What’s a “Rogue State?”
“Rogue state” is a term applied by some theorists to states they consider threatening to world peace. That is, countries ruled by authoritarian governments that severely restrict human rights, sponsor terrorism and seek to extend weapons of mass destruction. The term is used primarily by the United States (though the US State Department officially stopped using it in 2000). In a speech to the UN in 2017, President Donald Trump reiterated the phrase.
The US Americans have established themselves as the world authority on “rogue states.” They decide which are the countries that function outside of the constrictions of international order and reject the rule of law. In fact, it was President Clinton’s National Security Advisor, Anthony Lake, who coined the term “rogue state” in a 1994 issue of Foreign Affairs. He categorized five countries as rogue states: North Korea, Cuba, Iraq, Iran and Libya. One nation was conspicuously missing from this list but it would have been unseemly for Mr. Lake to name his own country.
In was in June of 2000 when U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, swapped the term for “States of Concern.” Other euphemisms have been employed since then–“Axis of Evil,” “Outposts of Tyranny,” and “State Sponsors of Terrorism.” I recently discovered that two excellent books were published on the subject of rogue states some time ago, by Noam Chomsky and William Blum. Both included the term “rogue state” in the title, and the United States was the protagonist of both of them. Interestingly, both of these prestigious commentator/activists also included Israel in the category of rogue state, principally for their treatment of the Palestinians since 1948.
They Decide Who the Devil Is
Once the rogue states are named and shamed there begins a process of demonization by sophisticated propaganda techniques that may last decades. This process is entirely arbitrary though it usually coincides with US American political and military objectives or the acquisition/control of natural resources. The following step inevitably is “regime change,” and Washington takes charge of that process, too, making use of the carrot-and-stick techniques that have become familiar to us over the years.
The carrots can be loans to purchase U.S. arms or bribes to pliant politicians either in country or in exile who can be refinanced and recycled under US American “guidance.” Needless to say, all of these “assets” are required to present impeccable anti-communist, pro “free-market” credentials. Massive, expert-run disinformation campaigns in existing and expressly-created media might also fall under the category of (somewhat bitter) “carrots.”
If the carrots don’t get the job done, they bring out the sticks, which are wielded by C.I.A. operatives and their hired hands, and run the gamut from low-level political and industrial sabotage to either the assassination of key political figures or the organizing equipping and training of entire mercenary armies and air forces. Many of these terrorist actions are “false flag” operations, staged to look as if they were perpetrated by someone else, “communists or “outside agitators.” The most authoritative information I’ve seen on this policy is in the 2004 book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, by whistleblower, John Perkins, who worked as a US agent during the 1970s.
The List of Those “Neutralized” is a Long One
Actual assassinations organized and/or executed in recent years by the CIA include Ngo Dinh Diem of Vietnam (a dictator installed in his position by the CIA itself); Che Guevara; Patrice Lumumba the Congo’s first prime minister; René Schneider, Commander and Chief of the Chilean Army, loyal to Salvador Allende’s democratically-elected government; Allende himself; Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia and Sukarno in Indonesia, among many others. And it’s not clear yet whether the name of President John F. Kennedy should be added to this list. The operation that culminated in Dallas on November 22, 1962, certainly precipitated an immediate regime change.
My source for the majority of these cases is, The CIA: A Forgotten History, a book published in 1986 by author and investigative journalist, William Blum. It’s out of print but available second hand on the Web and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a thoughtful, straightforward and authoritative glossary of CIA clandestine operations around the world between the end of World War II and the mid-1980s. It confirms with hard data a lot of suspicions we’ve harbored for a long time.
Regime Change Is Easy
It doesn’t take a lot of resources or imagination to wreak massive social and political chaos in someone else’s country. Washington operatives just have to pay off a few crooked local politicians and call upon the CIA to put its coup techniques in motion. After more than half a century of running these operations, the CIA has got it down to a sinister routine. Bingo! Another impertinent little country (with a democratically elected government or not; that’s irrelevant) has privatized its sovereign wealth and joined NATO.
“Privatize?” That means selling off their mines and oil fields, fields and forests, industries and even housing to US American banks and vulture funds at market prices. You can imagine how the “market” looks after a couple of decades of CIA black ops. The first stages of this process are currently underway in Venezuela and Iran. If all goes well they will soon join the long list of U.S. “client states.”
Chomsky Puts Us Straight
The other book that penetrates the murk on these subjects is Noam Chomsky’s Rogue States—The Rule of Force in World Affairs, published in 2000. Chomsky, who has spent his life building a reputation for seriousness, honesty and calm level-headedness, affirms in his book that, contrary to the versions in the mainstream media the real “rogue states” today are not totalitarian nations run by wacky dictators (neither Kim-Jong-un of North Korea, Maduro of Venezuela, nor Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of Iran, for example), rather the United States and its allies.
Chomsky, who defines “radical nationalism” as the unwillingness to submit to the will of the powerful, discards the specious reasons given for the US American (& Co.) unilateral intervention around the world in favor of one simple explanation: the willful use of force to impose the bare-fisted power of the United States. He cites many examples, including Kosovo, East Timor, and U.S. destabilizing operations in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South America. His scholarship is impeccable, as he elaborates the historical contexts and declassified documents that explain how simple self-interest and economic and political opportunism fuel US American sponsorship of violent regional conflicts around the world, reducing the rule of law to a grotesque farce. They see no need to respect neither the United Nations’ guidelines nor international legal precedents to justify their actions. Today, more than ever, it’s diaphanously clear that they do whatever they please.
25 Pages to Whet Your Appetite
Here’s a link to a 25-page article that Chomsky published in Z Magazine a couple of years before his Rogue States book came out. I want to quote just a couple of paragraphs here, but his piece merits a full reading for its lucidity and well-documented revelations. Chomsky starts his article:
Quote: The concept of “rogue state” plays a pre-eminent role today in policy planning and analysis. The current Iraq crisis is only the latest example. Washington and London declared Iraq a “rogue state,” a threat to its neighbors and to the entire world, an “outlaw nation” led by a reincarnation of Hitler who must be contained by the guardians of world order, the United States and its British “junior partner,” to adopt the term ruefully employed by the British foreign office half a century ago.
Was there any objective justification for the two Iraq wars? There was none, especially in the light of the later acknowledgment that the weapons of mass destruction justification was a whole-cloth American-fabricated lie.
In another paragraph Professor Chomsky quotes a serving United States Secretary of State on the rationale of his country’s arbitrary use of its awesome military power anywhere in the world at any time. My ears are pretty calloused but I find this Hitlerian pronouncement alarming.
Secretary of State George Shultz meanwhile explained (April 14, 1986) that “Negotiations are a euphemism for capitulation if the shadow of power is not cast across the bargaining table.” He condemned those who advocate “utopian, legalistic means like outside mediation, the United Nations, and the World Court, while ignoring the power element of the equation”—sentiments not without precedent in modern history.