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December 22, 2016
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August 10, 2011
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November 25, 1986
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Approved For Release 2011/08/10: CIA-RDP89GO072OR000600750008-5 War By Another Name An Address to the Commonwealth Club of California by Robert M, Gates, Deputy Director of Central Intelligence November 25, 1986 The most divisive and controversial part of American foreign policy for nearly four decades has been our effort in the Third World to preserve and defend pro-Western governments, to resist Communist aggression and subversion, and to promote economic development and democracy, Our continuing difficulty in formulating a coherent and sustainable bipartisan strategy for the Third World over two generations contrasts sharply with the Soviet Union's relentless effort there to eliminate Western influence, establish strategically located client Communist states, and to gain access to strategic resources. But while we may debate strategy and how to .respond, the facts of Soviet involve;-.,ent in major Third World conflicts are undeniable, Consider two very painful memories: -- It is clear that the Soviet Union, and Stalin personally, played a central role in prompting North Korea's invasi:n of the South in ? 5u,t,e cause of our Approved For Release 2011/08/10: CIA-RDP89GO072OR000600750008-5 Approved For Release 2011/08/10: CIA-RDP89GO072OR000600750008-5 first great post-war strategic debate over strategy in the Third World. Although the strategic consequences of a victory by North Vietnam were hotly debated in the US, we now see the Soviet Navy well entrenched in the great naval base at Cam Ranh Bay, and Vietnam's economic and military dependence on the Soviet Union; we recall the Soviet military supplyline that made Hanoi's victory possible, and remember Soviet help in the conquest of Laos and Cambodia. The resulting human suffering in Southeast Asia was even more horrifying than predicted, Somehow many Americans thought their first loss of a major foreign war -- Vietnam -- would have no important consequences, especially inasmuch as it was accompanied by so-called "detente" with the Soviet Union and the opening to China. Yet, it was in fact a major watershed in post World War 11 history, especially as it coincided with the collapse of Portugal's colonial empire in Africa: revolutions in Iran, Ethiopia and Nicaraguc; and Congressional actions in the mid-1970s cutting off all US assistance to the non-Communist forces in Angola, thus signaling the withdrawal of American support for opponents of Marxist-Leninist forces in the Third World. The effects of American defeat in Vietnam, the revolutions in Iran and Nicaragua, and the coming to power of bitterly Approved For Release 2011/08/10: CIA-RDP89GO072OR000600750008-5 Approved For Release 2011/08/10: CIA-RDP89GO072OR000600750008-5 antagonistic and aggressively destabilizing governments in all three countries undermined the confidence of US friends and allies in the Third World (not to mention in Europe and Japan) and ensured that an opportunistic Soviet Union would see in the Third World its principal foreign policy opportunities for years to come, And they moved aggressively to create or exploit such opportunities. Throughout the Third World, the Soviet Union and its clients for the past ten years have incited violence and disorder and sponsored subversion of neutral or pro-Western governments in El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, various Caribbean States, Chad, Sudan, Suriname, North Yemen, Oman, Pakistan, New Caledonia, South Korea, Grenada, and many others. The Soviet Union has affixed itself as a parasite to legitimate nationalist, anticolonial movements or to those who have overthrown repressive or incompetent regimes and tried wherever possible to convert or consolidate them into Marxist-Leninist dictatorships as in Nicaragua, Angola, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan. And now these same regimes in the process of consolidating power are fighting their own people, Open warfare by invading Communist armies is being waged in Cambodia and Afghanistan, And in most instances of state support for terrorism, the government involved is tied in some way to the USSR. Approved For Release 2011/08/10: CIA-RDP89GO072OR000600750008-5 Approved For Release 2011/08/10: CIA-RDP89GO072OR000600750008-5 These contemporary challenges to international order and stability -- and to democratic values -- certainly grow primarily out of localized and specific circumstances, To be sure, there are local economic, social, racial, human rights and other injustices, And many -- too many -- governments have demonstrated their capacity to inflict hardship and violence on their own people, But, that said, we cannot close our eyes to a common theme across the entire Third World and that is the pervasively destructive role of the Soviet Union and its clients, In 1919, Trotsky said that, "The road to London and Paris lies through Calcutta." This conviction that the West could more easily and effectively be weakened and made vulnerable through the Third World than by direct confrontation remains central to Soviet foreign policy, And if you question how critical this is for Moscow, remember that the Soviets allowed detente with the US, which was highly advantageous to them, to founder substantially with successive Presidents in the 1970s because the USSR refused to moderate its aggressive pursuit of Tnird World opportunities -- in Angola, Ethiopia, Nicaragua and Afghanistan, Approved For Release 2011/08/10: CIA-RDP89GO072OR000600750008-5 Approved For Release 2011/08/10: CIA-RDP89GO072OR000600750008-5 Subversion, Violence and Repression In the mid-1970s, new Soviet tactics in the Third World, combined with historic events and opportunities, emerged to challenge Western presence, progress toward democracy and sound economic development in the Third World, The new tactics were designed to minimize the chance of a repetition of disastrous setbacks such as their expulsion from Egypt in 1972 and the ouster of a Marxist regime in Chile in 1973, The strategy had five parts: First, the cornerstone of the new Soviet approach was the use of Cuban forces to establish and sustain the power of "revolutionary governments". They first helped consolidate radical power in Angola, This was followed by the dispatch of thousands of Cuban troops to Ethiopia where that regime also became dependent on their support, This tactic of using Third World Comr?ur:~t or radical states as surrogates in the Third World subsequently involved assisting Vietnam's conquest of the remainder of Indochina, Libya's designs in Chad and plotting against Sudan, South Yemen's aggression against Oman and North Yemen, and Cuba's support for regimes in Nicaragua, Grenada and Sur inorr,e :s well as the insurgency in El Salvador. Approved For Release 2011/08/10: CIA-RDP89GO072OR000600750008-5 Approved For Release 2011/08/10: CIA-RDP89GO072OR000600750008-5 -- Second, when radical governments came to power without the aid of foreign troops, as in Nicaragua, Soviets directly or through their surrogates such as East Germany helped in the establishment of an internal security structure to ensure that any possible challenge from within would be stamped out, -- Third, the Soviets continued to supplement these tactics with more traditional offerings such as technical and political training in the USSR, the rapid supply of weapons, and the use of a wide range of covert actions to support friends and to help defeat or destabilize unfriendly challengers or governments. -- Fourth, the USSR proved in Afghanistan that it would still be willing to launch its own forces at targets on its periphery -- and perhaps elsewhere -- when and if circumstances are right, -- Fifth, and finally, the Soviets advised new radical regimes to mute their revolutionary rhetoric and to try to keep their links to Western commercial resources, foreign assistance and international financial institutions. Soviet ambitions did not cloud their recognition that they could not afford more economic dependents such as Cuba and Vietnam, Approved For Release 2011/08/10: CIA-RDP89GO072OR000600750008-5 Approved For Release 2011/08/10: CIA-RDP89GO072OR000600750008-5 Soviet support for the radical regimes that it has helped established has been sustained, The Soviets and their East European allies have provided military and economic assistance to Nicaragua over the past five years approaching $2,5 billion dollars. Compare this with the highly controversial $100 million American progran to assist the resistance in that country, The Soviets have provided a full range of military weapons and support and also have become Nicaragua's major source of economic aid. They are attempting to shore up a Nicaraguan economy rapidly deteriorating because of slumping industrial and agricultural production, falling export earnings and cutbacks in Western funding, The Soviet nion has replaced Mexico as Nicaragua's primary supplier of oil. In Angola, total Communist military and economic assistance now stands at almost $3.5 billion, most of it since 1984, Almost all of that assistance is military, T-e Soviets are not particularly generous, however, and because A-,gola in the past has had the ability to pay, the Soviets and :bans have required payment for material and techniciar-~ in hard currency, thus adding to the country's economic probleT:. It is in Afghanistan, however, that the `jll measure of Soviet ambitions in the Third World can be tc