Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Gerald Ford subverted Sahrawi and Timorese independence

It's kind of old, but the flags are still at half-mast, so here's a good piece Stephen Zunes wrote about Gerald Ford's foreign policy legacy. Between allying with Mobutu in Zaire (who was also pals with Hassan II) and supporting Pinochet in Chile, his administration is partially responsible for global anti-American sentiment.

Besides befriending the worst rogues of his time, Ford supported two of the most egregious violations of international law in this century: the invasions of East Timor and Western Sahara.

In The Trial of Henry Kissinger Christopher Hitchens chronicles how Ford and his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, visited Indonesia. Less than 24 hours after they left the country, Indonesia invaded East Timor with weapons manufactured in the United States.

Hitchens doesn't mention the Western Sahara, but Ford and Kissinger certainly did not support Western Saharan independence on the eve of Morocco's invasion; Zunes even alleges Ford encouraged Spain to withdraw its promise of independence to Polisario. Perhaps the only thing Ford did for the Sahrawi people was the invasion of East Timor, providing the Western Sahara with a valuable ally in the struggle for self-determination.

Incidentally, "Death Struggle in the Desert" on the Time cover is about the Iran-Iraq war, not the Western Sahara. That would've been apropos, though.

10 comments:

  1. People wanting to know more about East Timor and Ford & Kissinger's role there can check the website of the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network - http://www.etan.org. ETAN remains active in the supporting the now independent country.

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  2. Anonymous4:34 PM

    Kissinger have a lot to do in the WS issue in the earlier and middle 70s when the morrocans start what they called" green march" which never come to WS. they stopped just on the border at Tarfaya in the south of morocco.

    US administration and Mr Kissinger was an ally of Morroco.
    There are history mostly in french language talking about the role of former US Secretary in the WS issue....

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  3. Anonymous4:35 PM

    Yo, Will, ya gotta give me some props for this:
    http://mondediplo.com/2006/01/12asahara
    -JM

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  4. Oh, ETAN's pretty cool. If you don't believe me, look at their website--Noam Chomsky supports them, too! Thanks for the link.

    It's a shame that East Timor has so many problems post-independence. When Western Sahara becomes independent, I think it'd be fun to take a more critical role of the Sahrawi government to try and keep them honest as they rebuild.

    Henry Kissinger is usually up to no good, whether in East Timor, Cyprus, or Western Sahara. If anyone has translations about HK's involvement in Western Sahara, I'll be much obliged. I plan on going to the National Archives sometime this semester to look at US involvement in the Western Sahara, so I should be able to find some documents there.

    The props will be forthcoming, Jacob. Thanks for the link.

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