Saturday, May 02, 2009

Foreign policy wisdom

The fraudulent email attributing to me an article that compares President Obama to Adolf Hitler continues to circulate, and during the last week it generated more than 2000 hits on this blog, a record. To those new visitors (and there seem to be many every day) who have reached this spot because of it, let me say at once that I did not write it, do not agree with it, and would appreciate you hitting "reply all" to the email that you received and letting everyone know this. But please do read the post that follows, which will give you the blog's true flavor, and please return.

President Obama has often been compared to John F. Kennedy, and with good reason. Both are young, striking in appearance, and accompanied by beautiful wives and captivating children. Both are keenly appreciate being the first Presidents of their generation. Both put together consensus cabinets--Kennedy's, in a more non-partisan era, included Republicans as Secretaries of Defense and Treasury and as National Security Adviser--and both favor calm, relatively unemotional rhetoric that takes care to say no more than what they mean. And having written most thorough account of Kennedy's Vietnam policies ten years ago in American Tragedy, I am struck by the similarities between the situation that Kennedy faced in Southeast Asia in 1961 and the one President Obama faces in Southwest Asia today--and I ardently wish Obama could get some of the same kind of advice.

Kennedy, as I discovered, did not quite inherit a full-blown war in Southeast Asia, although the Eisenhower Administration seemed on the point of intervening in a civil war in Laos when he came into office. In Laos the Eisenhower Administration had used its favorite weapons, covert action and military aid, to maneuver a weak pro-western government into power in 1957, but it was now under attack from neutralist forces and the much smaller Communist Pathet Lao. In Vietnam the Diem government--another Eisenhower legacy--had raised questions about its inability to govern, and now faced a growing Viet Cong insurgency. More importantly, the Eisenhower Administration had laid the bureaucratic foundation for war by laying down policies, approved by the President, that committed the US to fight, alone and with nuclear weapons if necessary, if Communist aggression threatened either Laos or Cambodia. Kennedy's Cabinet officers and NSC staffers unanimously accepted those recommendations and in the first half of the 1961 he was deluged with recommendations for intervention in Laos, and, shortly thereafter, for combat troops in South Vietnam. He was not interested--and in June 1961, when he stopped in Paris on his way to meet with President Charles de Gaulle, he received some very interesting advice.

De Gaulle was the only figure in the great Atlantic crisis of the twentieth century to play the role of Bismarck in Germany in the crisis of the nineteenth, that is, not only to lead his nation through the crisis itself, but to preside over the High that followed and supervise the creation of new institutions. Roosevelt, of course, died before the war was over--although he had created critical domestic institutions in the 1930s, before the war began--and although Churchill returned to power in the early 1950s he had little domestic impact. De Gaulle began literally by creating a new French government out of nothing in 1940 when, as a junior cabinet minister and major general, he flew to London and declared himself the government of France. By dint of rallying parts of the French Army in the colonies, opening up contacts with the Resistance, and sheer stubbornness, he eventually convinced both Churchill and Roosevelt to recognize him as the new French President. The war, however, in which France had initially been defeated and emerged victorious only with allied help, could not give him the prestige necessary to remake France. The new Fourth Republic was a carbon copy of the weak Third, and de Gaulle, disgusted, resigned the Presidency in 1946. His party in Parliament became a nationalist opposition, dedicated to the failed attempts to hold onto the French Empire. The loss of Indochina in 1954, however, did not bring him into power. Four years later, the government's hesitation over Algeria, where a new rebellion was raging, led to a military coup in the colony and de Gaulle's return to power. He immediately created a new Fifth Republic--and by 1959 he was reversing his policies.

No one was ever more dedicated to French greatness than de Gaulle, but his genius lay in the recognition that the idea of greatness had to be adapted to new historical circumstances. France, he recognized, simply could not retain its formal empire--even in Algeria, where the population included one million Europeans--in the twentieth century. By 1961, when Kennedy arrived in Paris, he was well on his way to a negotiated settlement and withdrawal. Early in that year he had faced down another attempted coup by the Algerian generals, this one designed to overthrow him in France. Several generals had gone into hiding and were fighting a terrorist rear guard action in Algeria as they met--their leader, Raoul Salan, was arrested just a few weeks later. Kennedy always sought, and took very seriously, the opinion of foreign leaders--a trait Obama would do well to emulate. Here is the key part of their conversation.

"The President [Kennedy] raised the question of Laos. In his opinion, the United States has made mistakes in the past. As a result, it is now in a difficult situation. There exists a commitment on the part of the United States and on the basis of the Geneva Protocols and of SEATO. This commitment must be taken into account. The U.S. Government has been seeking a cease-fire and neutralization of Laos. This, however, may no longer be possible. It would have been possible three years ago, but the situation is different now. The immediate question is what to do at the conference in Geneva.

"General de Gaulle said that the situation is "compromised." He does not wish to harp on the past; when it seems the U.S. had the unfortunate illusion that Laos could be made into something strong. In fact. Laos is an unhappy country with no unity, either political or national; it is, in fact, a nonentity which cannot be built up into anything at all. The presence of the U.S. in Laos brings with it Soviet intervention; in any struggle in Laos, the Soviets have the advantage because of their propaganda and because they have devoted efficient agents while we do not. Therefore, the situation is very bad indeed. The question is what to do. The best solution seems to be to encourage the King to form a government which would not be fully and exclusively Communist. It is clear that the Pathet Lao would be in the government as it is too late to prevent them from entering into one, but they might not be in such government alone. Souvanna Phouma should be encouraged. The French know him well. He is not a Communist. He is trying to use the Communists and the Communists are trying to use him but he is not a Communist himself and he has friends. He might be able to establish a government which would make Laos "more or less" neutral. It would be better if the West did not appear to apply any pressure, as by doing so, it would lose the last cards it has to play. Without doing it openly, it would be good to encourage Souvanna Phouma and to encourage the King to take Souvanna Phouma as prime minister. The Government will include Communists but will not be fully Communist. Moreover, the French are authorized by the Geneva Agreements to maintain some influence in Laos. They can have a small military advisory group and also teachers and technicians. No Laotian wants such French advisors to leave, and these can constitute a sort of listening post for the West in Laos. . . .

"More generally speaking, Southeast Asia, and that applies to Laos, Viet-Nam, Cambodia, and even Thailand, is not a good terrain for the West to fight on. The best thing to do is to encourage neutralism in that area, the more so that the Soviets themselves do not have any strong desire to move in. They will, however, tend to follow every time the West moves in.
"The President said that the U.S. is faced with two problems, one of them being the commitment under the SEATO Protocols. Mr. Dulles and President Eisenhower entered into such commitments. President Kennedy has reaffirmed them in the hope of arriving at a cease-fire. At the present moment, the prestige of the United States is engaged and if the solution to the Laotian problem is a Communist one, there can be grave repercussions not only in Thailand, in Viet-Nam, and in Malaya, but also in India, Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey--all the countries along the southern flank of the Soviet Union. It may have been unwise on the part of the United States in the past to have committed itself to this part of the world but the fact is that those commitments exist at the present moment and the question is how to disengage in the best possible way. Secondly, there are commitments also in regard to Thailand and southern Viet-Nam and, there again, it is difficult to avoid the consequences of such commitments. The President agreed that the Soviets may not seek a penetration in south Viet-Nam but the Viet Minh does and it is probable that it would have sought to penetrate into Viet-Nam regardless of whether the U.S. would or would not have been present there. The question is what to do in regard to Viet-Nam and to Thailand. The U.S. is seeking to help those countries, in particular through military training, and the question is not especially in regard to Viet-Nam whether such aid will be successful. It must, nevertheless, be tried as an abandonment of those countries by the U.S. would have repercussions elsewhere in the countries which were mentioned before and also in the Philippines, South Korea, and even Japan.

"General de Gaulle said that he understood the difficulties with which the United States is faced. France was deeply engaged in Indo-China and had to leave that country under circumstances which the President undoubtedly remembers. Yet France has kept some influence in those countries, but she can keep that influence only because she does not undertake any military action, or any action in the military field, in either Laos, Cambodia, or Viet-Nam. It seems that to have an influence in those countries and to exercise a military action in them are mutually contradictory. In the minds of the people of that area, any military action is equivalent to a desire to rule them.
"Of course, it is not easy to change policies. Yet, it is not so difficult either, especially if it can be done in coordination with Nehru and with the Japanese. There exists a genuine Western influence in the Pacific and Indian Oceans but in some areas the best way to further that influence is to seek neutrality even if that neutrality is only more or less genuine. In the countries of Southeast Asia the West can keep its influence only without military commitments, by extending its influence on a cultural plane and also by avoiding to give too much money to those countries. Money makes them corrupt and the governmental corruption makes government unpopular. This is what is happening at the present moment in South Viet-Nam.

"The President said that the problem for the U.S. is that it has treaty commitments and has been identified with those commitments. If the United States withdraws, Viet-Nam and possibly Thailand might even collapse. It is true that these countries and especially Viet-Nam might collapse even without the U.S. backing out. We must, however, think of the consequences. The part played by those countries in regard to Asia is perhaps identical with the part played by Berlin with regard to Europe. Already the fact that the U.S. has not intervened in Laos has created great difficulties for us in the Philippines. If now we were to withdraw from Viet-Nam and Viet-Nam were to collapse, that could be taken as a precedent, especially if it were done voluntarily.

"General de Gaulle said that he agreed with the President as to the difficulty of the situation. This difficult situation is due to past mistakes in policy. At the time when France withdrew from Indo-China, the ties of the countries concerned with the West were ties with France. After a military withdrawal of the French, those ties were little by little strengthened in the economic and the cultural areas. The U.S. unfortunately felt obligated to more or less replace France in Indo-China. This was not good and now we are suffering the consequences. France does not intend to repeat the mistakes of the past and feels that it will not intervene, at least not militarily and not at present. . .

"President de Gaulle recalled the war France waged in Indo-China. He stated his feeling that a new war could not lead anywhere even if waged by the U.S. If the U.S. feels that its security or its honor compelled it to intervene, the French will not oppose such an intervention but will not participate in it, except of course if it were to lead to a world-wide war, in which case France would be always at the side of the U.S.

"The President said that in the immediate future, the only thing to do is to try to coordinate in the best possible way the positions of the delegations in Geneva. He himself is extremely reluctant to think of an intervention in Laos, a country with only two air strips and no access to the sea. . .

"General de Gaulle said that he was not certain that the situation was all that bad. The West still has many possibilities, as long as it refrains from military action. It still has influence. French influence had never been as strong as since the French armies had left the area. There is a constant demand for French teachers and specialists, and a constant increase in the number of students in French schools not only in South Viet-Nam but even in North Viet-Nam including Hanoi.
"President Kennedy said that this might be because hostility towards the U.S. has replaced hostility towards its friends. If the U.S. is forced out, France may no longer appear as the lesser evil. The President further stated that he had visited both Saigon and Hanoi in 1951 and he saw the scope of the French effort. France had a lot of troops and good troops in Indo-China. He understands as a consequence that any intervention in that part of the free world have to be a major operation.
"General de Gaulle said that such indeed would not be the case, and the worst thing that could happen to the West would be a military defeat. To sum up, General de Gaulle said that what should be used is careful diplomacy and to seek a return to the Geneva Agreements of 1954."

President Obama, sadly, has inherited a more difficult situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan (not to speak of Iraq) than President Kennedy inherited in Southeast Asia. Had a de Gaulle--or even a George H. W. Bush--been able to talk to the second President Bush, he might easily have made the point that limited American military intervention in the Middle East had done much to create Al Queda and make Osama bin Laden a significant figure, and more military intervention would only make the situation worse. So it has, and not only in those countries. Since 2001 Hezbollah has become far stronger in Lebanon, Hamas has taken over the political leadership of the Palestinian people (in fact if not in name), a new Israeli government is set to repudiate the peace process, and Iraq is fragmented and vulnerable to American influence. Worst of all, the long-term presence of American troops and American firepower in Afghanistan has not only allowed the Taliban to make a comeback there, but the attempt to enlist Pakistan as an ally--despite the longstanding alliance between the Pakistani government and the Afghan Taliban--has led to a Taliban insurgency that has gained control of large parts of Pakistan, while the Pakistani government gets weaker and weaker.

President Obama's Southwest Asia policies are in the hands of Secretary of State Clinton and Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke. The former seems to have become a very conventional foreign policy thinker, while the latter is nearing the half-century mark in his diplomatic career, during which he has consistently shown frightening self-confidence. There is no sign that either one of them has grasped what I and many others regard as the critical element of the situation: the poisonous effect both of American firepower and an excessively close American embrace on regimes in the Muslim world. As de Gaulle told Kennedy, military intervention inevitably carries with it the impression of a desire to rule, and too much money increases corruption. These, in my opinion, are the reason that we are faced with a crisis of historic proportions. It is also rather fascinating to note--and no one who knows Asia disputes this--that the United States is now far more popular in Vietnam, where we eventually abandoned our military intervention, than in either North or South Korea, where our intervention continues.

Faced with the threatened disintegration of nuclear-armed Pakistan, the Administartion--including the President--are, I regret to say, reverting to some of the worst habits of American diplomacy. Here is the President's response last Wednesday to a question about Pakistan:

"I'm confident that we can make sure that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is secure -- primarily, initially, because the Pakistani army I think recognizes the hazards of those weapons falling into the wrong hands. We've got strong military to military consultation and cooperation. I am gravely concerned about the situation in Pakistan not because I think that they're immediately going to be overrun and the Taliban would take over in Pakistan; more concerned that the civilian government there right now is very fragile and don't seem to have the capacity to deliver basic services -- schools, health care, rule of law, a judicial system that works for the majority of people. And so as a consequence it is very difficult for them to gain the support and the loyalty of their people.

"So we need to help Pakistan help Pakistanis. And I think that there's a recognition increasingly on the part of both the civilian government there and the army that that is their biggest weakness.

"On the military side you're starting to see some recognition just in the last few days, that the obsession with India as the mortal threat to Pakistan has been misguided, and that their biggest threat right now comes internally. And you're starting to see the Pakistan military take much more seriously the armed threat from militant extremists.

"We want to continue to encourage Pakistan to move in that direction. And we will provide them all the cooperation that we can. We want to respect their sovereignty, but we also recognize that we have huge strategic interests, huge national security interests in making sure that Pakistan is stable and that you don't end up having a nuclear armed militant state."

No matter how great the truth of what the President said, we should all have learned long ago that publicly lecturing foreign governments--especially Muslim governments in the Third World--about their responsibilities and trying to redefine their priorities simply does not work, partly because following their advice turns us into American puppets. Instead of talking publicly about the need for Pakistan to pay more attention to the Taliban and less to India, we should be privately encouraging those two states to resume the attempt to settle the Kashmir question which was apparently pursued by Pervez Musharraf before he left office. And meanwhile, we need to abandon the fantasy that even if the Taliban did take power, we could attempt to repeat the experiments of intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, this time in a country with well over one hundred million people.

Our goals in Afghanistan look fairly hopeless today as well. Kennedy had the wisdom to avoid intervening in landlocked Laos; we are encountering huge problems supplying our forces in landlocked Afghanistan, since convoys have been vulnerable to Taliban attacks going through Pakistan and other central Asian states are reluctant to allow us to establish bases. Kennedy in the early 1960s had one advantage over Obama in facing possible third world intervention: he had many far more important things to worry about. Most Americans knew that Western Europe, Berlin, and Japan were our vital interests, and Cuba was our biggest problem closer to home. Now, thanks to the relative calm (at least for the moment) in the richer parts of the world, we are obsessed with areas lacking any intrinsic value. The only solution to the Pakistani nuclear weapons problem is the one the President has proposed: the elimination of all nuclear weapons. Let us hope that this will be a real priority, not a gesture--and that perhaps, within eight years, American opinion will see Afghanistan returning, to quote a great American about Vietnam, to the obscurity which it so richly deserves.

23 comments:

Nur-al-Cubicle said...

I recall that Warren Christopher was utterly unable to advise the President but I'm sure that he was one step ahead of Hillary Clinton in this capacity.

Hanuman said...

I arrived here because of the fraudulent email as I was curious how someone with such a fine background could author a piece of junk.

It was great to see that the email was a fraud and to read what was actually on the site. As a fellow Harvard grad and VN vet, I share the view that there was much to be learned and much that was ignored from our VN experience that could have saved the US from embarking on a reckless course of action after 9/11.

I'm equally concerned about the corrosive effects that last 7 or 8 years have had on our nation's values. It's as if we have spent too much time watching Jack Bauer on TV instead of doing our homework.

ginstonic said...

I too found this through SNOPES. I am continually amazed (appalled) at the number of crazy emails I receive from friends and relatives. I am glad to have found your blog.

Anonymous said...

to ban nuclear weapons is an exercise in idealism. terrorists, like thieves or government officials, do not obey laws and the world would still find itself at their mercy.
i envy your solace in democrat rule. unfortunately i don't find comfort in any politician and do not see government by either party as the answer.
for the first time in my adult life i fear for my country.

Kathy Darling said...

I think I know the answer, but did you write this one? If not, who hates you enough to publish this stuff?

This is enlightening. Lest you think it was written by some right-wing kook, David Kaiser is a respected historian whose published works have covered a broad range of topics, from European Warfare to American League Baseball. Born in 1947, the son of a diplomat, Kaiser spent his childhood in three capital cities: Washington D.C., Albany, New York, and Dakar, Senegal. He attended Harvard University, graduating there in 1969 with a B.A. in history. He then spent several years more at Harvard, gaining a PhD in history, which he obtained in 1976. He served in the Army Reserve from 1970 to 1976.

He is a professor in the Strategy and Policy Department of the United States Naval War College and has previously taught at Carnegie Mellon, Williams College and Harvard University. Kaiser's latest book, The Road to Dallas, about the Kennedy assassination, was just published by Harvard University Press.


Dr. David Kaiser

"My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you'll join with me as we try to change it."
- Barack Obama
History Unfolding

I am a student of history. Professionally, I have written 15 books on history that have been published in six languages, and I have studied history all my life. I have come to think there is something monumentally large afoot, and I do not believe it is simply a banking crisis, or a mortgage crisis, or a credit crisis. Yes these exist, but they are merely single facets on a very large gemstone that is only now coming into a sharper focus.

Something of historic proportions is happening. I can sense it because I know how it feels, smells, what it looks like, and how people react to it.. Yes, a perfect storm may be brewing, but there is something happening within our country that has been evolving for about ten to fifteen years. The pace has dramatically quickened in the past two.

We demand and then codify into law the requirement that our banks make massive loans to people we know they can never pay back? Why?
(JCS: Re above and below, I say in order to severlywound our country and our economy, and reduce our will to resist.)

We learned just days ago that the Federal Reserve, which has little or no real oversight by anyone, has "loaned" two trillion dollars (that is $2,000,000,000,000) over the past few months, but will not tell us to whom or why or disclose the terms. That is our money. Yours and mine. And that is three times the $700 billion we all argued about so strenuously just this past September. Who has this money? Why do they have it? Why are the terms unavailable to us? Who asked for it? Who authorized it? I thought this was a government of "we the people," who loaned our powers to our elected leaders. Apparently not.

We have spent two or more decades intentionally de-industrializing our economy. Why?

We have intentionally dumbed down our schools, ignored our history, and no longer teach our founding documents, why we are exceptional, and why we are worth preserving. Students by and large cannot write, think critically, read, or articulate. Parents are not revolting, teachers are not picketing, school boards continue to back mediocrity. Why?

We have now established the precedent of protesting every close election (violently in California over a proposition that is so controversial that it simply wants marriage to remain defined as between one man and one woman. Did you ever think such a thing possible just a decade ago?) We have corrupted our sacred political process by allowing unelected judges to write laws that radically change our way of life, and then mainstream Marxist groups like ACORN and others to turn our voting system into a banana republic. To what purpose?

Now our mortgage industry is collapsing, housing prices are in free fall, major industries are failing, our banking system is on the verge of collapse, social security is nearly bankrupt, as is medicare and our entire government. Our education system is worse than a joke (I teach college and I know precisely what I am talking about) - the list is staggering in its length, breadth, and depth.. It is potentially 1929 x ten... And we are at war with an enemy we cannot even name for fear of offending people of the same religion, who, in turn, cannot wait to slit the throats of your children if they have the opportunity to do so.

And finally, we have elected a man that no one really knows anything about, who has never run so much as a Dairy Queen, let alone a town as big as Wasilla, Alaska . All of his associations and alliances are with real radicals in their chosen fields of employment, and everything we learn about him, drip by drip, is unsettling if not downright scary (Surely you have heard him speak about his idea to create and fund a mandatory civilian defense force stronger than our military for use inside our borders? No? Oh, of course. The media would never play that for you over and over and then demand he answer it. Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter and $150,000 wardrobe are more important.)

Mr. Obama's winning platform can be boiled down to one word: Change. Why?

I have never been so afraid for my country and for my children as I am now.

This man campaigned on bringing people together, something he has never, ever done in his professional life. In my assessment, Obama will divide us along philosophical lines, push us apart, and then try to realign the pieces into a new and different power structure. Change is indeed coming. And when it comes, you will never see the same nation again.

And that is only the beginning..

As a serious student of history, I thought I would never come to experience what the ordinary, moral German must have felt in the mid-1930s. In those times, the "savior" was a former smooth-talking rabble-rouser from the streets, about whom the average German knew next to nothing. What they should have known was that he was associated with groups that shouted, shoved, and pushed around people with whom they disagreed; he edged his way onto the political stage through great oratory. Conservative "losers" read it right now.

And there were the promises. Economic times were tough, people were losing jobs, and he was a great speaker. And he smiled and frowned and waved a lot. And people, even newspapers, were afraid to speak out for fear that his "brown shirts" would bully and beat them into submission. Which they did - regularly. And then, he was duly elected to office, while a full-throttled economic crisis bloomed at hand - the Great Depression. Slowly, but surely he seized the controls of government power, person by person, department by department, bureaucracy by bureaucracy. The children of German citizens were at first, encouraged to join a Youth Movement in his name where they were taught exactly what to think. Later, they were required to do so. No Jews of course,

How did he get people on his side? He did it by promising jobs to the jobless, money to the money-less, and rewards for the military-industrial complex. He did it by indoctrinating the children, advocating gun control, health care for all, better wages, better jobs, and promising to re-instill pride once again in the country, across Europe , and across the world. He did it with a compliant media - did you know that? And he did this all in the name of justice and .... . .. change. And the people surely got what they voted for.

If you think I am exaggerating, look it up. It's all there in the history books.

So read your history books. Many people of conscience objected in 1933 and were shouted down, called names, laughed at, and ridiculed. When Winston Churchill pointed out the obvious in the late 1930s while seated in the House of Lords in England (he was not yet Prime Minister), he was booed into his seat and called a crazy troublemaker. He was right, though. And the world came to regret that he was not listened to.

Do not forget that Germany was the most educated, the most culturedcountry in Europe . It was full of music, art, museums, hospitals, laboratories, and universities. And yet, in less than six years (a shorter time span than just two terms of the U. S. presidency) it was rounding up its own citizens, killing others, abrogating its laws, turning children against parents, and neighbors against neighbors.. All with the best of intentions, of course. The road to Hell is paved with them.

As a practical thinker, one not overly prone to emotional decisions, I have a choice: I can either believe what the objective pieces of evidence tell me (even if they make me cringe with disgust); I can believe what history is shouting to me from across the chasm of seven decades; or I can hope I am wrong by closing my eyes, having another latte, and ignoring what is transpiring around me..

I choose to believe the evidence. No doubt some people will scoff at me, others laugh, or think I am foolish, naive, or both. To some degree, perhaps I am. But I have never been afraid to look people in the eye and tell them exactly what I believe-and why I believe it.

I pray I am wrong. I do not think I am. Perhaps the only hope is our vote inthe next elections.

David Kaiser
Jamestown , Rhode Island
United States

David Kaiser said...

No, Kathy, I didn't. See the post on which you posted your comment! I don't know who started attributing that to me, but he's made me more famous than I ever could!

DK

Anonymous said...

Mr. Kaiser, since it has made you so famous, will you please critique the crazy email. It will be a lot of fun and surely drive even more traffic to your blog. Thank you.

David Kaiser said...

To anonymous (last comment): Sorry, but to address it specifically would allow a certain kind of person to quote selectively to repeat that I agreed with it. I have been critiquing it, in a sense, for many years, talking about where we are and how we got here. And I intend to go on doing so!

Anonymous said...

Most of the emails in this strain (the fraudulent message)I see are amusing. But then again I like fiction. They give a sharp contrast between what people who care to use facts really say and what people who create "facts" and attribute them to a reputable source are saying. They all seem to warn that our nation is being infiltrated by terrorists getting elected to high offices. (The Manchurian Candidate)?
Charles W

truthplease said...

Dr. Kaiser,

In "The Daily Sun" or some such little paper, a Joe Angione is a popular editorial writer. He is of the "Obama needs to show his birth certificate" crowd. He was recently published in this paper citing this internet hoax/ attribution as fact. He used your name over and over and over again as he quoted the Obama/Hitler comparison thingy. Am I old fashioned, or is getting this junk in a newspaper beyond the pail?

I can provide more information, but I hope this is enough for you to contact them.

David Kaiser said...

Dear Truthplease:

I can´t find anything under that name. Please provide more info.

David Kaiser

truthplease said...

"The Daily Sun" is the paper of The Villages, a large retirement area in central Florida. They have a wider circulation than their immediate community.

They do not print a lot of content on the internet, so you would have to have them send you a copy or e-mail you the editorial. They have a website with contact info.

Joe Angione wrote the editorial, but I'm not sure of the print date.

I'm sorry I don't have more information, but I thought you'd want to know.

Auntie Em said...

I'll pass on that it was not you that wrote the article just emailed to me. I see many similarities between the two but there is too much denial.

Jim Baxter said...

Just further evidence that "No one is smarter than their criteria."
selah

Matthew said...

Even though I haven't read any of your works, it was apparent to me that the fraudulent email was highly unlikely to have originated from a well educated Historian as it was a poorly written piece, irrespective of its contents.

Then again, I rarely believe much that lands in my email inbox...

dusty said...

I doubted the e-mail attributed to Mr. Kaiser enough to find this blog. The articles posted here are interesting and appear less "edgy" than the e-mail, but there is no way to positively confirm everything said here without extensive research, which I do not have the time to perform. I yearn for truth and verifiable sources, not passionate opinion.

Nancy Harris said...

With various health care reform bills floating around both the House and the Senate, President Barack Obama is pulling out all the stops to get the votes that the bill needs, which is good news for the public option. President Obama continues to rally behind health care reform. I am really concerned that the fiasco of this reform may make Obama a one-term president.

Kyle said...

Dr. Kaiser,

Do you see any parallels between Germany in the 30's and America today? There seem to be a lot of the same things going on regarding government control of basic liberties, and re-distribution of wealth. Also, how do you feel about many of the people President Obama has surrounded himself with having very radical views?

Very sincerely,

Kyle

jugmaster said...

i agree that the presence of our armed forces causes serious unrest in those locals, however US interventionism has deeper problems to face. Firstly, what prompts us to place these armies abroad? Is it a national security threat? Is their a global menace to eradicate? These may all be parts of the same foundation for intervention but i find wilsonianism creeping in all american foreign policy decisions. this being a universalist attitude to forge a policy devoid of the ability to bridge the gap between geopolitical realities and our idealistic pronouncements. indochina and the muslim world may be the right war, but for the wrong reasons. our plans of nation-building may have a valid place in our hearts but not in our heads. realities play a much bigger role than any idealistic plan. indochina for instance was a place that turned into a power vaccum due to the end of the colonial era. these people have never taken the reins of leadership for themselves. this vacuum, coupled with communist expansion from all major hubs in asia and confucionism that identifies leadership through virtue not through a consensus, was bound to be filled. Americas unfounded domino theory was about to be put to the test if intervention was delay'd. from truman to eisenhower we played mostly an advisory role, much to the one de gaulle wished of kennedy. Later eisenhower saw vietnam as the strategic place that could alter the global balance of power. realistically we should have not chosen vietnam as the place to stop the tide of communism. there were plenty other countries (Malaya, Cambodia) in that area with experience in self governance and a will to fend off guerilla communists. anyway, to bridge americas moral policies toward its political ones, Dulles skillfully maneuvered the US into various legal obligations to southeast asia, he did this to extricate american policy away from backing a colonial power overseeing indochina. this set the stage for "moral" intervention. kennedy went even further and proclaimed america's global prestige is in the balance regarding indochina. So, Not only do we have an obligation to spread democracy, we also will be nation-building the colonial remanence and containing communist expansion militarily, further if we fail any of these colossal objectives our influence will be lost. WOW, american selflessness is a one way ticket to ruin.
Iraq is the same thing, a colonial mess that has no history of democracy that we will rebuild in order to win the hearts and minds of the region. is that not wishful thinking. is not the calculation of a conceivable national interest worth anything. This region of the world is playing a different game than us. since the cold war they have been playing both sides to suit their interests. it is no different now. we gave them money and guns as to keep them out the soviet camp and if we came short they would appeal to the soviets. today we "aid" them in this fight against terrorism. and if its not enough aid then they backtrack on their "fight" against terrorists. is this what we have devolved to, a nation that seeks out monsters to destroy. yes we should have a role in this fight, and i agree that military presence seems to undercut our objectives in those countries, however we should keep our "selflessness" in check and to not be subordinate to moral policy at the sake of national interest.

jugmaster said...

i agree that the presence of our armed forces causes serious unrest in those locals, however US interventionism has deeper problems to face. Firstly, what prompts us to place these armies abroad? Is it a national security threat? Is their a global menace to eradicate? These may all be parts of the same foundation for intervention but i find wilsonianism creeping in all american foreign policy decisions. this being a universalist attitude to forge a policy devoid of the ability to bridge the gap between geopolitical realities and our idealistic pronouncements. indochina and the muslim world may be the right war, but for the wrong reasons. our plans of nation-building may have a valid place in our hearts but not in our heads. realities play a much bigger role than any idealistic plan. indochina for instance was a place that turned into a power vaccum due to the end of the colonial era. these people have never taken the reins of leadership for themselves. this vacuum, coupled with communist expansion from all major hubs in asia and confucionism that identifies leadership through virtue not through a consensus, was bound to be filled. Americas unfounded domino theory was about to be put to the test if intervention was delay'd. from truman to eisenhower we played mostly an advisory role, much to the one de gaulle wished of kennedy. Later eisenhower saw vietnam as the strategic place that could alter the global balance of power. realistically we should have not chosen vietnam as the place to stop the tide of communism. there were plenty other countries (Malaya, Cambodia) in that area with experience in self governance and a will to fend off guerilla communists. anyway, to bridge americas moral policies toward its political ones, Dulles skillfully maneuvered the US into various legal obligations to southeast asia, he did this to extricate american policy away from backing a colonial power overseeing indochina. this set the stage for "moral" intervention. kennedy went even further and proclaimed america's global prestige is in the balance regarding indochina. (continued)

jugmaster said...

( fome previous post) So, Not only do we have an obligation to spread democracy, we also will be nation-building the colonial remanence and containing communist expansion militarily, further if we fail any of these colossal objectives our influence will be lost. WOW, american selflessness is a one way ticket to ruin.
Iraq is the same thing, a colonial mess that has no history of democracy that we will rebuild in order to win the hearts and minds of the region. is that not wishful thinking. is not the calculation of a conceivable national interest worth anything. This region of the world is playing a different game than us. since the cold war they have been playing both sides to suit their interests. it is no different now. we gave them money and guns as to keep them out the soviet camp and if we came short they would appeal to the soviets. today we "aid" them in this fight against terrorism. and if its not enough aid then they backtrack on their "fight" against terrorists. is this what we have devolved to, a nation that seeks out monsters to destroy. yes we should have a role in this fight, and i agree that military presence seems to undercut our objectives in those countries, however we should keep our "selflessness" in check and to not be subordinate to moral policy at the sake of national interest.

pqbu2u said...

"[O]bsessed with areas lacking any intrinsic value"??

How quaintly "American"!

While I would agree with you that total disarmament is a... shall we say, self-evident answer to the problems of governments using nuclear arms, I would be concerned at the idea of having anyone with the above attitude in a position to advise any level U. S. official on foreign policy.

All areas of the planet have "intrinsic value".

It's ironic; as the year and a half since your posting has played out, the hoax email that continues to circulate brings to mind your statement regarding Afghanistan's deserved disappearance from the global stage. The discovery of untold mineral wealth in that country guarantees it's coming out party and suggests that you not quit your day job to start a career as a statesman or a prophet.

Jerry Murphy LTC, US Army Retired said...

I have often commented regarding years of commitments, millions of lives lost, bodies maimed, lands laid waste, incalculable wealth squandered and reputations ruined; that only Rudyard Kipling hit the nail on the head regarding Westerners getting involved with the East. Read on, please:

Kipling Haunts Obama's Afghan War

By Ray McGovern
October 30, 2009


The White Man’s Burden, a phrase immortalized by English poet Rudyard Kipling as an excuse for European-American imperialism, was front and center Thursday morning at a RAND-sponsored discussion of Afghanistan in the Russell Senate Office Building.

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The agenda was top-heavy with RAND speakers, and the thinking was decidedly “inside the box” — so much so, that I found myself repeating a verse from Kipling, who also recognized the dangers of imperialism, to remind me of the real world:

QUOTE
It is not wise for the Christian white
To hustle the Asian brown;
For the Christian riles
And the Asian smiles
And weareth the Christian down.

At the end of the fight
Lies a tombstone white
With the name of the late deceased;

And the epitaph drear,
A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East.
UNQUOTE

We continually GET IT WRONG

Jerry Murphy LTC, US Army,Retired
NHS 1951