Posted by: sean | July 4, 2009

Freedom, clean streets and all the rest

nixon marcos medalThe Times has some excerpts from newly released Nixon White House tapes.  This one is from a conversation with the Phillipine foreign secretary under Marcos:

NIXON: Did the president have to take these strong measures, or — ?

ROMULO: He had to, yes, he had to.

NIXON: I know some people here were, you know, coming in to my office and saying, we must lecture President Marcos. I said nope, not a lecture. I said that I hope that he realizes that this poses some problems. But he knows his own internal situation. I know he is dedicated, as you are, to freedom and all the rest. But you cannot have anarchy. You cannot have it. Your people —You once told me that the Philippines took all of the excesses of American democracy and improved on them. (laughter) …

NIXON: How do your young people feel?

ROMULO: Well, they want to clean all the streets. Cleaning the graffiti on the walls. You know what, we have some of the cleanest cities in Asia.

NIXON: Wonderful.

ROMULO: The flies have disappeared because the garbage is gone.

NIXON: Good.

ROMULO: You see, democracy, really, American democracy, is for a mature, highly developed, affluent society.

NIXON: Yes.

ROMULO: For a developing society, you need someone with strength.

NIXON: You also need it in Latin America. You need it, for example, in Korea. You’re going to need it in Vietnam eventually, you know, the truth is. I understand that.

ROMULO: But Mr. President if you had Marcos over here, your Congress wouldn’t be giving you the trouble they’re giving you now. (laughs)

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