Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Clintons and their Kissinger connection

Henry Kissinger and Hillary Clinton
Listening to the news of Hillary Clinton advocating an end to the Embargo on Cuba in her recently published memoirs should lead one to two conclusions: 1) Why is this news?  and 2) Who benefits?

Candidate Bill Clinton to place Bush on the defensive backed the Torricelli Bill that toughened the embargo into a policy instrument that supposedly encouraged democratic change. Once in office President Clinton, as he did with China, shifted course and sought to normalize relations with the Castro regime. Hillary Clinton's position on the Cuban embargo advocating its lifting is completely in accordance with her husband.

The former Secretary of State back in 2010 had implied that Castro liked the embargo citing how her husband President Bill Clinton had sought to end it but was "sabotaged" by Castro blowing two Brothers to the Rescue planes out of international air space in 1996.  Secretary Clinton ignores that the only reason normalization was "sabotaged" was that one plane survived the attack and made it back to Miami with recordings, data and records to say what had happened. The plan, apparently coordinated with elements in the Administration, was to shoot down all three planes and portray the exiles as terrorists using Juan Pablo Roque, a Cuban agent who had infiltrated Brothers to the Rescue, who had fled to Cuba prior to the shootdown as a survivor of the attack.  Jose Basulto, of Brothers to the Rescue and one of the survivors of the attack that day, has detailed his allegations and has spoken about it on the record.

The claim that Castro's hostile actions was an act of sabotage is the height of cynicism. The dictatorship in Cuba wants normalized relations with the United States in which it is able to engage in violent and reprehensible behavior just as their Vietnamese, Chinese counterparts and still enjoy normalized relations. In the case of North Korea despite threats to nuke the United States it was removed from, and remains off, the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

When debating the issue of sanctions on Cuba the question of China is often raised and it is important for the sake of context and perspective to do so here. Especially when discussing the Clintons.

In October of 1992 in the midst of his campaign for president Bill Clinton  was trying to differentiate himself on foreign policy from George H.W. Bush and according to Thomas Friedman in The New York Times one area was China reporting that Clinton had said "he would support the use of selective trade sanctions against China to get that country to ease its repression of human rights." Speaking on the campaign trail at the time Mr. Clinton in Milwaukee he said: "I believe our nation has a higher purpose than to coddle dictators and stand aside from the global movement toward democracy."  Bill Clinton won the election in November and entered office on January 20, 1993. One year and four months later, Clinton went further than the Bush Administration when he de-linked human rights concerns in China's Most Favored Nation (MFN) status renewal criteria on May 26, 1994.

Apologists for de-linking human rights concerns often cite national interests and strategic concerns. President Clinton took it to a new level in 1998 when having to justify a second waiver involving the Loral Corporation providing technical information to the People's Republic of China that Clinton justified at the time saying: "I believe it was in the national interest and I can assure you it was handled in the routine course of business, consistent with the 10-year-old policy." However CNN in  1998 reported that "[a] Pentagon office concluded in a still-secret report that 'United States national security has been harmed," according to government officials.' 

Further digging done by Edward Bolton in a 2000 report to the National Defense University National War College provided an analysis that points to particular financial and corporate interests, not national interests explaining the de-linking of human rights from MFN and also provides insight into the Clinton Administration's waiver for the Loral corporation to provide sensitive information to the Peoples Republic of China:
Boeing, which donated millions to both Democratic and Republican candidates over the years, is the parent company of Loral Corporation. In 1993, Loral sought and received a waiver to launch Loral/Hughes satellites from China.18 Loral CEO Bernard Schwartz has personally donated over $1M to both parties. Boeing also owns McDonnell-Douglas which in 1994 made an agreement with China to open a parts factory in Beijing. Boeing, who sold nearly 70% of the airliners China purchased in the 1993 to 1995 time frame,19 selected former Clinton administration Defense Secretary William Perry for its board of directors shortly after he left the Pentagon.20 Hughes Electronics Corporation, a subsidiary of General Motors (GM) and co-developer of satellite systems with Loral, also has dealings with China and worked to maintain MFN for the PRC. Hughes Electronics Chairman Michael Smith also serves as vice Chairman of the Aerospace Industries Association, a long time supporter of MFN status for China. 21
A previous post on this blog highlighted the successful efforts by Henry Kissinger to influence the Bush Administration in giving the Peoples Republic of China a pass for the Beijing Massacre of June 3-4, 1989 and Kissinger even wrote an oped piece at the time justifying the brutal actions of the regime. However if one wants to obtain a more complete picture of the damage China Policy has done to American interests over the past three decades then you must read Greg Autry's piece in the Huffington Post published on June 5, 2014. 

Kissinger is widely regarded for his policy of realpolitik during the Nixon Administration when within the superpower conflict both men pushed for a rapprochement with China to exploit a split with the Soviet Union which at the time was the stronger power. This was an amoral and Machiavellian move at the time by Kissinger and Nixon: embracing Mao Ze Dong's brutal regime but could be justified within the balance of powers playbook. However, when the Soviet Union began to change in 1985 with Gorbachev's Glasnost and Perestroika and later imploded in 1991 while at the same time China was growing stronger the "realpolitik" move would've been to distance oneself from empowering China and strengthening relations with the now weaker Russians. Continue playing the balance of power game, but that is not what Kissinger recommended because now he was representing the Chinese national bank as a consultant. The interests advanced were not America's.

Now what is disturbing is that this is not unique to Republicans but is a bipartisan affair. Between 1999 and 2008 former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Bill Clinton's former Chief of Staff Mack McLarty merged their two consulting groups into one: Kissinger McLarty Associates, an international strategic advisory firm. They've gone their separate ways since then but John D. Negroponte, a prominent Republican, remains as vice chairman of McLarty Associates.

Since Bill Clinton opened cash and carry trade with the Castro regime in the year 2000 U.S. corporations have sold over 4.3 billion dollars in agricultural goods to the Cuban dictatorship. The promise of more trade backed with taxpayer guaranteed tax credits is behind the drive of some of these actors pushing for a change in policy.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is out in front backing the scrapping of sanctions because American corporations will benefit even if U.S. taxpayers lose out in the process. 

Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller in 2006
Incidentally, Henry Kissinger was advocating lifting the embargo on the Castro regime as early as 1975.  Kissinger has also had a close relationship with David Rockefeller, a man who always opposed sanctions on Fidel Castro and hosted the Cuban tyrant at a dinner at the Rockefeller family's Westchester County, N.Y., estate in 1995. 

Fidel Castro dined at Rockefeller's home in 1995. Here they are shaking hands

1995 was a year after the well publicized "13 de Marzo" tugboat massacre in which 37 men, women and children were killed by Castro agents for trying to leave the country on July 13, 1994. This was the year before the above mentioned Brothers to the Rescue shoot down that took place on February 24, 1996. Rockefeller also visited Fidel Castro in Havana, Cuba in 2001.

This is not a conspiracy because it is not a secret plan. Repeatedly over the years business associations have attempted to end or weaken the embargo in order to advance their own interests. The Clintons and Kissinger are deeply embedded in this world and are also advancing their own, not America's, interests.

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