The Forgotten Invasion of a Caribbean Island: Grenada 36 Years Later

Thirty-six years ago, the small Caribbean nation of Grenada was invaded by the United States. The stated reason for Operation Urgent Fury was to protect Americans who were on the islands, but the true intentions of the Reagan administration were a bit more complicated. Like many operations around the world during the Cold War, the United States government was concerned more with diminishing Soviet and Communist influence in order to become the dominant power than it was with protecting people. Similarly today, the United States government attempts to use humanitarian sympathies as a way to convince the public to join its cause, but in reality, there is usually a deeper and less altruistic motivation.

In Grenada, Marxist leader Maurice Bishop overthrew the corrupt and brutal government of Prime Minister Eric Gairy to form the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG), which became an ally of Cuba. A few years later, Deputy Prime Minister of the PRG, Bernard Coard, staged a coup with the aid of the military because he believed that Bishop was not Marxist enough. After failing to get the support of either Cuba or the Soviet Union, Coard resigned as leader and was replaced by Hudson Austin, but violence continued between the military and protestors of the new government.

The United States got involved in the conflict officially to protect the roughly 1,000 American nationals on the islands, however, there was a more strategic reason for the invasion. With the building of a new airfield on the main island that would have been able to accommodate Soviet aircraft, the United States worried about Grenada welcoming a Soviet military presence. If Grenada was allowed to remain a Marxist haven under Soviet or Cuban influence, it would have hindered the U.S. military’s passage through a triangle forming between Cuba, Nicaragua, and Grenada.

It was also partially about saving face after the recent failures in Vietnam and Iran. Bad publicity would not have served the government well if another hostage crisis occurred.

The invasion initially involved roughly 2,000 American troops, which was expanded to about 6,000 towards the war’s conclusion, to battle against Grenada’s military and Cuban forces who were assisting with the airfield. It did not take long for Grenada’s government to be replaced by an interim U.S.-friendly one, and the operation was deemed a success by those who had wished to keep the Soviets out of the Caribbean nation. However, this also showed the imperial intentions of the United States in its quest to determine the path of one country at a time.

Americans need to take a look at these Cold War regime change operations because they formed the basis for what was to become the norm, and governments not friendly to American interests quickly became targets of coups. Presidents all the way through President Trump have followed this precedent, and anyone who advocates against taking such action is looked down upon and not considered legitimate in American politics. Just look at Hilary Clinton’s latest tirade against Hawaii congresswoman and Democratic hopeful for the 2020 presidential race, Tulsi Gabbard. Clinton slandered her and preposterously and without evidence suggested that she was a Russian asset. Why is it that if one has anti-war views, he or she is considered a foreign agent? Perhaps this is because the war machine has control over American politics. It is now about time that the people decide the foreign policy course and not those controlled by the money.

Thank you for reading, and please check out my book, The Global Bully, and website for more information on Cold War and more recent regime change operations.
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Published on October 30, 2019 03:20
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