This is the second part of a three-part book review of Naomi Klein's best seller, The Shock Doctrine. In the first part, I reviewed the definition of Shock Doctrine as presented by Naomi in the book and what its two major components look like. I identified the timeline in question as well as the parameters in which she presents her ideas. I also discussed her definition of the doctrine that those who promote it along with the ingredients necessary for such a plan to take place.
In this section I will review the evolution of Shock Doctrine over the time period in question, mainly the 1970s onwards, and review its impact in the specified regions. I will present a before and after analysis as required in order to highlight her main points and show the effectiveness of this program. I will also tie in the various major proponents of this doctrine and their roles to date. I have also included a small critique of those parts I feel are missing, but necessarily affect the overall understanding of the impact of Shock Doctrine when applied.
In the final article I will show where we are with Shock Doctrine today according to Naomi, and expand out beyond her book, given the recent developments that have occurred since its publication. I will perform a global review of the major salient points of her book and present her conclusion, as well as my personal comments on it. We must, however, always keep in mind that her entire thread reviews Shock Doctrine and its effects on other nations, the so-called third world. Up to the publishing of her book, that is where the majority of this doctrine has been applied. The industrialized world had been spared these disasters until very recently. In all fairness, it would have been near impossible for Naomi to anticipate the events that have unfolded since its release, yet the same parameters and the same essential results should be, and are, expected. The main difference is, we are now seeing the Shock Doctrine being applied to the industrialized world as well.
The beginnings of Shock Doctrine
Naomi Klein is correct to point out that Milton Friedman, the godfather of Shock Doctrine, was not the first to implement its strategies on a global basis. In fact, these principles are nothing but modern versions of age old ideals encapsulated in the time-honored doctrine, "To the victor belongs the spoils." This well-known maxim can be easily identified throughout history and indeed, even Columbus, and those who followed him, showed how ruthlessly this postulate can be played out when the victors hold all the cards and the spoils are theirs for the taking. The genocides in both North and South America are testimony to the Western world's never-ceasing desire to rape and pillage men and land of the New World in the name of their respective homelands, be they Spain, Portugal, France, England or the United States.
In the post-WWII world, the first to succumb to the impatience of Western pillage would be Iran, though Ms. Klein doesn't mention it. When Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran tried to implement Mexican-style nationalization of its oil industry in 1951, the US and Great Britain created a modern putsch that removes him and returns monarchical power to the country, thus ensuring decades of unwavering Western support and ruthless totalitarian rule over the citizens of Iran.
The first moment that Ms. Klein brings in modern Shock Doctrine is in Indonesia where President Sukarno had been despised by Western powers since his rise to power at the end of WWII. He was a champion of worker's rights, the poor, equality for all, and fiercely loyal to his Indonesian roots, all of which made him a detested figure in the West. Naomi is right to point out that the CIA, fresh on its victories in putsches in Latin America, looked to continue its reign of terror in the Pacific in a country that was teeming with natural resources and ripe for the taking. But here it would be Berkeley economic professors, not the Chicago boys led by Friedman, who would initiate the Shock Doctrine method made famous by Milton years later. The purges, the list of Communist sympathizers, the mass killings and the peasant revolt over ethnic domination lead to around one million needless deaths, the takeover of the mineral wealth by the West, the complete domination of the country by Western powers to the exclusion of all things Indonesian, and the misery and abject poverty of the great majority of the Indonesian people for over five decades. Their suffering continues to this day.
Milton Friedman's introduction into the camp of Shock Doctrine is rightly placed by Ms, Klein as Chile in 1973. Her presentation of the entry of the Chicago School of Economics, and Professor Friedman in particular, is well done and extensive. She tends to minimize the effect of the violence of the crowds who sometimes acted in concert with the Doctrine, and sometimes on their own, but her presentation here of the usefulness and efficacy of it is spot on. The one critique I will insert here, and it's not a major one, would be the lack of disclosure of all the businesses that profited handsomely from such endeavors, here and throughout. It is time that we flood the newsnetosphere with their past deeds and high crimes.
Much to Chile's chagrin, Professor Friedman was incredibly successful at the modern raping and pillaging of Chile's wealth for his corporate masters. His acclaim in Western economic circles, academia and political governance is almost immediate. Here, Ms. Klein is exceptional at describing the pain and suffering endured by the Chileans during the brutal regime of General Pinochet, the West's puppet leader who kowtowed to Washington, not Santiago. She also showed how he was not the first choice, dispelling the oft-misused concept that all Latin Americans are somehow not patriotic and prefer to sell their souls to the devil, in this case Western powers most often the US, rather than defend their country, their homeland and their independence. As can be amply shown by the recent worldwide economic crisis which has destroyed the US economy as well as many others, American and Western banksters have no problem selling out their very own countries in the name of greed. They have many peers across the globe who think nothing of personal gain at national expense, including a few in power and in the military in Latin America.
Her inclusion of the disasters created as a result of the Shock Doctrine in Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia and across Latin America created a very comprehensive, though incomplete list of the West's intervention, which can easily be called: America's foreign policy. Countries like Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and others, have their stories as well.
Today, Latin America is still reeling from the effects of the latest US-imposed Shock Doctrine, the global economic meltdown, which has hit the world like an economic tsunami of horrific social scale. Though little noticed in Western media, but properly signaled in Naomi's book written before the current crisis, is the new coalition of continental mercados, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina and Chile. This contemporary Southern Cone is driving these countries past the American IEDs (improvised economic debacles) and on to more prosperous pastures beyond. Ms. Klein's description of this phenomenon is well done. As she states, The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) is the answer to the American de facto foreign policy of continued usurpation and enslavement enforced by the US in the latter half of the 20th Century.
Europe - Eastern Bloc Becomes Eastern Bust
Throughout the 70s and 80s the US foreign policy use of the Shock Doctrine destroyed country after country in Latin America. Though the policy of world shock has always been at the fore of the ideals surrounding the Shock Doctrine, the fact that the Soviet Union and its satellite allies of the Eastern Bloc did not participate in the Bretton Woods Agreement, and were therefore ineligible for IMF and WB aid, prevented the US and its shock troops from spreading their doctrine to those countries. This, however, dramatically changed in the early 1980s. The Polish Union, Solidarity, and its leader, Lech Walesa, brought that country to center stage and provided Professor Friedman and his horde of economic mercenaries to the very steppes of the Soviet Union, well almost.
I had a chance to visit Warsaw, Poland, in December,1978,
my 1978 picture of the chopin bust taken at his museum outside Warsaw
and though the trip was merely six days, it was one of the most memorable I've ever taken. Warsaw (Polish for "Man/Woman" where "Wars" = "Man" and "Sawa" = "Woman") is a beautiful European city steeped in history, lore and culture. One tip to the wise, NEVER visit Warsaw, Poland, in December, unless your idea of fun is slipping and sliding around town and falling on your bum everywhere you go.