The Pakistan of South America
Like Fallujah, the Americans defeated a brutal indigenous insurgency in El Salvador, with peace accords signed in the early 90’s, the regime and its ideological cohorts in Havana and Moscow were put to rest. This region experienced the worlds longest genocide, the Mayan (Guatemalan) civil war began during the Eisenhower administration and would find its peak under Reagan when Jesuits lining the Nicaraguan regime abandoned their pretext of orthodoxy and joined the insurgents. Revolutionary Marxism has found a near permanent home in Central America. Like Fallujah, we can’t go back.
These are important cultural, strategic, even geo-strategic fault lines. Anbar province was pacified. Now its not. South America reaching through the Panamanian isthmus northward to Mexico was an ardent Soviet beachhead. As Taiwan remains a forward staging base for American operations into China, Cuba was for Moscow. Even still, the romantic revolutionary image of priests and indigenous fighters looming in jungles wasn’t something a President could win. And yet Reagan got it done.
The El Salvadorian insurgency or C.O.I.N. (counter-insurgency) was deeply brutal, it was also performed at a time when members of Reagan’s National Security Council were split over Congressional advances in Church & Boland amendments usurping our separation of powers doctrine; this is the source of the physical shoving match between Jean Kirkpatrick and Ed Messe. Both were right; sales to Iranian moderates would be subjected to impeachment proceedings (Meese), while Kirkpatrick’s stalwart defense of conservative Constitutional architecture would ultimately prevail.
On January 16, 1992 El Salvador was reborn. The signing was at the Chapultepec castle in Mexico City. The formal end of a decade plus civil war was over. The agreement underwrote El Salvador’s contemporary political order. But then geostrategic components of neoliberalism changed much that harnessed the region. Iranian Shia sought and built hegemony beneath Brazil commandeering coca resources moving northwest into the Caribbean. Failed States grew as did lucrative black markets, child trafficking and more.
El Salvador today is a failed state. Civil strife is between gangs and government officials. The flaws of main political parties are the heirs to the combatants of previous civil wars. The right wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) are seeking to displace leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). Neither side knows either leadership or statesmanship. The clash between these two dominant groups doesn’t permit a vision of the country.
Its Pakistan in Central America; a praetorian state.
Whether or not former Roman Catholic sanctuaries; former Spanish dependencies can learn to accommodate the demands of our market based political economy has yet to be known.
What Reagan and the CIA delivered for El Salvador cannot be duplicated. The wheels are off the governing architecture, we’ll need to wait it out while Iranian infantry alloyed to the dreams of millennial theocratic state move forward to envelop North America.
Let’s hope the Americans can gather together a team and field leadership.
Originally published on William Holland’s blog.