Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy

Archive for Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy

The Myth of Eugene McCarthy – by Joshua Zeitz – NYT

Fifty years ago next week, Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota scored a near-upset in New Hampshire’s Democratic presidential primary, setting in motion Lyndon Johnson’s announcement, three weeks later, that he would “not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president.” It was a jaw-dropping series of events, one that gave McCarthy a near-mythic status in American political history.

Just weeks earlier, the longtime campaign reporter Theodore White observed, it had been “unthinkable that a sitting president of the United States could be unhorsed within his own party either by primaries, conventions or riot in the streets.” But McCarthy galvanized popular opposition to Johnson’s foreign policy and, seemingly overnight, turned the election into a referendum on America’s continued involvement in the Vietnam War. At least that’s how it is popularly remembered.

In fact, commentators then and since have misinterpreted McCarthy’s upset performance in New Hampshire in a way that sharply misread public opinion and unfairly saddled Johnson with sole responsibility for a war that most Americans — and most American political leaders of both parties — still strongly supported on the eve of the New Hampshire primary. To understand how it happened, it’s helpful to wind the clock back to the fall of 1967.

Source: The Myth of Eugene McCarthy – The New York Times

This piece is full of new information for me, and shows that I might be better off with one blog instead of three.

Posted in: Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy, Vietnam-American War

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How Xi Jinping Made His Power Grab: With Stealth, Speed and Guile – by Chris Buckley – NYT

“BEIJING — Some 200 senior Communist Party officials gathered behind closed doors in January to take up a momentous political decision: whether to abolish presidential term limits and enable Xi Jinping to lead China for a generation.

In a two-day session in Beijing, they bowed to Mr. Xi’s wish to hold onto power indefinitely. But a bland communiqué issued afterward made no mention of the weighty decision, which the authorities then kept under wraps for more than five weeks.

That meeting of the party’s Central Committee was the culmination of months of secretive discussions that are only now coming to light — and show how Mr. Xi maneuvered with stealth, swiftness and guile to rewrite China’s Constitution.

The decision was abruptly announced only last week, days before the annual session of China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress. The delay was apparently an effort to prevent opposition from coalescing before formal approval of the change by the legislature’s nearly 3,000 members.”

Source: How Xi Jinping Made His Power Grab: With Stealth, Speed and Guile – The New York Times

 

David Lindsay Jr.

Hamden, CT 

Will this be good of bad for Vietnam? My gut tells me it will be bad. As China moves away from becoming more democratic, and moves towards becoming more fascist, it will perhaps become more dependent, or willing, to take on outside foreign wars, to distract its people. No one has more to lose in such a development, than the Vietnamese, who have had to repel Chinese invasions and occupations, at least seven times by 1789, when Nguyen Hue and his 200,000 troops deffeated a Qing army of about 300.000. I am pleased that the Trump administration has sent one of its aircraft carriers to visit Vietnam this month, at the deep port of Danang. This is an important message, that we in the United States agree with the Vietnamese, that the South China Sea, or the East Sea in Vietnam, does not belong to China, but should be shared by all the nations that live around it, or send their ships through it.

 David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com

Posted in: China, David Lindsay, Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy, Post War Problems in Vietnam

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America’s Other Espionage Challenge: China – The New York Times

“With all the focus on Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the damage done by China’s vigorous and continuing espionage against the United States has taken a back seat.

The preoccupation with Russia, in fact, has obscured the significant inroads made by Chinese intelligence and cyberspies. In some cases, China has proved more skillful than Russia in infiltrating American intelligence.

A case involving a former C.I.A. officer named Jerry Chun Shing Lee is a perfect example. Beginning in 2010, C.I.A. sources in China began disappearing; a dozen were reported executed and several more imprisoned. What had seemed a major success in establishing a network of C.I.A. spies inside China had been turned into a devastating intelligence failure. The C.I.A. and F.B.I., suspecting a mole, went on a secret hunt.

Mr. Lee, who had been stationed in Beijing, emerged as a prime suspect. When he stepped off a flight in New York on Jan. 15, he was arrested by the F.B.I. and charged with unlawfully retaining documents related to the national defense. But there is still no certainty that he was responsible for the loss of the agents.”

Source: America’s Other Espionage Challenge: China – The New York Times

Posted in: China, Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy

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Europe Once Saw Xi Jinping as a Hedge Against Trump. Not Anymore. – The New York Times

“BRUSSELS — A year ago, the self-styled global elite gathered at Davos, shaken by the election of Donald J. Trump, who made no secret of his contempt for the multilateral alliances and trade that underpin the European Union.

Then up stepped the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, promising that if America would no longer champion the global system, China would.

European officials and business leaders were thrilled.

But a year later, European leaders are confronted with the reality that Mr. Xi could also be a threat to the global system, rather than a great defender. The abolition of the two-term limit for the presidency, which could make Mr. Xi China’s ruler for life and which is expected to be ratified this week by China’s legislature, has punctured the hope that China would become “a responsible stakeholder” in the global order. Few still believe China is moving toward the Western values of democracy and rule of law.

Instead, many European leaders now accuse China of trying to divide the European Union as it woos Central Europe and the Balkan states with large investments. They are also wary of how China has become more aggressive militarily, in espionage and in its investment strategy abroad — with targets including its largest trading partner in Europe, Germany.”

Source: Europe Once Saw Xi Jinping as a Hedge Against Trump. Not Anymore. – The New York Times

David Lindsay:

Good article. It ends, “Now Mr. Xi’s open-ended tenure could give China a chance to plan long-term and carry out its policies systematically with “a steady hand on the helm of a great power,” Mr. Schell said. “But it is rooted in Leninism, autocracy and control, which will make it a tremendous challenge for liberal democracies rooted in a different value system, especially in a world reeling with no leadership.” ”

It is surprising to think the Europeans are so dependent on the US for leadership. It would be useful, if we in the US could rally around an alternative leader, who could challenge our current president, with the leadership that is called for in the article here. Secretary State Kerry is the name that pops up in my mind. Who else should be on the short list.

Posted in: China, David Lindsay, Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy

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It’s Not Too Late on North Korea – by Susan Rice – NYT | Inconvenient News Worldwide

“We carefully studied this contingency. “Preventive war” would result in hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of casualties. Metropolitan Seoul’s 26 million people are only 35 miles from the border, within easy range of the North’s missiles and artillery. About 23,000 United States troops, plus their families, live between Seoul and the Demilitarized Zone; in total, at least 200,000 Americans reside in South Korea.

Japan, and almost 40,000 United States military personnel there, would also be in the cross hairs. The risk to American territory cannot be discounted, nor the prospect of China being drawn into a direct conflict with the United States. Then there would be the devastating impact of war on the global economy.”

“. . . By most assessments, Mr. Kim is vicious and impetuous, but not irrational. Thus, while we quietly continue to refine our military options, we can rely on traditional deterrence by making crystal clear that any use of nuclear weapons against the United States or its allies would result in annihilation of North Korea. Defense Secretary James Mattis struck this tone on Wednesday. The same red line must apply to any proof that North Korea has transferred nuclear weapons to another state or nonstate actor.

Second, to avoid blundering into a costly war, the United States needs to immediately halt the reckless rhetoric. John Kelly, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, must assert control over the White House, including his boss, and curb the Trump surrogates whipping up Cuban missile crisis fears.

Third, we must enhance our antimissile systems and other defenses, and those of our allies, which need our reassurances more than ever.”

I posted the following at the NYT:

David Lindsay

Hamden, CT

Excellent analysis and reporting by Susan Rice. I would add, I read a good idea by a commentator at the NYT who suggested, the US should woo North Korea into a de-escalation. We could, for example. offer to pull our military forces out of South Korea in exchange for their giving up their nuclear weapons program. It would be useful if talks could start, aimed at giving both countries what they want or need. I add to the commentators idea, it might be necessary to let the North Koreans keep the nuclear weapons that they have. This might be acceptable, if we could get them to allow verification that they stop all further development. I continue to be depressed by most of the discussion. It is arrogance for the US to think that it has to be in charge of North Korea, when they are China’s neighbor and vassal state. We should remind ourselves continually, that this part of the world is not our backyard, but China’s.

David Lindsay is about to publish his book, The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam.

Source: It’s Not Too Late on North Korea – by Susan Rice – NYT | Inconvenient News Worldwide

Posted in: East Asia, Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy, Korea - North and South Korea

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So, What Is Trump Hiding? – by Hedrick Smith – NYT

“Five decades of reporting have taught me that whenever a president starts screeching about the media, it’s a sure sign he’s in hot water and fearing revelations about some policy disaster, damaging mendacity or political villainy. Even popular presidents with reputations for charming the press occasionally stoop to blaming the press for quagmires of their own making.

John F. Kennedy, for example.

In September 1963, with the Vietnam War escalating and the pro-American authoritarian regime of President Ngo Dinh Diem besieged by popular protests, President Kennedy used a private meeting with The New York Times’s publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, and James Reston, the Washington bureau chief, to charge that David Halberstam, the Times correspondent in Saigon, was undermining the American war effort and to pressure the publisher to pull Mr. Halberstam out of Vietnam. President Kennedy was particularly angered by a stream of front-page articles by Mr. Halberstam graphically describing battlefield defeats and the self-immolations of Buddhist monks.

What the president did not know was that The Times was already planning to replace Mr. Halberstam because the editors feared that Vietnamese secret police had marked him for assassination. Because I covered Vietnam policy in Washington, I had been told to get ready to replace Mr. Halberstam.”

Posted in: Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy, Vietnam-American War

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America’s Case of ‘Tonkin Gulfitis’ – by Mark Atwood Lawrence – NYT

“But with the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear that the abrupt turn away from activism and idealism in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America amounts to one of the little-noticed tragedies of the Vietnam War.”

Posted in: Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy, Vietnam-American War

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H. R. McMaster – Wikipedia

“Early life and education[edit]McMaster was born in Philadelphia in 1962.[2] He went to high school at Valley Forge Military Academy, graduating in 1980. He earned a commission as a second lieutenant upon graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1984. McMaster earned a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in American history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). His thesis was critical of American strategy in the Vietnam War, which was further detailed in his 1997 book Dereliction of Duty.

[3]Dereliction of Duty (book)[edit]Main article: Dereliction of Duty (1997 book)

Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam is a book written by McMaster that explores the military’s role in the policies of the Vietnam War. The book was written as part of his Ph.D. dissertation at UNC. It harshly criticized high-ranking officers of that era, arguing that they inadequately challenged Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and President Lyndon Johnson on their Vietnam strategy. The book examines McNamara and Johnson’s staff alongside the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other high ranking military officers, and their failure to provide a successful plan of action either to pacify a Viet Cong insurgency or to decisively defeat the North Vietnamese Army. McMaster also details why military actions intended to indicate “resolve” or to “communicate” ultimately failed when trying to accomplish sparsely detailed, confusing, and conflicting military objectives. The book was widely read in Pentagon circles and included in military reading lists.

Source: H. R. McMaster – Wikipedia

H.R. stands for Herbert Raymond. Apparently, he thought we could have won the war, if we had just fought better. I suggest you read my novel, The Tay Son Rebellion, about to come out in the next few months.

Posted in: Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy, Vietnam-American War

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Trump Chooses H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser – The New York Times

“General McMaster has served as director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center at Fort Eustis in Virginia since 2014. A West Point graduate with a doctorate in military history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he commanded a unit that clashed with Iraq’s Republican Guard in one of the biggest tank battles of the Persian Gulf war in 1991, earning him the Silver Star.

But he came to prominence with his 1997 book, “Dereliction of Duty,” which critiqued the Joint Chiefs for not standing up to President Lyndon B. Johnson during the Vietnam War. He cemented his reputation in 2005 during the second Iraq war when he led the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment in regaining control of Tal Afar.”

Here is the top comment, which I recommended and gives me hope:

RDG

Cincinnati 2 hours ago

“This is one terrific pick; a flower in a field of toxic waste.

McMaster was passed over for promotions because of his brilliant book about how we stumbled into a full blown war in Vietnam. “Dereliction Of Duty” became sort of a samizdat among many in the officer corps. Heaven help them should they get caught with a copy by their senior officers.

Given the General’s deep understanding of history, war and his independent nature, I seriously doubt he will take any garbage from the likes of Bannon, Bolton and their similar others. In fact, McMaster will not hesitate to speak truth to power when it comes to directly dealing with his boss. Maybe he will finally be able to give That Man In The White House a reality check where national security is concerned.

Good luck, General. You’ll need it.”

Posted in: Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy, Vietnam-American War

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