Saturday, July 06, 2013


Wall Street Journal urges a Pinochet for Egypt

Egyptians would be lucky if their new ruling generals turn out to be in the mold of Chile's Augusto Pinochet, who took power amid chaos but hired free-market reformers and midwifed a transition to democracy. If General Sisi merely tries to restore the old Mubarak order, he will eventually suffer Mr. Morsi's fate.Wall Street Journal editorial, 7/4/2013

by Larry Geller

Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte

Snipped from the Wikipedia:

On 23 August 1973, he was promoted to Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army by president Allende. On 11 September 1973, Pinochet joined a coup d'état, which overthrew Allende's elected socialist government. In December 1974 the military junta appointed Pinochet as President by a joint decree, with which Air Force General Gustavo Leigh disagreed. From the beginning, the government implemented harsh measures against its political opponents. According to various reports and investigations 1,200–3,200 people were killed, up to 80,000 were interned, and up to 30,000 were tortured by his regime including women and children.

By the time of his death on 10 December 2006, about 300 criminal charges were still pending against him in Chile for numerous human rights violations, tax evasion, and embezzlement during his 17-year rule and afterwards. Pinochet was accused of having corruptly amassed a wealth of US$28 million or more.

It would usually not be hard to predict how the Wall Street Journal would come out on any issue, bless its little capitalistic heart.

The pull-quote above yields surprising new insights into its editors’ thinking, however. It is the concluding paragraph in a July 4 editorial titled After the Coup in Cairo (WSJ, 7/4/2013). It’s not paywalled, you can check it out by clicking the link.

It’s not surprising that the WSJ would love Pinochet’s economic policies. He seems to have been a good exemplar of all they espouse. From the Wikipedia article cited at right:

Under the influence of the free market-oriented neoliberal Chicago Boys, the new government also implemented economic reforms, including currency stabilization, tariff cutting, opening Chile's markets to global trade, restricting labor unions, privatizing social security, and the privatization of hundreds of state-controlled industries.

With media like this, how can we expect the press to be a check on government? No doubt the WSJ would favor a “Pinochet” for our country, so in love are the editors with his economic policies that they can overlook his record of slaughter and torture and suggest him as a model for Egypt.

Oh, just to stay one step ahead of the comments, I do note that our own country already has a record of slaughter and torture, and that it continues to this day. Nor do I expect the WSJ to suddenly become critical of a system that brings them so much neoliberal joy.



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