Trump may repeat a tragic history

“Those who cannot learn from history are condemned to relive it”…Santayana…Thanks Fareed

Fareed Zakaria

By Fareed Zakaria
Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s comprehensive documentary series on the Vietnam War is filled with the stories and voices of ordinary soldiers on all sides of the conflict. But the most tragic aspect of the tale, for me, was hearing President Lyndon B. Johnson on tape, before full U.S. engagement, admitting that the war could not be won. Johnson’s dilemma is one that presidents dread facing — and one that President Trump is bringing upon himself with North Korea and Iran.

In May 1964, when the United States had fewer than 20,000 troops in Vietnam, serving as advisers and trainers, Johnson said to his national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy, “I just stayed awake last night thinking about this thing. . . . It just worries the hell out of me. I don’t see what we can ever hope to get out of there with once…

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  1. Santayana reminds us that “Those who cannot learn from history are condemned to relive it.” Daedal2207 apparently believes that learning Fareed Zakaria’s take on history will save us from condemnation.

    I would bet that Santayana also understood that those who “learn” from history only that which is acceptable to their confining mindsets are condemned to collide with broader realities.

    Fareed Zakaria SEEMS to be a sophisticated observer of world affairs. For the following reasons – perhaps not so much:

    In the recent Viet Nam documentary President Johnson is heard to say that the war cannot be won. Of course, we need to know context. What did the verb “to win” actually mean? Johnson said that Vietnam “is not vital”. Doesn’t history teach us that the Korean War too could not be won – in the sense that all of communism would be eradicated – in the sense that all North and South would be united? Perhaps Johnson would not consider the freedoms and the resultant South Korean productivity of resources to be “vital”? After North Vietnam finally capitulated (a victory for the US) and agreed to meet and sign the Paris Peace Accords there was an agreed-upon division of North and South Vietnam. Resisting the “begging” of President Ford, the newly Democrat majority of the US 94th Congress reneged on the US agreement with S. Vietnam to fund replace-in-kind military resources needed to repel North Vietnamese violations of that agreement. As a consequence of this betrayal Millions were subjugated to forced “re-education” or the hazards of escape. Except for that 94th Congress, South Vietnam (like South Korea) might have become a powerhouse of democracy along with its world-wide, life-saving productivities.

    Fareed Zakaria tells us that President Trump is imposing risks “for no good reason”, that we need to consider a policy of “win-win”. In other words, we must give them something; we must compromise with North Korea and Iran. Here we do not need to go to history. We need only logic. Zakaria ignores the fact that there is a (strong?) possibility that the Mullahs who control Iran’s future want to fulfill their religious obligation to subjugate or kill the infidels. Compromise with this goal takes us to subjugation or death. North Korea has a leadership who craves the power to extort from others the resources it is incapable of creating for itself. Compromise with this leadership (Its people have little if any say) means that we both enable a despot and allow ourselves to be victims of extortion.

    Most of us have actually “learned” what “history” says about cultures that choose “surrender” – and those who choose “win”.

  2. Samson,eyeless in Gaza,,also brought down the house.Cowardice,dishonesty lack of empathy are assuring the end of this democracy.Without Americcan leadership is the end of days a global inevitability?

  3. I join daedal2207 in thanking Fareed Zakaria for the history lesson.

    We are so predictable it’s embarrassing. We were supposed to be the sophisticated Developed World … and, yet, we’re no better than the Third World for which we have nothing but contempt. While they are deprived of access to resources, we squander them. We’re willing to sacrifice our nation’s treasures, disrupt our social fiber, waste precious time on our way to the future … all for the ego of flawed men who know (or should know) the futility of their course. At the least, Lyndon Johnson was able to fall back on the Great Society program and Civil Rights Act … the present poisonous cretin at the WH promotes/advocates for nothing but destruction, hate, and his corrupted interests, bringing along his cohorts of equal ilk.

    This is another lesson for our country … one which highlights the models of public/civic governance and the corporate world … not the same. There are distinct differences but that lesson will have to be experienced/felt in flesh rather than academic dissertation. When 90%+ of Republicans who are repulsed by their standard bearer still support and fear him, it is an incongruous arrangement. Superlatives are just adjectives … and, without merit, they are devalued. Devalued, they don’t raise standards … they lower them. The vision is as foggy as the ill-defined swamp. A recipe for deeper frustration and anger.

    Zakaria’s commentary taps into our “recent” memories …

    “…it is generally true that in foreign policy, when the United States is confronted with a choice between backing down and doubling down, it follows the latter course.”

    So, now the world is even smaller, more intertwined … and more of us are exposed and vulnerable. The tragic and horrible losses of Vietnam would be but small footnotes if character, ignorance, instability, are not checked.

    “Trump’s way of negotiating might have worked in his past life, although there, too, many argue it was not the way to build a great reputation. But he’s not doing real-estate deals anymore. The arena is different, the conditions are far more complex, and the stakes are higher — astronomically higher.”

    Do members of Congress have a bunker big enough in which to hide? Or, do our representatives know something we don’t know? When will we extricate ourselves from their incompetence and cowardice? Or, are we so arrogant that we are complicit? What would Jesus do? DESTROY THE TEMPLE.

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