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Little-Known Facts about Teddy Roosevelt

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Captain Vancouver View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Aug 2013 at 23:36
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

Yes, yes, yes to many of your points. We still have a treaty with Taiwan which also needs to be relooked. Realpolitic? So what. The duty of a national government is to do what is (perceived to be) in the Nation's interest. I see our 'central bureaus' more as amateur tennis players on a night tennis court plagued by pesky mosquitos, spending more time swatting at what annoys them than in keeping their eyes on the ball. In 1898 we did fight to get an empire. It died an early death. Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands hang on, governing themselves internally and shaking is down for all they can.
 
Ah yes, all those uncoordinated tennis players, in their summer whites, chasing poorly aimed balls down the corridors of the penatgon and state department. Quite a sight, no doubt. Really Mr L, you are too modest. The US has it's share of PhDs, and some of them have gravitated to foreign affairs, even if the public persona required in these areas has been backwoods buba's, or demented movie stars, or back slapping good 'ol boys who will buy enough votes from the great unwashed.
 
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


What we have today is hegemony. Empires dictate to their subordinates. Hegemons have to wheel and cajole, and sometimes just suck up the idea that junior partners are going to go their own way. The bureaucracy itself it atrocious at scheming. Rank amateurs really. Most of the scheming takes place in Beltway think tanks funded by various interest groups and political parties. If they get elected, they get to drag the rest of us in on their schemes, subject of course to the vagaries of the American political process. So perhaps we are a shining city on the hill, lit up by late night vigils at all those think tanks as they scheme away.
 
For the most part, cajoling has been exercised in lockstep with percieved leverage over the party in question. Since 1945, numerous Latin American countries have disabused from the uppity idea of forming a leftist government, usually by means that went beyond cajoling. When Britain and France decided to engage in some old fashioned gunboat diplomacy in Suez in 1956, they were told to get the f--- out. No cajoling there. Iran was made safe for US interests, and Vietnam would have been too, except that there was an outbreak of thinking and reading on the part of the populace, particulaly the younger generation that was been asked to do the shooting. In these, and many other cases, cajoling was at a minimum.
 
The great game is still being played, although with more subtlety than in the past. The Chenny/Bush adventure in Iraq reassures us that this is the case.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Aug 2013 at 01:00
Well, Captain V, I would put Cheney and Rumsfeld in the think tank category when they were out of power. Interestingly enough, I listened to an NPR broadcast today where they were interviewing some author, and he made the comment that the Americans (Kermit Roosevelt et al) tended to take far more credit for the events in Iran than was justified. If I can find a link I'll post it.

You continue to speak of Vietnam as if you really know anything about it. Granted, much of what I know about Vietnam I learned after I left. But I do speak the language (atrociously) and did serve with Vietnamese and Montagnard forces before I did such readings. Indeed, my opinions of Diem once matched your own. Perhaps I learned a few things along the way?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Aug 2013 at 03:32
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

Well, Captain V, I would put Cheney and Rumsfeld in the think tank category when they were out of power. Interestingly enough, I listened to an NPR broadcast today where they were interviewing some author, and he made the comment that the Americans (Kermit Roosevelt et al) tended to take far more credit for the events in Iran than was justified. If I can find a link I'll post it.

You continue to speak of Vietnam as if you really know anything about it. Granted, much of what I know about Vietnam I learned after I left. But I do speak the language (atrociously) and did serve with Vietnamese and Montagnard forces before I did such readings. Indeed, my opinions of Diem once matched your own. Perhaps I learned a few things along the way?
 
Yes, there is nothing like first had experience, of which I'm sure you have a great deal. We can also consider the idea that those on the factory floor likely don't know how sales are going, or what future direction production is going to take.
 
Unless you are considerably older than me, which I doubt because your posts would probably be littered with typos if so, then you were a tender young thing at the time in question, and probably had the stars and strips in the back of your mind, if not on your bedroom wall. Did you write to Robert McNamara at the time, and ask him about geopoltical goals? Lyndon Johnson- any scribblings directed towards him? If Mr McNamara wrote back, I suspect you still could not use such referrence here, as he has since reputiated the goals and basis for the war in his dotage (the documentary, the Fog of War).
 
You saw terrible atrocities? I've no doubt. This is the way it goes, one cycle of violence leads to another, which is usually a ratchet up from the last. What were once reasonable and peaceable humans become something else. The more desperate the circumstance, the more exteme the behavior. And a lot of Vietnamese were in desperate circumstances, yes? You can ask yourself the question that if the US had been under continuous assault and war for 30 years, and its future was hanging in the balance, and an appalling proportion of its people killed,and yet more threatened, how do you think the US military and the various militias acting the the country would behave? We can look to history for examples.
 
The mistake that the US made was that it was playing a silly chess game, based on incomplete and outright inaccurate information, yet still willing to ship off young kids to their death/injury/PTSD experience. This could have, and should have, been handled better. And please don't tell me that these communists were awful people. The US has supported some of the worst dictators in history, if that has been seen as a benefit to US foreign policy in the past. This was all about the idea of monolithic communism, something that was seen, from a number of academic viewpoints as inaccurate, even at the time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Aug 2013 at 17:18
Captain, a worthy and thoughtful reply. Some points:

Being down on the factory floor with the locals gives one a different perspective from that of both the higher-ups and those in their ivory towers. It also gives insight that one cannot obtain from reading books. As for my age, I enlisted in 1962.

Yes, the U.S. has supported some dictators. Indeed, they had no problem supporting a Communist, Yugoslavia's Tito, when the Greek Civil War made that a preferable option. So what, the left argued for Stalin, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, and Mao. Weren't they among history's worst dictators? OK, Perhaps HCM wasn't among the 'worst', but he bears as much responsibility for the war as anyone, and sizable numbers of Vietnamese did not want to be ruled by either him or the Party. That is what you seem incapable of understanding.

As a former VC cadre woman said to me: "If I had known what was coming after 1975, I'd have supported Diem." Now, does that mean that the U.S. needed to be there? No, we could have left Vietnam for the two Vietnam's to sort out. But the decision makers of the 1960s were the 'greatest generation', and their frames of reference mired in the events of the 1930s and 40s.

Oh, nowhere have I said that I saw terrible atrocities. Did you misread "atrocious"?

Edited by lirelou - 20 Aug 2013 at 17:28
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Aug 2013 at 18:34
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

Captain, a worthy and thoughtful reply. Some points:

Being down on the factory floor with the locals gives one a different perspective from that of both the higher-ups and those in their ivory towers. It also gives insight that one cannot obtain from reading books. As for my age, I enlisted in 1962.
 
True, but it also necessitates a narrow view, one that is in one's immediate area, and doesn't consider the overall picture.

Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


Yes, the U.S. has supported some dictators. Indeed, they had no problem supporting a Communist, Yugoslavia's Tito, when the Greek Civil War made that a preferable option. So what, the left argued for Stalin, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, and Mao. Weren't they among history's worst dictators? OK, Perhaps HCM wasn't among the 'worst', but he bears as much responsibility for the war as anyone, and sizable numbers of Vietnamese did not want to be ruled by either him or the Party. That is what you seem incapable of understanding.
 
First of all, I don't think any but a tiny minority of those Americans protesting the war actually supported Stalin, or Mao, or even HCM particularly. There were simply against a pointless and unwinnable war that seemed like it was going to go on forever, as ego conscious generals continually saw victory at hand, er, next month. Or maybe next year. Or in three years.
 
One can guess that very many, probably the majority of Americans do not want the increasingly far right (and increasingly non-democratic) antics of the Republican Party. Yet they may prevail, to the shame and disgrace of many. What do you think, a coalition of the willing should be formed to invade the US, and again make it safe for social democracy? I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of Americans would reply: bugger off, it's our business, not yours. If America had just gone through three iterations of similar interventions (Japan, France x2), how much more strident do you think the above statement would be?
 
And at any rate, US foreign policy has rarely if ever been based on what a few people in some obscure country (from their point of view) wanted. It has been based on realpolitic; what is best for the US overall, regardless if some foreigners got the short end of the straw. Your premise is that the US justed wanted to be nice, and it saw some naughty people out there, and so decided to ride into town, and sort them out. If, for example, the South Vietnamese government never did hold elections, and engaged in a few outrages of its own, and alienated most of its citizens, do you think the US would have then pulled out, and said a pox on all your houses, we only work with the good guys? Of course not. Because it would have been beside the point. The point was that communism seemed a threat to the US at the time, and they were going to counter it- with democratic allies if possible, with the village idiot if necessary. Many on the left saw this world outlook as inaccurate at the time, and later historians have validated this view. I think many Americans who came to oppose the war intuitively understood this. That's what it was all about, not about Vietnamese pondering Marx or Jefferson, and saying hmm... can't make up my mind.
 
 
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


As a former VC cadre woman said to me: "If I had known what was coming after 1975, I'd have supported Diem." Now, does that mean that the U.S. needed to be there? No, we could have left Vietnam for the two Vietnam's to sort out. But the decision makers of the 1960s were the 'greatest generation', and their frames of reference mired in the events of the 1930s and 40s.

Oh, nowhere have I said that I saw terrible atrocities. Did you misread "atrocious"?
 
I was surmising. If you did not, then all the better for you, your psyche, and your ability to sleep at night.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote doublejm1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2013 at 01:45
Have you guys read any good Teddy books?
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