Do so eh like so

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
January 08, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIt would be hilarious if the issue were not so deadly serious. President Barack Obama accuses the Russians of undermining the US presidential election and the Senate Armed Services Committee holds intelligence hearings to discover why President Vladimir Putin tried to sabotage the will of the American people. Such treachery, President Obama suggests, throws us back into a past from which American citizens have turned their gazes.

Paradoxically, Russia’s interference in the US election forces us to look at a darker side of America’s history. It reminds one of America’s amnesia of its past acts such as its treatment of its native people when President Andrew Jackson (1829-37) removed millions of American Indians from their native land. This international crime is well documented in Gloria Jahoda’s Trail of Tears.

America interfered in the elections of many countries during the twentieth century. In 1915, the US invaded Haiti and remained there until 1934. It even took over Haiti’s Treasury. In 1947, the US poured millions of dollars into the Italian elections in support of the Christian Democrats to defeat the Communist candidates. In 1953, together with Britain, the US overthrew Cheddi Jagan’s democratically elected government in Guyana. At that time, British M15 agents were based in Trinidad.

That same year, with British help again, the United States overthrew Mohammed Mosaddeq, the democratically elected leader of Iran. In 2006, Bernie Sanders reminded Americans of this perfidious act. In 1973, the US played a major role in overthrowing Chile’s Salvador Allende, the first democratically elected Marxist head of state. The US Church Senate Committee showed that “three American presidents supported covert action against Allende” (Harvard Crimson, September 9, 1975). In November 2016, Sanders remarked that these issues “somehow don’t quite make it onto ABC.”

The US was also active in Africa. I knew Franklin Williams and Clyde Ferguson, the United States ambassadors to Ghana and Uganda respectively, when Kwame Nkrumah and Milton Obote were overthrown.

I met Ambassador Williams at Fordham University in 1971. He was a member of Fordham University’s Board of Trustees and the president of Phelps Stokes Fund that connected emerging leaders in Africa with the Americas. He went to Barbados and was disparaged about his participation in Nkrumah’s overthrow in 1966.

On a subsequent occasion Williams swore to me he had nothing to do with Nkrumah’s coup d’état. Nkrumah, however, was particularly harsh on him. In Dark Days in Ghana, Nkrumah wrote: “It is alleged that the US Ambassador Franklin Williams offered the traitors 13 million dollars to carry out a coup d’état….It is particularly disgraceful that it should have been an Afro-American ambassador who sold himself out to the imperialists and allowed himself to be used in this way.”

Williams responded to this allegation by saying if he had known the US was going to overthrow Nkrumah he would have warned him [Nkrumah] about it.

I wasn’t sure where the truth lay.

In 1976 my academic career took me to Harvard University where I spent five years as an assistant professor. I met Ambassador Ferguson, one of three black faculty members at Harvard’s Law School. He also served as a member of my promotions committee.

We became friends. I pressed him on the overthrow of these leaders. I wanted to know why he and Williams, both black, were implicated in their overthrow. Between 1962 and 1967 seventeen African heads of state were removed from office by coup d’états, assassinations, forced retirements and army mutinies.

One evening over a drink he told me he had nothing to do with Obote’s overthrow, his having no connections to the US intelligence community. Intelligence between CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and its operatives in the field is transmitted via the first secretary of the embassy.
Generally, the first secretary in any embassy deals with the intelligence operations of their respective countries. The ambassador, a political appointee, has little to do with these matters. He said: “All I asked the first secretary was to let me know what was happening so I wouldn’t be taken by surprise.” Like Williams, he assured me that his hands were clean with regards to Obote.

Therefore, it came as no surprise when President Obama ejected 35 Russian intelligence operatives from the US in response to Russia’s interference in the US election. Each government knows where the spies are, there being a tacit understanding that each country always acts in its own best interests.

In response to Obama’s action, Putin invited the children of US diplomats to join him at the Kremlin to see their Christmas tree.

We need not be upset about Russia’s intrusion into the US election nor fooled by US hyperventilating about it. We know that “when elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers.” For most of the twentieth century, Africa and the Third World have suffered from US and Russian interference in their political affairs.

In times like these times, it might be wise for the grasses to let the elephants know “Do so eh like so.”

Prof Cudjoe’s e-mail address is scudjoe@wellesley.edu. He can be reached @ProfessorCudjoe.

4 Responses to “Do so eh like so”


  • Excellent piece, very insightful into the inner workings of American global influence.
    American influence globally is dying. The Phillipines just welcome a Russian warship to its shore and their President openly called Obama the son of a b*tch, whilst hailing the Chinese President. NATO under American leadership cannot stop Putin as was demonstrated when he invaded Crimea, and is working to regain some of the States given up post USSR. A few days ago the Americans started shipping tanks to Lituania, in a bid to stop or slow Putin.

    The war in Iraq under Bush junior was intended to make American presence in the Middle East stronger, the Russians working with Iran held their hand. Then came Syria where Obama expressed one of the most convoluted policies and started arming and training Mercenaries who would join ISIS and fight Assad. There they work for the better employer who happen to be ISIS who captured several oil wells and was selling oil on the black market and funding their campaign. The US did not bomb their convoys entering into a Turkey. Along came Putin like a cowboy he bomb the convoys, sent in his warplanes secured Aleppo and thumbed his nose at Obama. Obama was obviously enraged and waited for Putin. He found his revenge in the last election where America with the most sophisticate spying and blocking apparatus was a victim of Russian hacking… Huh.

    The long and short of it is the Cold War is on. The players are changing and how Trump handles Putin will require a reality ring side seat. The players America is facing is Russia and China. These players have “honed” in their skills and are ready to “pounce” at any moment. They are strong leaders who command the respect of their military. Trump does not have the time for military briefing that is required everyday, nor does he trust the military establishment with leaders in the Republican Party even going again his “love Russia” relationship. America needs enemies to keep its Trillion dollars war machine “well oiled”. Trump will prove to be an interesting President on the world stage. Can he handle China, Russia and all the growing global anti Americanism? Will the home front turn into a battlefront for those waiting to seize the opportunity to end his presidency. Without doubt he has made more enemies than any other past presidents. Inauguration Day I am sure will commence with internal descent and protest. We wait and see!

  • As Obama set to make his final speech as President of the United States, the political pundits are sharpening their pencils getting ready to write his obituary.

    Obama has been a colorful president who made his mark in many ways. Obamacare was his pet project that came under consistent and unreasonable attacks from the tea party operatives in the Republican Party. It was frowned at and treated as a not so well thought out plan, Trump promising to do better. Big Pharma may acquiest to the Donald belligerent behavior and drop prices on medicine. In turn he may give them tax breaks. But back to Obama.

    For 78 consistent months the American economy grew, which is a record level of growth under his presidency. He deported more Latinos and others under his presidency due to the well budgeted Homeland security setup (a buddy of mines work for them). He killed more terrorist than any other president, using drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His prize kill was American’s number one enemy Bin Laden.

    Where he lost marks was on the gay agenda where he became a strong proponent of same sex marriage. Many nations across the world look to America on this issue and was disappointed that the leader of the free world subscribed to it. He could and should have adopted an “ambiguous” position as he did with abortion. With abortion he said it was a woman/Doctor issue, then he tempered it down by saying he would like to see abortion reduced to an acceptable level and we need to take the emotion out of the debate. But that’s my two cents on it. The first black President leader of the free world deserves an A-. This from an observe not connected to American internal politics.

  • Dr Francis Fukuyama,was the intellectual darling ,for most of the delusional West ,back in the days, when Gobachev , decided to raise, de ideological ,White flag, thus burying the former USSR , to second fiddle status, & in the process, placed the world on a tailspin-resulting in socio economic com political chaos/interethnic conflicts, causing millions of lost lives-perhaps more,than that which occurred, via well documented,USA/USSR Proxy Wars ,during the ugly, devisive Cold War.
    The sigh of relief formed by nations, anticipating possible peace,with the constipated UN ,obtaining new life-Security Council,corporation , agreements /supports- was however short lived.
    It is in this context , one must view Russia ,and by extention ,it’s hero leader Valdimir Putin-desperate to regain old glory, as the arrogant West, led by Pax Americana,overeach.
    It is also within this reality , we must now look at a Donald Trump, with his Putin “Bromance”flirtations,or least we forget, the politically impotent EU,& perpetually whining ,snobbish/contemptious Britain ,& her push towards the Brexit door.
    So instead of solely focusing on Franciis Fukuyama,& his escapist ,”End of History ,”International Relations theory, greater credence should be given instead , to ‘The Clash of Civilization ,and the remaking of World Order,”‘ as promoted by Professor Samaul P . Huntington. .
    I know , this might be a bit over your head Mambioo,but a little less time l slurping up the nonesense as parrotted by Faux Five,CNN,BBC,&Al Jazerra,followed by some indept reading can be fun,if really interested. i’ll assume you are not ,so here is my true response, for your level of understanding.
    Just kidding mi amigo’-
    maybe.’

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/ghana-nana-akufo-addo-caught-plagiarism-row-170108165213500.html

    To your direct point Mamboo,it was Mark Twain , who once said,”The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
    Last I checked Mamboo, even Tin Pan , undemocratic African leaders, were plagerizing speeches, as they try to mimic who again?
    Americans, not Chinese ,such as Deng Xiaping , closet KGB Criminal Russians, such as Putin, or buffoonic , Vodka slurping drunks , such as post USSR puppet ,Boris Yelsin .
    Not to be outdone Mamboo,some 90% of your ancestral land India ,females, from fake Hazel eyes/Cosmetic over made up,-Bolloywood movie princess -wannabe , to barefeet Mumbai street beggers ,&desperate Deli Prostitutes,all want to mimic the -allegedly – more sexually desirous,American Hollywood ,White Air heads -pill popping freaks.
    Yet here you are Mamboo, naively claming that Pax Americana’s influence is dying. You are kidding right?
    For heavens sake ,our PM Dr Keith,has aPhd Candidate daughter, studying,not at UWI ,Toronto University ,or Oxford,but at Dr Cudjoe’s Alma Marter,Fordham University -located in decadent Zoo York.
    A former PP acting PM, three kids ,are living in America,and won’t change that for nada. Yep, their Papa might like Russia, so much so , that he gave her the greenlight to host a World Cup,but that’s where the love ends.
    Two ,of said kids ,’ me think ,’are in Obama’s Federal Prison -for not ratting out crooked papa, Jack-FIFA-Warner.
    The other had-well ,last I checked- his own office , in Trump , pricy ,Westside Manhattan Plaza Hotel.
    During her disasterous 5 year political reign ,each time your PM,Auntie Kamla,
    got dat certain itch for…ummmmm… new shoes-her addiction-she would grab her eat ah food sister, & run to America, using some insignificant ,mid level ministeral conference as the excuse.
    As a matter of fact, to prove my point as to the still significant draw, by the world’s sole remaining Superpower,/Global Policeman ,) over lesser peons,I’ll place a bet with you Mamboo.
    If you win, I’ll give you a million dollars- which I’ll beg Jack – FIFA-Warner,or maybe,defunct HCU ,White Color bandit ,Harie Harinarine,to loan me.
    Here is the bet-,my country hating Pizzano.
    Just ask one of your 50 Grand pickenyes ,which country they wish to go to , after they leave de Mayaro High School , to further their education?
    Don’t respond,for I already know de answer, & it aint Russia,China ,Germany , Britain,or heavens forbid -ungovernable ,Islamist terror cesspool, France.
    I rest my case.
    You see Mamboo,we can’t really blame you for being so short sighted,re these sophisticated Global affairs.
    That bastard Papa of yours,is the culprit, who prevented you,& your 24 other siblings , from finishing Primary School.
    The hatred/ contempt that the Nut job ,human rights abusing Phillipines President , or that Israeli Warmonger PM Natanyahu , possess for Barrack Hussain Obama, does not likewise mean they hate America.
    Both for obvious reasons,are jumping over each other as we speak to see who can get their fangs ,on a bigger share of Donald Trump rear end.
    Trust me when I say Mamboo,America has it’s socio-political domestic problems.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/mass-shootings-in-america/?hpid=hp_no-name_graphic-story-b%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

    Yet ,we ask. Do you think America , would allow 60 thousand , chiefly racist, White spectators ,in a stadium , to yell monkey, or throw banana skin on the field, each time a Black player touch a balll ,without there being a huge backlash?
    Well ,this is quite common in Span,Italy, France,& Russia .
    No need to remind us of the obvious- since emerging victorious from the Cold War, America has done a sub par job , in terms of leadership on the international front.
    It still remains-IDEALY- the land of opportunity ,& hope ,for many-of alp stripes-with the will to succeed.
    Doubt me? Ok,but tell me again,can a former Eastern European alleged Sex Escort ..umm-Model-with an ugly accent-become the spose of the present Russian Premier? Nyet!
    Wll China make a South Asian Immigant, Indo Sikh such as Niki,the Governor of say,Beijing,or
    it’s Ambassador to the UN ?
    Ain’t happening-even if she married Chairm Mao ,great,great grand son.

    https://www.google.tt/amp/www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-3964906/amp/Trumps-UN-pick-brings-limited-foreign-experience-job.html?client=ms-android-samsung

    Since the world is now consideredc a Global village, then it becomes iperative ,that we become acquainted with forces that can work against our national interest-both domestic,& foreign,then find prudent ways, to countetact same-both individually,& collectively,one can add.
    To bolster my point –
    If Venezuela ,por ejemplo ,get an economic runny nose , or political stomach ache-as they are presently doing-our T&T will come down with phenumonia ,or heart failure.It’s that simple T&T.
    An excellent ,thought provocing piece, as usual Doc.
    Thanks.
    Stay Vigilant people!

  • This is an excellent piece Dr. Cudjoe and you are indeed spot on in much of your analysis.

    I am not too surprised by the backlash against President-Elect Donald Trump in the November 8 election, although I must say that the intensity and ferocity (the violent protects, for example) has indeed been an eye-opener for me.

    Now, it is one thing for American citizens to protest against Mr. Trump’s victory and quite another for President Obama to embarrass himself with his unwise decision to expel Russian diplomats. To use a cricketing term, he bowled a rank fulll toss to President Putin who duly dispatched the delivery to the boundary. President Putin’s response to the expulsion has indeed humiliated President Obama (although Mr. Obama may not realize it) and has made Mr. Obama’s actions akin to that of a petulant child.

    On the actual subject of election interference, in addition to the examples provided above, there is even one more glaring example, which Mr. Obama needs to be mindful of:

    http://www.cnsnews.com/blog/michael-w-chapman/state-dept-350k-group-built-campaign-structure-used-against-election-israels

    So I think that President Obama should think very carefully before going down the road of accusing others of election interference, especially given America’s own history of election interference.

    The hypocrisy reeks to high heaven.

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