Date: Fri 22 Nov 2002 - 19:24:23 GMT
> Greetings, Wade,
> Well, you've missed some missable fireworks!
> You suggest that countries just are that way, naturally. But the US
> has done much better at discernible times in its history, and has IMO,
> genuinely provided a beacon of hope for the peoples of the world.
> Wilson's Fourteen Points, the League of Nations, the Marshall Plan,
> the UN are all examples of where America has been at its best in terms
> of putting aside the leverages of raw power in favor of building the
> kind of world in which all can participate. And we have done this
> internally as well. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights, to generous
> welcome of refugees, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the national
> repudiation of McCarthyism all stand out as examples of this. Of
> course, these various examples can be criticized on various grounds
> (they went too far, they didn't go far enough) etc. But in the main,
> they are indicators of greatness, and suggestive of even greater
> greatness that we can legitimately aspire to. Is this too idealistic?
> Some would say yes, but I wonder if the contrary view might not be
> too cynical.
> With Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Cheney, Reed, et al, this country's
> pendulum has swung away from participation and respect for others, and
> embraces the macho pretensions of power, in ways that frighten
> Kissinger and Scowcroft, even. It reflects the German
> power-is-everything ideology of the 1910s. So while I do not share
> the notion that 'it was ever thus', I do think that we can do far
> better. Oddly, it is fear that drives much of this 'power is all'
> attitude. We have the guns and, by God, we'll bomb them until they
> give up. This kind of thinking also infected our Nixon policies in
> Viet Nam, where we achieved the kinds of results that will probably
> attend our current pursuit of that kind of policy. The irony is that
> the fear impels some of our policy-makers to adopt the very actions
> that will lead to more harm being done to the US. In other words,
> these policies and actions are likely to prove self-defeating.
> Nixon, at one now-famous moment, suggested to Kissinger that he,
> Nixon, should feign being crazy, to scare the Viet Namese into
> compliance. We can only hope that President Bush is feigning such,
> now, not that the resulting actions will work, but because we can
> always hope for an eventual recovery of his faculties and the adoption
> of more effective policies....
The Vietnamese did not fly hijacked airliners full of civilians into skyscrapers filled with other civilians devotied to the pursuit of world trade before their base was invaded. Nor did they insist that everyone else become Communist or die. And Henry Kissinger is in support of the present administration's policies, as is George Schultz. I can provide articles by them on this issue, if you wish.
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