The Amreican Enterprise Institute has made available Mark Falcoff’s important contribution to the literature on the fall of Salvador Allende: “Kissinger and Chile.” Falcoff’s piece is the lead article in the November issue of Commentary magazine and is otherwise unavailable.
You won’t want to miss Falcoff’s consideration of the evidence, some of it previously unreleased, but here is his conclusion: “The United States did play a role in Chile, though not precisely the one ascribed to it. It attempted–unsuccessfully–to forestall Allende’s confirmation by the Chilean congress. But once he was in office, the thrust of U.S. policy shifted to sustaining a democratic opposition and an independent press until Allende could be defeated in the presidential elections scheduled for 1976. To the extent that this opposition was able to survive under extraordinarily difficult economic circumstances–winning control of the Chilean congress in March 1973–one might even credit the Nixon administration with preventing the consolidation of Allende’s “totalitarian project” (to use the apt expression of Eduardo Frei).
“What then followed–a right-wing dictatorship that crushed not merely the Allende regime but Chilean democracy itself–was not and could not have been predicted, partly because of the military’s own apolitical traditions and partly because, by mid-1973, the opposition to Allende was dominated by forces of proved democratic provenance. To the contrary, Washington’s presumption–that in the 1976 elections, if they were allowed to take place, the opposition would win decisively–was amply supported by the facts. It was only the savagery of the subsequent Pinochet dictatorship that in hindsight altered the historical picture.”
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