next day, my suspicions were exacerbated, if not confirmed,
by the President's statement that "no decision has been
made" as to the role US troops will play in a proposed
United Nations "peacekeeping" force. If they cannot
control the situation in East Timor, "the Indonesian
government must I repeat, must
invite an international peacekeeping force in," said
Clinton, in what was clearly a threatening tone. This is the
kind of "invitation" that Slobodan Milosevic was
asked to issue to the "Allies" an invitation
to invade Yugoslavia, occupy Kosovo, and accept Serbia's sovereignty
on a silver platter.
declined and paid the consequences. Will Indonesia pay the
same price? "Because we bombed in Kosovo doesn't mean
we should bomb Dili," declared Sandy Berger, the President's
national security advisor. Well, that's a relief
or would be, if we could believe anything coming out of this
White House. Keeping the reversibility principle in mind,
however, my advice to the Indonesians is: get thee to a bomb
shelter, and fast.
kind of an "invitation" is it when the "host"
has no choice but to extend his hospitality to his unwanted
"guests" in this case, a "multinational"
force which, we are told by Berger, will be "mostly Asian"
in composition? As dishonest in the details as they are in
all things great and small, to the Clintonistas "Asian"
means from Australia and New Zealand.
President and his foreign policy advisors keep referring to
"the government of Indonesia," but there is much
less to this phrase than meets the eye, for there is no real
national government in Indonesia. While in the United States
this might not be such a bad idea, in Indonesia it spells
big trouble. For the State has not entirely disappeared: the
army, in particular, is still operating throughout the country,
although not necessarily coordinated by any central authority.
What exists is a very loose confederation of military satraps,
with the army as the only unifying institution, and even that
collapsing under the pressure of the present crisis.
Wiranta, the commander of the army, and the virtually powerless
President B. J. Habibie, can issue all the orders they like,
but these are likely to be countermanded by local commanders
and disdained by those troops on the ground who are
themselves East Timorese and have the most to lose if independence
comes. For twenty-five years they have been fighting the Marxist
guerrilla insurgency known as Fretilin
(Frente Revolucionaria do Timor Leste Independente). With
US military aid, the Indonesian army conducted counterinsurgency
operations similar in scope and brutality to those carried
out by the Colombian and Peruvian governments against their
own Marxist insurgents. If the Fretilin should finally triumph,
these commanders and their troops, some 6,000 East Timorese,
would not only lose their economic privileges and social status,
but also all their property and quite possibly their
lives in a replay of what happened (and continues to
happen) in Kosovo.
KOSOVO ON EVERY CONTINENT
Fretilin are the Kosovars of South Asia, a pro-imperialist
pro-Western "liberation front" hailed as valiant
"freedom-fighters" by the Western media and a whole
section of the Left. For years, East Timor has been one of
the Left's favorite pet causes, in part due to its obscurity,
and in part to ideology. The Fretilin was founded by the Social
Democratic Party, a New Leftish Marxist grouplet with links
to the Portuguese Communist Party and a seventies-style fascination
with "the guerrilla road" to power.
the demise of the Sandinistas, the demise of Communism and
the contraction of available overseas "revolutionary"
groups, the "solidarity" milieu on American campuses
have had to content themselves with smaller and ever more
obscure groupings, and it has been pretty lean pickings. The
sandals-and-beads crowd was therefore delirious with joy upon
discovering the Fretilin, whom they consider models of a Third
World "indigenous people" who live in "harmony"
with Nature and are therefore morally superior to the rapacious
and wicked West. One recent account of an Australian "solidarity
conference" gushed over the "rich culture"
of these unspoiled children of the forest, and featured a
reenactment of their native "water ritual," to be
followed by a lecture on the evil environmental "degradation"
caused by the "invasion" of roads, cars, hospitals,
and schools. Some would call it progress, but to these "green"
lefties and greying Sandalistas, this is nothing less than
"cultural imperialism," the despoiling of a pristine
FOR THE NEW WORLD ORDER
paradox of opposition to imperialism of the "cultural"
variety it that it allows its adherents to support imperialism
of the old-fashioned gunboat diplomacy variety which
is precisely what the various East Timor "solidarity"
groups are now actively advocating. As lefties, at least in
the formal sense, they never come right out and say what it
is they want an invasion and military occupation of
East Timor by the West. What they say is that they want you
to call your congressman and urge him to vote for supporting
a United Nations contingent of "peacekeepers,"
paid for by the US and quite possibly involving US service
members wearing the UN's blue beret. For example, here is
the East Timor
Action Network on the subject of what action needs to
be taken: "The paramilitaries must be immediately disbanded.
The US must offer full support for increased UN personnel
and an expanded UN mission mandate. The UN must be granted
control of administration and security in East Timor."
your convenience, they list the telephone number and the fax
number of none other than Madeleine Albright's office at the
State Department: "Hello, Madeleine? Yes, it's me, Justin.
Fine, and how are you? Great! Well, listen, I was just
wondering: could you please restore peace, justice, and civil
society in East Timor just like you did in Kosovo?"
as in Kosovo, albeit on an even smaller scale, the US and
its allies are being pressured from the left to intervene
militarily on behalf of guerrilla insurgency that has cachet
and connections. And the ominous parallels with Kosovo don't
end there . . .
For the Fretilin is the South Asian equivalent of the Kosovo
Liberation Front, with some minor variations, a leftist secessionist
movement that traces its organizational and ideological ancestry
back to its origin as a revolutionary Marxist grouplet, yet
it is also the product of a religious identity. East Timor,
one of the last outposts of Portugal's imperial glory up until
1975, is overwhelmingly Catholic, and this gives the region
a distinct character not shared by the rest of Indonesia,
which is primarily Muslim and animist. The result is a blend
of Marxism and "liberation theology" of the sort
that energizes the Colombian ELN and guerrilla insurgencies
throughout South and Central America, and that secular American
leftists can identify with.
the independence movement is a broad front, at its core are
the armed forces of the rebels, commanded and controlled by
hardcore Marxist-Leninists. In 1975, in the wake of Portugal's
"Carnation Revolution," the Communist Party of Portugal
was riding high, and the mother country gave up the last of
its colonies. East Timor was set "free" and
the Commies moved quickly to stage a coup. In a pitched battle
with the moderate conservative UDT (Democratic Union of Timor),
the heavily-armed Fretilin fighters drove their enemies over
the border and set up a Marxist statelet that lasted a few
months, a kind of East Timorese Paris Commune, headquartered
in the capital "city" of Dili, that was crushed
by the Indonesian invasion. As to what it was like, living
under these models of Third World revolutionary virtue, the
UDT gives an indication in their letter of congratulations
to the Freitilin political figure Jose Ramos-Horta, upon his
receiving the Nobel Prize:
is not one single East Timorese who can claim that Mr. Ramos-Horta
was engaged in violence, directly or indirectly. Quite the
contrary, he was among the very vocal few who tried to control
the excesses and always displayed enormous tolerance and humanity.
He visited the prisoners and had tears in his eyes when he
heard of their mistreatment, and did not hesitate to express
his revulsion at meetings of the Fretilin Central Committee.
This caused him numerous serious problems with the extremists,
and more than once he was threatened with arrest and expulsion
SOCIAL DEMOCRAT AMONG LENINISTS
had the misfortune of being a social democrat among Leninists,
and was always viewed with suspicion. Even interceding on
the part of political prisoners from within Fretilin,
and advocating cooperation between the two pro-independence
factions, brought him the prospect of expulsion from "the
Party" or even death: "In 1978," writes the
UDT, "he argued for reconciliation between UDT and Fretilin.
He was attacked by the then Fretilin leader abroad, Mr. Abilio
Araujo, a Marxist-Leninist ideologue, and was labeled a 'traitor'.
Mr. Abilio Araujo is now a wealthy businessman in Lisbon,
but only a few years ago he was a dogmatic communist who branded
any one like Ramos-Horta a 'traitor' and a 'capitalist roader'.
Mr. Ramos-Horta was even physically threatened with death
by the extremists."
are that East Timor will turn out like Kosovo or like
East Timor in August of 1975, when the Dili Commune was at
its height if and when the UN "peacekeepers"
arrive. As the smoke clears, and the facts become more widely
disseminated, suddenly it seems that there are no "good"
guys, and that whatever gang is installed in the "capital
city" of East Timor makes little or no difference either
morally or practically. Such are the meager rewards of New
are substantial oil reserves in the Timor Gap, and the island
is rich in mineral resources, but East Timor itself is not
really the prize to be won in this battle. What is at stake
is the cohesion of the Indonesian nation-state, which appears
to be breaking up under the impact of a severe economic crisis.
With various "liberation" movements infesting the
thousands of islands that make up Indonesia, the secession
of East Timor under the auspices of the United Nations will
signal the beginning of a modern-day Gold Rush in the South
strategically important choke-point that, in hostile hands,
could block Mideast oil shipments to Japan and Australia,
Indonesia has been a client state of the US and the Western
powers since the beginning of the Cold War. From Sukarno to
Suharto and right up to the present day, the Indonesian generals
who are wreaking havoc on their own citizens were trained,
funded, and feted by our own government which is now
posing as the great champion of "human rights."
It is enough to make anyone retch, and so I hope you'll pardon
me while I run into the bathroom...
HOPE OF THE WORLD
Sorry about that, but I feel much much better!
Now, where was I? Oh yes, the sickening hypocrisy of the US
government well, you get the idea. All that really
remains to be said is that this is everyday life in the New
World Order: a sudden stream of refugees, harrowing reports
of alleged massacres, an "international army" assembled
to fight the "ethnic cleansers," rampant "militias,"
and evil "nationalists" cheered on by the
Western media and their trendy leftie camp followers. A more
depressing and oppressive future is hard to imagine. The only
hope of the world appeared on the front page of Antiwar.com
photo of those Indonesian nationalist students who were burning
the United Nations flag: that, regardless of who
and what it actually represented, is a precious and even heroic
symbol of resistance and hope.