Saturday, March 28, 2015

US double-speak on regime change

Back on February 14th I wrote about claims that the US was coordinating a coup against Venezuela. About halfway through my post I noticed a State Dept briefing with Jen Psaki and AP reporter Matt Lee that talked about America's
longstanding policy, the United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means. Political transitions must be democratic, constitutional, peaceful, and legal.
Later on February 26th I wrote about how media, including one's I admire like FAIR and Democracy Now! had or had not covered the story on the coup attempt against Venezuela.

Then on March 11th after Obama signed new sanctions against Venezuela Democracy Now had a great segment with Professor Miguel Tinker Salas which brought up the press briefing with Jen Psaki and Matt Lee almost a month later where Professor Salas said
MIGUEL TINKER SALAS: I would have loved if that kind of exchange would have got broader diffusion in the U.S. press, but the fact is that it hasn’t.
I can't agree more, but I noticed it a month earlier on the day it happened! RSS feeds people! They really work so you don't miss things...

AND because I am not yet as popular as Democracy Now (LOL) they get to say this and I do not
A week ago Democracy Now! aired this short clip from a recent State Department press briefing about Venezuela. It has since gone viral.
Professor Salas added 
And we continue to have the belief that the U.S. does not—is not involved in unconstitutional change in Latin America. And as a historian, the record speaks just the opposite, from ’53 in Guatemala to the Dominican Republic, to Chile in ’73, and through the support of the Argentine military dictatorships and Brazil, and, if we want to go even closer, to 2002 in Venezuela, when the U.S. actually did support a coup against the democratically elected Hugo Chávez, the shortest coup in the world, and the coup that brought Chávez back to power, and then again in Honduras in 2009, and, not shortly thereafter, in Paraguay with Lugo, where they said it was a democratic transition, when in fact it was an unconstitutional shift in power. So, again, the notion that the U.S. has not supported both military coups directly or through what they call soft power is really ludicrous.
WHICH BRINGS ME TO TODAY'S POINT--Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

After Jen Psaki announced America's "long standing policy" of not supporting regime change (besides the obvious Iraq) I say "Assad?"

UN Ambassador Samantha Power on The Takeaway on Monday March 23rd (emphasis mine)
the only solution, she argues, is the political dismantling of the Assad regime.
This is not a regime whose existence, whose perpetuation is compatible with peace.
Bringing down the regime while maintaining what little stability is left in the region will be complicated.
Power also remains adamant that, despite the length and brutality of the Syrian Civil War, Assad will be brought down and his regime will be held responsible for its acts.
“We’re never going to give up, and a regime that commits acts like this will eventually be held accountable," she says. "It may feel like that day is a ways off right now because this regime has again, tragically, the support of two powerful countries, but that day will come. We have the evidence, we know who’s responsible and they will be held to account.”
 Also note that "regime" is used 11 times in a short interview.  I agree that Assad is a brutal dictator, but I thought we were against regime change.  Oh well.

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