Did the US really help in the birth of Timor’s democracy in 1999. Was it
not Ford and Kissinger who gave the green light for Indonsia to invade East
Timor, did America not underpin the occupation with money and weapons, yes
to our shame Britain did the same. It that case is America not responsible
for destroying the Timorese people’s chance to form a democracy after
Portugal gave them independance?
America was never forced to invade and bomb Iraq, and of course Howard is
doing a good job of acting deputy in Asia – so guess Samuel and Eric need
not worry too much about China, Howard’s doing a good job of stealing the
oil resources from Timor Leste.
Lidia Tyneside East Timor Solidarity.
—– Original Message —– From: “ETAN”
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2007 12:30 PM
Subject: Boston Globe: US must reassert global leadership
> US must reassert global leadership
> By Samuel R. Berger and Eric P. Schwartz | September 5, 2007
> IN THE CAPITOL of East Timor, a gleaming Presidential Palace is
> rising, near a sparkling new seaside compound for the Foreign
> Ministry. How can a struggling, newly independent East Timor afford
> such impressive projects? They are gifts from the government of
> China, along with army barracks, new uniforms for Timor’s soldiers,
> and a range of technical assistance and exchange programs.
> Of course, China has every right to extend its influence in East
> Timor through the fulsome use of its accumulating resources. But this
> application of Chinese “soft power” is ironic, as it was the United
> States that helped to midwife the birth of Timor’s democracy in 1999
> by deploying thousands of troops in support of a peacekeeping force
> that helped guarantee Timorese independence. Six years later,
> consumed by the economic and military pressures of our grinding
> engagement in Iraq, the United States led the charge to remove a
> follow-up UN force that ensured stability in Timor, while cutting
> bilateral aid by nearly 40 percent between 2001 and 2006.
> Certainly, Timor is not a national security priority for the United
> States. But the story of East Timor is being played out around the
> world by China and other powers, as the United States scales back its
> engagements in Asia, Latin America, and Africa under the weight of
> our preoccupation with Iraq. These developments have serious and
> perhaps irreversible strategic consequences.
> While we have burned in Iraq, others have fiddled. China’s diplomacy
> goes far beyond East Timor. The Chinese are providing several
> billions of dollars in aid for roads, ports, and bridges from Laos to
> Cambodia to the Philippines, far outstripping US aid and engagement
> in the region, and rivaling World Bank and Asian Development Bank aid
> programs. China also has advanced its interests in Africa; the
> prospect of trade and aid brought more than 40 African heads of state
> to a Beijing summit last year. The result was $5 billion in new loans
> and credit, nearly $2 billion in immediate trade and investment
> deals, and the prospect of increased cooperation on oil, gas, and
> mineral resources to help fuel China’s rapid economic expansion.
> Similarly, President Vladimir Putin is using muscle and money to lay
> the groundwork for Russian dominance over former Soviet neighbors, as
> well as European energy resources. Though the United States was
> making inroads a decade ago among Central Asian nations as we sought
> to encourage their economic and political alignment with the West,
> more recently Putin has concluded regional energy deals that
> drastically strengthen Russian influence – including an agreement
> with Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan for a gas pipeline along the Caspian
> coast to Russia. Russia’s diplomatic gains put in peril US and
> European-supported energy pipeline projects that would promote
> diversification of supplies. The agreements have belatedly caught the
> attention of senior US officials, but the horse is out of the barn.
> Iraq was Secretary Robert Gates’s rationale for postponing a
> long-planned visit to Latin America, another region where the United
> States is ceding power and influence. Last March, in a graphic
> demonstration of changing US fortunes there, tens of thousands of
> citizens of Argentina – not so long ago one of America’s closest
> allies in the region – cheered Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez as he
> denounced the United States at a Buenos Aires rally timed to coincide
> with President Bush’s trip to the region. To be sure, most Latin
> Americans are skeptical about Chavez’s pretensions to regional
> leadership and his authoritarianism. But stagnant US aid flows,
> neglect of issues such as immigration and trade reform, and
> diplomatic back-of-the-hand have generated broad distrust of US
> policy throughout the region, which has made it easier for Chavez to
> pursue his populist and anti-American vision.
> The sad fact is that the United States is bogged down on the wrong
> playing field, leaving a vacuum in the rest of the world. Others are
> moving in to fill that void, to the long-term geopolitical
> disadvantage of the United States. The time has come to disentangle
> ourselves from the misadventure in Iraq and reassert America’s
> leadership and global engagement.
> Samuel R. Berger was national security adviser from 1997 to 2000.
> Eric P. Schwartz was senior director for multilateral and
> humanitarian affairs at the National Security Council during this period.