Vietnam Lessons Unlearned and/or Political System Out of Control
By Michael Rozeff
If America had learned the lessons taught by the Vietnam War and if the political system had responded to the goal of peace, U.S. interventions would have ceased and a different set of policies put into place. The U.S. would have visibly disengaged from the Middle East, among other places. This didn’t happen. Americans did not learn and retain the lessons taught. No change in institutions of government were made. Interventions didn’t cease. They came back with a vengeance. The government remained out of control, responsive to interests that promote interventions. The conditions necessary to produce interventions run very deep into the constitutional structure. They have not altered. Therefore, whenever those at the helm of government decide they want to intervene, they do and they have.
Ukraine is the latest example of this.
The U.S. government has an unbroken record of interventions that have failed to benefit the country it governs, America: Vietnam, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Israel, and now Ukraine. This is not an exhaustive list.
From the standpoint of this country, the U.S. should never have supported NATO’s expansion. It should never have interfered in Ukraine. It should not interfere now. Washington shouldn’t choose sides between Russia and Ukraine or between Moscow and Kiev. Washington should be neutral; that’s what serves the people it governs. Only further trouble can come of meddling in disputes among foreign countries. One or the other side and sometimes both come to regard the U.S. as an enemy, or with bitterness and rancor, or make demands upon Americans. Battles heighten. The U.S. gets bogged down in disputes of which it is ignorant. It gets into disputes it cannot resolve. In the case of Ukraine, U.S. meddling has already led to sanctions against Russia and to propaganda that demonizes Putin. This does Americans no good.
Americans have not learned the lessons of Vietnam and their political system is shaped so as to allow interventions whenever America’s leaders give them the green light.