The Comintern, or Communist International, also known as the Third International, was the 1919 creation of Vladimir Lenin.
Its declared purpose: Fight “by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and for the creation of an international Soviet republic …”
Fomenting the communist revolution worldwide was, in brief, the Comintern’s mission.
At its Seventh World Congress in 1935, however, on Stalin’s orders, the Comintern repudiated the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism as its mission and called for formation of Popular Fronts in Western nations to combat fascism — a Moscow First policy.
For this act of heresy, Trotsky, the champion of permanent revolution, excommunicated Stalin as a “reformist” — and was himself rewarded in 1940 with an ice ax in the head, courtesy of Stalinist assassin Ramon Mercader.
But Trotskyism did not die with Leon Trotsky. It mutated and is today the taproot of that neoconservatism that calls for permanent revolution to advance not global communism, but global democracy. Today, this ideology is embedded in the Party of Reagan and the Bush administration, and neoconservatives are using tax dollars to create and operate their own Neo-Comintern.
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which pumps out tens of millions of dollars to “promote democracy” abroad, is its pivotal agency. For 20 years, it has been headed by Carl Gershman, who broke from the Socialist Party to organize Social Democrats USA, which rallied to the candidacy of liberal Democratic Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson, whose staff was a nesting ground of neocons from Richard Perle to Frank Gaffney to Elliott Abrams.
One organization captured by the Neo-Comintern is Freedom House. Founded by Eleanor Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie in 1941 as a voice for global democracy and human rights, Freedom House, on the eve of the Iraq war, chose as its new chairman ex-CIA Director James Woolsey. By his first anniversary in office, Woolsey had declared Vladimir Putin’s Russia “un-free” and was beating the drums for “World War IV” against “Islamofascism.”
Flush with tax dollars and tax-deductible contributions, NED, Freedom House and their collaborator foundations and think tanks now routinely interfere in the internal affairs of foreign nations. Under the rubric of promoting democracy, creating free markets, etc., they seek to dethrone recalcitrant rulers and advance to power those who share their ideology and will advance their interests and agenda.
Democracy is our goal, the neocons claim. But viewing their target lists in the Middle East, Near East, Central Asia and Latin America, it is perhaps more exact to say the Neo-Comintern seeks destabilization of any and all regimes that fail to meet its criteria for membership in their world democratic revolution.
Though a radical leftist populist, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez was democratically elected. He charges that NED had a hand in the 2002 coup that briefly overthrew his government and in the recall election forced upon him in 2004. Foreign journalists contend that the color-coded popular “revolutions” that ousted Milosevic in Serbia, Shevardnadze in Georgia and the Kuchma crowd in Ukraine were also made in the USA and hand-tooled at Langley.
Observing Kiev’s “orange revolution” unfold, the Guardian’s Ian Traynor called it “an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in Western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavory regimes.”
Russian President Putin, however, is a former KGB colonel who knows a little about subversion and wants to guarantee that what happened to his friends in Belgrade and Kiev does not happen to him or his chosen successor when he transfers power in 2008. And he is moving to restrict, and perhaps expedite the expulsion of, all American and Western meddlers in Russian politics.
“Organizations functioning in our country and involved in political activity are basically being used as instruments of foreign policy of other states,” says Putin. And the man has a point.
Which raises questions for our own government. By what right does the United States, through tax-funded and tax-exempt organizations, interfere in the politics of nations that have not attacked or threatened us? Were the Chinese to intrude in the politics of Mexico and Central America as we have in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, would we not be enraged? Would we not react?
Given that resentment of the United States is pandemic in Latin America, the Middle East and Europe, what benefits do we derive from incessantly intruding in the internal affairs of these nations to justify the rising cost in elite and popular ill will?
Did we defeat the world communist revolution only to launch our own world democratic revolution? Did we bury the Comintern of Stalin only to create our own? What happened to the America that minded her own business? Why is Bush outsourcing foreign policy to neocons who are the source of most of his headaches today?