of proletariat anger if, in the absence of such a movement, [a moderate socialist and diplomatic movement to share the wealth with those providing cheap labor for U.S. interests] the gap between us and the non-communist world continues to widen.” (165) Few if any areas of the world match this description as well as Central and South America. They are by nature “socialist” democracies, but are being pushed towards communistic revolution by extreme oil policy.

Venezuela is one of the countries Dr. Heilbroner was referring to; It is 80% black, but the white minority has had an iron grip on control of the country for four hundred years. Greg Palast refers to Hugo Chavez as “their Nelson Mandela,” and the old government of Venezuela as “apartheid.” The unrest in that country is not over. On April 12th, 2002, Chavez was captured by counter-revolutionaries. The U.S. State Department immediately sent out a report that he had resigned, and started announcing plans for a “legitimate government” to be put in place, when in fact he had not resigned. He was passed a cell phone by an infiltrator and reported to the nation that he was still president. The coup fell apart after 48 hours, and he has been highly critical of Condoleeza Rice ever since, who has been critical of him, both personally and on policy issues. There has been a media campaign in the U.S. to portray him as “crazy.” Palast disputes this.

Heilbroner states, “By 1959 [when he wrote this book] Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom—all staunchly capitalist governments in 1913—a so-called “socialist” administration had at least once come into power.” (96) Along the way, China, the Soviet block and Cuba had turned to Communism, peasant economies revolting against what was trickling down from capitalism elsewhere. In recent years, different systems of socialism have developed in Europe. A recent New York Times article applauded the success of Ireland, Denmark, and England’s new programs, and criticized the lack of success in Germany and France, older forms of socialism. In a sense, socialism is a broad band of anything that lies between pure capitalism and pure communism. One jokester once said, “In Capitalism, man exploits his fellow man, but in Communism it’s just the other way around!” Socialism is the effort to prevent either extreme from taking over, preventing greater conflict between the two.

If alive today, Heilbroner would predict that the further the United States moves from socialist partner to capitalist boss, the more likely it is that other countries, unable to deal as equal partners with the U.S. under a rigged form of “free market” enterprise, (such as has been happening in Venezuela since 1949) will abandon “stable” socialism and embrace “unstable” Marxism and Communism. He states that as of 1959, “no nation has gone communist which was not then a peasant economy.” He says communism “is not so much the successor to but the substitute for capitalism.” He says that communism “its cruelties, its use of terror, its indifference to personal liberties, is not so much the face of the new world as the shadow of the old.”(99)In fact, in the few short years since the so-called “Fall of Communism” in Europe and Asia, these “shadows” of unchecked capitalism have become familiar to us here at home. They have long been evident in Venezuela and Brazil.

Although the writer mentions the Middle East, and predicts much of what has happened, much of what he says about communism can apply today to the fundamentalist Islamic state, which is also somewhat collective and totalitarian in nature. He says, “To retreat before the violence and cruelty of communism, [read, Islamic fundamentalists] without recognizing on the one hand the historic roots of that cruelty, and on the other, our failure to offer an alternative route of development as speedy and efficacious, is to vent a moral indignation which is shallow, or worse, arrogant.” In other words, for Bush, et al, to blame the terrorists is missing the point. Better to work to prevent the economic injustices that lead to terrorism, than ignore the warning signs. A good manager in a corporation does not egg on “problem” employees to rage to the point where they stage a labor revolt, or “go postal,” that is not responsible management. They should foster productive communication that makes each party feel as they are in partnership. Again, the same could be said of Venezuela.

The causes of the inequalities of capitalism are not outlined in The Future as History, only that they have always existed even in the best of times. “A staff report of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency in 1955, pointed out that ‘less than one per cent of all American families owned over four-fifths of all publicly held stocks owned by individuals.” There are many examples given.

As far as the growth of the U.S. military economy, he was right on target. He said, “ is a strong likelihood that our core of military expenditures will grow. Indeed, as we have seen, our defense purchases which now absorb about a tenth of our total national output, may very well take a seventh within the next decade.”(136) He says that this rise in “non-consumable goods would soon set up uncontainable inflationary pressures on the civilian body..” In 1959, the military budget was $352.5 billion. Ten years after he wrote these words, in 1969, inflation was in a bell-curve, and military spending, funding the struggle in Vietnam, was at $438.1 billion. But the increase he predicted did not happen until recently. Although the military budget is officially $343 billion in 2000, it will reach $400 billion in 2005, however this figure does not account for money spent on Iraq and Afghanistan, which is astronomical.

In 1959, around the time that Sputnik was launched, he wrote that the Russian economy was growing “approximately twice as fast as our own…it will not be too many generations before Russia will rival us, not only in the production of steel and other basic industrial products, but possibly even in general living standards.” Although he was wrong about the living standards, he wasn’t far wrong, and was correct on the industrial side, except that it took only one generation. It was the inequality and injustice within the Soviet block that led to its downfall, which Hielbroner could have predicted. He would have seen Glasnost as an unavoidable revolution, and a step towards a more sustainable system. According to these same principles, if the so-called “free market” does not encourage those former Soviet block countries to prosper as equal partners, if they are exploited by the capitalism they risked so much to enjoy, they will again turn to Communism, and the destructive kind of revolution that generally entails. In a sense, he predicted what happened in Kosovo in 1999.

He brilliantly predicted the rise of off-shoring, and the movement of key industrial plants to third world countries where men and women work for incredibly small wages. Venezuela is one of these countries. First of all he restates certain economic principles that until recently have been a set fixture of the American “free market” economic landscape: “We are free in a number of extremely important ways, such as the right to choose our employment… our economic liberty could result in a disastrous social breakdown if our free choices of employment left undone the tasks on which community depends.” (150) “…we know that economic pressure will drive us to do them….when we ask how it is that free men go willingly to the subways or busses, the assembly line or the office, the answer is: there is where the jobs are; and when we ask why free men charge so little—barely more than a modest comfort—to do work they do not much enjoy, the answer is: they are not worth more—which is to say that by virtue of their low levels of skill, their educational and cultural deficiencies, their lack of wealth, they are not able to strike too hard a bargain for doing what must be done.” (151)

In other words, if all Americans achieve a standard of self-worth and education, while being raised in the self-serving capitalist model, they will refuse to do certain jobs on which society depends. Then he hones in on this flaw in capitalist theory that over time lead to its downfall, the trend which thirty-five years after his book was published, became known as “off-shoring.”

“This [low pay for manual labor] has been an eternal condition of society. But it is a condition which the emergence of abundance begins to undermine. For if the approach to abundance has any one paramount historic significance, it is the gradual elimination of…the great mass of anonymous men on whose generalized willingness to work the high edifices of civilization have been built. It is this group which abundance slowly causes to disappear.

He states that current trends promise “a gradual drying-up of applicants for the meaner jobs of society, and the steady increase in pay for those who will still take them.” He then states that some day there may be “no arrangement of incomes or rewards that will lure men to the posts society must fill. England experienced a foretaste of such an impasse in the postwar period, when its miners began to use their new-found affluence to leave the pits…In the end, England had to import foreign miners to maintain an adequate force at the coal face.” (151) He also cites a rising trend of society to use Negro, Mexican and Puerto Rican workers to do menial jobs, as long as they are willing to work for low wages and be associated with low-status work. He says these populations are being used as “foreigners,” however unfairly; it stands to reason that if and when they reject this label, the menial labor will go to those who are even more foreign to North America, leading to off-shoring.

He then explores the possibility that there will be other negative repercussions of increasing abundance, that when the restraints of poverty which keep the masses honest disappear, other controls will have to be put into place. (153) He states that Smith’s “invisible hand” of economics may weaken as wealth increases and that “other social controls” may take its place. He feels that in a prosperous society, corporations must have self-discipline in place of competition, they must think more about the community. If they don’t, some social force will eventually rein them in, and seems to favor socialist government, rather than a vacuum of authority in this regard.

Under Clinton, we saw a rise of a subtle form of socialist agenda to address these issues. Under Bush, we see a very different way of addressing these issues, one which Heilbroner warned against. He writes, “…we shall acquire economic abundance only at the cost of crushing social restrictions. Yet there can be no turning back from a prospect whose material allurements far exceed these premonitions of future constraint.” (156) Whatever social restrictions industry felt under Clinton seem insignificant now compared to the social restrictions now perpetrated in the name of anti-terrorism.

Heilbroner also foresaw the growing economic dependence of America on technology. “…our growth is not only largely dependent on the upward curve of invention and discovery, but it becomes an economic reality by adding layer upon layer of technical apparatus to the productive foundation of the economy.” (157)

He foresaw the rise of the PC, although not in specific terms, when he wrote, “Another is the mechanization, not of factory work, but of the simplest and most traditional tasks within the home. Yet another, still further removed from the industrial base, is the refinement of the arts of communication and persuasion.”(158)

Then he hits home with a prediction that is so accurate as to be funny, one that most of us can identify with. “In one fashion or another, [technological advances] weaken his solitary capacity to cope with life, whether as a job-seeker faced with the threat of technological displacement, or as a home-owner unable to make the most elementary repairs on his personal equipment without outside assistance….” (158) When is the last time you fixed your PC and VCR, or your car’s computer chip, yourself?

He goes on to say, “And this loss of social mastery cannot be blamed only on the complexity of the technological process. It also lies with the fact that the main control we exercise over the social incursion of technology is that of economics.” (158-9) “The problem is not how to avoid the incursion of science and technology, but how to bring that incursion, with all its social consequences, under deliberate social control. In the end, the question is: who is to be the master, man or his machines? As long as the control over technology rests primarily on economic calculation, the victor is not likely to be man.” (161)

In the chapter The American Counter-challenge, section 11, the Wrath of Nations, is perhaps the most intriguingly prophetic. “We turn now to a second critical problem in which our growth involves us. This is our relationship to the underdeveloped world. And here we shall find, as with our encounter with the technological forces of our times, that the direction of our present economic momentum does not lead us away from the historic difficulties that this problem presents, but directly into the closest entanglement with them.” (161)

Prophetically, he states, “China is now less than a day’s flight away from us; it soon will be but a few hours.” He points out the same with every other emerging country and says, “But this compression of the world is not only manifest from our side, as our inextricable involvement with the fate of the great masses of the world. Even more significant is the reality of the world’s compression from their side, as the masses awaken to their existence as human beings on the same earth as ourselves.” (162) “As a result what was once a gulf which divided two wholly separate worlds is rapidly becomg a rift which dives one self-conscious human community… and what stands out is the terrible disparity of living conditions in their own lands compared with the favored few. The division of the world into the abjectly poor and the grossly rich…suddenly becomes a dispensation of human history which seems iniquitous, intolerable, and infuriating.” (162)

“It is not difficult to project the effect of a race in which the poorer nations would watch the richer draw steadily ahead of them, or in which after their vast labors they would find the gap in no wise diminished. It would expose us to a wrath and fury of a kind we have never heretofore known—a proletarian wrath.” (163)

There is another kind of wrath he envisions, which is even more prophetic in nature. He states the U.S. economy was expanding twice as fast as India, most of South and Central Ameirca, and Africa.” He writes, “To bring about comparable rates of economic development in non-communist countries will require not only economic efforts of comparable intensity, but very likely social and political transformations of a far-reaching kind. In some nations, like Saudi Arabia (which has been described by one authority as “rushing madly from the eleventh century into the twelfth”) such transformations are likely to require a revolutionary upheaval.” (164) This was more true in Iran and Iraq after 1959, but in the end it may the Saudi’s success that is our downfall, as they refuse to accept American social and political values along with its great influx of money.

“In some nations, particularly in the Near East, [namely Iraq and Iran] we have lent support to governments which are anachronistic and corrupt, and which have a vested interest in preventing social advance. In others, our contribution to economic development has been grudging or none at all.” He states that our economic aid to India, Indonesia, South America, and Africa was one tenth of one percent of our total gross national product from 1955-57, and that the Soviets were far surpassing us in that regard. He says “it is surely a policy that will one day reap the whirlwind.”(165) It certainly has, but becoming a glaring problem mainly in recent years.

He writes, “…in the longer view, if there is any hope for a convergence of views and attitudes, values and ideals, within the concert of nations, it must await some closure of the economic fissure which now divides the world.” (166) Whether NAFTA and CAFTA will accomplish this is hard to predict.

He is critical of the sheep-like American malaise of his time which is much like today’s America: “Popular sentiment today allies itself with the centers of economic power in the view that the future lies with the maximum unrestricted growth of our economic capacity. The average American family, engrossed in its present needs and understandably desirous of material advance, is not much exercised over changes which seem remote, nebulous, and far from the realities of daily life. As much as or more than the business community, it abides by the belief that abundance will simply make life easier without reflecting on its associated problems which also make it more difficult…” (168) The current ideologists surrounding Bush have tapped into this attitude and used it masterfully, playing on the emotions of middle-class Americans like a violin.

He talks about the increasing incompetence of the individual within society, in the face of technological complexity, implying “a further growth of the private and public bureaucracies which control the complex whole and which support the dependent human being.” (169) That is more true now than in 1959, when it was written.

One of the most useful and quotable passages comes at the end of this outstanding chapter, The American Counter-Challenge. He writes, “Finally, the future holds out the grave threat of an ideological isolation of the American system. In this regard it is instructive and sobering for us to reflect on the case of England. Having won an empire “in a fit of absent-mindedness,” sincerely convinced of the enlightenment of their motives and of their dedication to the cause of liberty, the English found it difficult to believe that so much of the colonial world regarded their nation as a sinister power. In much the same fashion it is difficult for us, who are absent-mindedly creating our own civilization and who are convinced of the purity of our international motives, to believe that much of the world sees us as a malign and threatening influence.” (169) These words are so much more relevant today than they were forty-five years ago, it is remarkable. He adds, “…we would be ill-advised to ignore the possibility that an excess of lavish growth at home, coupled with an ideological rigidity abroad, may turn the hostility of a starving and frustrated world against us.”(170)

Heilbroner is not in favor of revolution; he feels economic stability is important to the fostering of creativity and productivity, but he feels that uncontrolled capitalism leads inexorably to inequality and therefore revolution. He writes, “What is perhaps the most sorrowful aspect of this tragedy is that its victims are chosen arbitrarily and at random. [He could be referring as well to the victims of terrorist attacks in London, New York, or Baghdad.] There is no guilt or innocence, no measure of culpability or responsibility in the fate meted out by a world which is still more brute than man. Those who fall in wars do not “start” the wars. The victims of Hitler or Stalin were not those who raised these dictators to power. Nor will there be a fine balancing of accounts when the crimes of South Africa eventually exact their terrible retribution, [amazingly, these words were written thirty-eight years before the end of apartheid in South Africa, and it was rather messy; South Africa signed their new constitution on February 3rd, 1997, ] or when the indignities of the American South work their full damage to the American social fabric.” (200)

Heilbroner had the prescience to know that the “rise of the south” was far from over in 1959. Today, the painful split between “blue” states in the north and “red” states in the south, and the conflict between the two cultures which the media plays up and exploits mercilessly) is a creation of the Bush campaign team. But it works because the south and its culture have never forgotten the evils of the carpetbaggers and Sherman’s ride through the south. There is a certain underground desire to “get even” with the north for Gettysburg, at least according to Heilbroner, and both Bush presidents saw this trend and milked it for all it was worth, buying up Texas (the heartland of southern sentiments) and sporting outrageous accents not their own. Divide and conquer is their motto, which lurks behind every “United We Stand” bumper sticker. If the Bush agenda was to unite Americans behind the defense of New York after the tragedy of 9-11, why did New York submit the highest percentage of the vote of any state in the Union against Bush in 2004?

Bush has used all the old rivalries to his advantage. He is harnessing the power of revolution the way Rockefellers harnessed the power of crude oil One has to suspect that an “oil President” from an oil family is benefiting somehow from the rise in oil prices. One could wildly speculate that those in the power of oil want to see a revolution in South America, so that they can attack and take over more foreign oil fields in defense of America and the “free market.” Maybe they can trigger and control revolutions; if they can, then the spectre of a worldwide empire of oil is not just a fantasy. What they can’t control is terrorism, which now is more technologically possible and dangerous than ever, and that could affect our lives as Americans in a big way.

As regards the rise of terrorism, again Dr. Heilbroner’s words can be seen as prophetic: “As a consequence of the new weapons technology, we have not only lost our accustomed military security, but also any possibility of enforcing a military “solution” ….The weapons stalemate has thus magnified the influence of the non-military determinants of the central struggle of our times. The “historic forces” of politics and economics, of technologies and ideologies, are therefore of crucial importance in the resolution of this contest.” (176)

In other words, the advancements of military technology in his time parallel our own, and with similar effect. They bring only temporary relief as it were to the fundamental problem before all governments, providing domestic tranquility and security from foreign attack. In the long run, as enemies acquire these weapons, our security greatly decreases, to the point where we have arrived today, a world in which any one person can threaten the lives of any other ten thousand or more people with the push of a button. And now, as then, if I am reading Heilbroner correctly, the answer is diplomacy, economic, political, and social. The appointment of Robert Bolton to the United Nations as the U.S. ambassador (over the heads of Congress) gives us a clear notion of where the Bush ideologues are headed both inside the beltway and beyond our coastal waters; less diplomacy, less rule of law, less meeting of the minds, more fear and aggression, more exploitation. All of this can only lead to more terrorism and less security at home.

How can we stop a terrorist revolution in South America? Given the quickly spreading nature of military technology, and the fundamental human tendency of revolution against inequality, the answer is singular: the only way to overcome your enemies is to make them your friends. America needs to learn some lessons from history, and from Robert Heilbroner. Let’s return to FDR’s good neighbor policy in South America, and deal fairly with Latin American countries.


Note: I attest that the author of the above essay, Mr. Jefferson Peabody, is a fine patriot of upstanding character. As for the author’s intellectual perspicuity, the reader is given ample evidence in the treatise to judge for herself.–gm

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