Vietnam

Three Democratic Presidents In Past Half Century Promoting Peace And Diplomacy In Foreign Policy

The three Democratic President in the past half century—Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama–all promoted peace and diplomacy in foreign policy.

Hopefully, the next Democratic President elected in 2020 will do the same.

Carter promoted the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel; brought about the Panama Canal Treaty; and opened up diplomatic relations with mainland China.

Clinton promoted the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, although later the progress made was reversed with the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Clinton also opened up diplomatic relations with Vietnam. And he also was able to bring about the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, between Catholics and Protestants.

Obama ended involvement in Iraq in 2011, although later sending some troops back to deal with the rise of ISIS (ISIL). He also opened up diplomatic ties with Raul Castro’s Cuba, although lately, the progress made has been derailed by Donald Trump and by incidents involving attack on the hearing of diplomats in Cuba, not only the US, but also Canada. Additionally, the Iran Nuclear Agreement was arranged, with the backing of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, and Russia. Sadly, Donald Trump has backed away from the agreement, and the future is uncertain, including the possibility of war with Iran at some point.

Each of these Presidents had to use military force, as Carter did to try to rescue the hostages in Iran in 1980; Clinton bombing Serbia and Kosovo over murder of Muslims by Christians in the former Yugoslavia; and Obama continuing US intervention in Afghanistan.

But all three Presidents are seen as having the right intention, and did what they could to promote reconciliation and negotiation, rather than military confrontation.

Whoever is the next President needs to revive this tradition.

A further elaboration of this article will be published on HistoryNewsNetwork.org this Sunday, and all of my more than 100 published articles on HNN are listed on the right side of this blog.

George Orwell’s “1984” And The “Big Lie” Technique Of Totalitarian Governments (Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, et al), And Donald Trump 2018

We are now witnessing a President who evokes the novel “1984” by George Orwell, about the totalitarian mind and society.

He also has become a well known master of the “Big Lie” technique utilized by Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, the People’s Republic of China, Fidel Castro’s Cuba, and other totalitarian nations such as North Korea, and Vietnam, but also used now by Putin’s Russia, Turkey, Egypt, the Philippines and other autocracies.

The battle to preserve the American democratic republic we have is becoming more intense, as on the horizon, we could see Donald Trump taking brash actions, without adequate response by Congress and the courts.

His attack on journalism and the news media are a threat to all of us, as without a free press (both print and electronic), we are on the road to a dictatorship, which would be intolerable, and likely would lead to the outbreak of civil war, a horrifying thought, as it would cause total collapse of the American economy. It would lead to large numbers of dead and wounded (probably far greater in a nation now eleven times the population in 1860), and would make us a nation under constant threat and possible takeover by enemy nations, including Russia and China.

That is why the battle to change Congress in November is more urgent than at any time in modern history.

This is a question of life and death long term for this nation, which has been a beacon for many around the world.

Ken Burns’ New PBS Documentary On The Vietnam War Due In September

Ken Burns, the brilliant documentary producer, is about to present to America what may be his most brilliant series yet, on the Vietnam War, scheduled for 18 hours on PBS in late September.

Burns, of course, produced series on the Civil War, Baseball, National Parks, Jazz, The Roosevelts, The War (World War II), The West, New York, Prohibition, Jackie Robinson, and other creative films, many of which have been seen as the best documentaries ever produced.

No one can accuse Burns of not tackling difficult subjects, and this new extended series, will be exhaustive in covering all angles of the impact of the Vietnam War on Southeast Asia, as well as the United States.

With the Vietnam War now part of the past for 42 years, since its ultimate end in 1975, it is time for a thorough study of that war which divided America like no event since the Civil War, and Ken Burns does a superb job!

The President of Vietnam was greeted at the White House last week by President Trump, with nary a mention of the fact that we fought there for a decade, and lost 58,000 military personnel. As I watched, I wonderered why there is still so much tumult over Cuba, with the hint that Trump would cut back on the advancements in the relationship between America and Cuba made under Barack Obama, a nation where we lost no combat troops.

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: Dramatic Rise Of Dwight D. Eisenhower And Ulysses S. Grant Since First Poll In 2000

The C Span 2017 Presidential Survey demonstrates the dramatic rise of two war heroes in our two major wars: Dwight D. Eisenhower in World War II, and Ulysses S. Grant in the Civil War.

Both were Republican Presidents with low historical esteem as Presidents, particularly Grant, but both suffering from long term negative images in the White House.

But Ike, as Eisenhower was affectionately known, has soared from 9 in 2000 to 8 in 2009 to 5 in 2017, surpassing Harry Truman, who dropped slightly from 5 in 2000 and 2009 to 6 in 2017.

And Grant, who was 33 in 2000, soared amazingly to 23 in 2009 and now 22 in 2017.

Ike was well liked, but thought of as a weak, lackadaisical President when he left office in 1961, more remembered at the time for playing golf than anything else.

People thought of the fact that Ike “allowed” the Soviet Union to go into space first in 1957; and that the U-2 Spy Plane Incident in 1960 complicated relations with the Soviet Union, and ignored the many accomplishments of the 34th President.

Since then, his stock has risen with the understanding of his handling of the Little Rock Crisis in 1957; his ability to work with leaders of the opposition Democrats (Sam Rayburn and Lyndon B. Johnson) who controlled Congress for 6 of his 8 years; his acceptance of the New Deal programs of FDR; his creation of a federal commitment to health, education and welfare through the HEW Department in his first year; his promotion of the interstate highway system as a followup to Abraham Lincoln’s transcontinental railroad; his signing the first two Civil Rights laws since Reconstruction; the establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Defense Education Act in reaction to Sputnik; his refusal to escalate to major involvement in Vietnam and warning his successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, to avoid the morass that occurred; and his path breaking Farewell Address, warning of a military industrial complex endangering American democracy and American foreign policy.

Grant was thought of historically as a great General in the Civil War, gaining the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House in Virginia to end the Civil War, but as President best remembered for his liquor problems, making him a certifiable alcoholic; massive scandals around his Presidency, typified by the Credit Mobilier Scandals; two Vice Presidents (Schuyler Colfax and Henry Wilson) involved in corruption; and economic hard times leading to the worst economic downturn (the Panic of 1873) until that time, with a massive depression that undermined the majority party outside the South, the Republican Party, and led to the contested Election of 1876.

But in recent years, there has been recognition of Grant promoting racial equality through backing of Congressional Reconstruction in the South and the support of the 15th Amendment and laws against the Ku Klux Klan and additional Civil Rights legislation; promotion of an Indian peace policy very different from earlier and later times; his around the world tour after his Presidency adding to his stature; his amazing Memoirs, written as he was dying of cancer, and still considered a classic work, unsurpassed by any other President; and the deep mourning and honoring of Grant in death, including the commemoration of Grant’s Tomb in New York City in 1897. No one even in 2017 is rating him in the top 20 Presidents, but his rise from very low to middle status is quite an accomplishment, although it is hard to imagine him rising any further.

The question arises whether modern Presidents, including Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon, who have fallen in recent times in the Presidential polls, will yet arise and pass Grant, and knock him down below them in the future. Historians are constantly changing their perceptions of our Chief Executives, and it will continue into the long term future.

The War Against Latino And Other Immigrants And Latino American Citizens Begins, Including Crisis With Mexico Over Proposed Wall

The war against Latino immigrants and Latino American citizens has begun, less than one week after Donald Trump took the oath of office.

We will see victimization of people from not only Mexico, but also Central America, South America, Caribbean Islands, and also from the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, India, Pakistan, China, Japan, and other Asian nations, as well as Muslim nations all over the world.

Racism and nativism is in full swing, and the lady on the Statue of Liberty near Ellis Island is weeping, as we have now seen the worst attack on immigration and minorities from Latin America, Asia and the Middle East that we have had in our lifetime, except for those who were alive and remember the terrible victimization of Japanese American citizens and Japanese immigrants 75 years ago after Pearl Harbor, with 120,000 interned in camps.

Not only will the government now seemingly deport more immigrants and break up more families, but one can be sure that there are plans to intern Muslim Americans when and if a few Muslim terrorists strike in America.

Civil liberties, Civil Rights, and liberty and justice are being ignored as the Trump Fascist era begins, and the question is how to bring it to an end as soon as possible, since the possibility of a dictatorship and martial law is not something we can be assured will not happen at this delicate time.

And expect a possible low level war situation at the 2,000 mile long Mexico-US border, with the plan moving ahead to build a wall, and make Mexico pay for it, which the President of Mexico declared would not occur, leading to the cancellation of a meeting at the White House. Tension will certainly rise, and we are in the worst relationship since the 1920s with our neighbor to the south.

We do not need a new foreign policy and national security headache, but Donald Trump is insuring it with his reckless and dangerous decisions.

Asian Americans: The Ultimate Swing Vote In Florida, Virginia, Nevada In the Presidential Election Of 2016, And Influence Nationally!

One group that has not gained much attention in the fury of the Presidential Election campaign of 2016 are Asian Americans, the fastest growing group in America.

With a little more than 5 percent of the population, and rapidly growing in Florida, Virginia, and Nevada, and already substantial in New York, California, Illinois, Maryland, Washington State, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado and other states, Asian Americans are very likely to play a pivotal role in who wins the Presidency.

Asian Americans could also affect Senate and House races, as they are very likely to vote, and the vast majority have tended to vote Democratic in recent years.  The growing numbers of Asian Americans in Central and South Florida, Northern Virginia, and the Las Vegas metropolitan area are likely to insure that those three key swing states should influence the Democratic candidate’s likelihood of winning the Presidency.

Many do not realize how  many different Asian groups are included–including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino, as well as those from India, Pakistan and other nations in Asia.  Very accomplished and very dedicated to their civic duty to participate in the electoral battle is a great way to describe Asian Americans.

And the history of Asian Americans is always in the background–particularly the banning of Chinese immigration from 1882-1943, and the mistreatment of Japanese Americans in California early in the 20th century, and the forced internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans in World War II.

Asian Americans know that they must fight against nativism, racism, and religious discrimination, including those of Muslim faith.

So the Republican Party has a major problem in drawing Asian American support, with 73 percent voting for Barack Obama in 2012!

Marco Rubio On Barack Obama: Rubio Needs A Reality Check!

Marco Rubio said yesterday that it is NOT the lack of experience of Barack Obama that is at issue.

Rather, it is Obama’s viewpoints and policies.

So Marco Rubio thinks providing health care for all Americans is a bad idea, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks we cannot and should not do anything legislatively to deal with gun violence, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks it was a good thing to shut down the government, and create constant crises over the budget and debt limit, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks women have abortions for “fun” and “profit”, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks it is bad to have a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks having an opening to Cuba is bad, even though Ronald Reagan dealt with the “evil empire”, the Soviet Union, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks dealing with Iran in any form is wrong, and it is better to go to war against Iran without first trying diplomatic methods to gain our goals, as Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter,  and Ronald Reagan believed with China  and the Soviet Union, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks working toward dialogue with both Cuba and Iran is wrong, but Richard Nixon established diplomatic openings to China and Bill Clinton to Vietnam, the latter a generation after we lost 58,000 military personnel, heh?

These are just eight areas where Marco Rubio thinks Barack Obama is wrong, but reality is that Barack Obama is correct, and it is Marco Rubio who is out of touch with reality and has a need to broaden his horizons and understanding of what is really important in domestic and foreign policy!

 

Diplomatic Relations With Unfriendly Governments: Soviet Union, People’s Republic Of China, Vietnam, Cuba, And Now Issue Of Iran

When it comes to the issue of foreign policy and international relations, the controversy over whether the United States should have diplomatic relations and embassies in nations that are our rivals, our opponents, is a constant debating point.

Clearly, when the United States is at war with a foreign government, diplomatic relations cease.

Also, if a foreign government chooses to break off diplomatic relations on its own, then clearly there will be no diplomatic relations.

But other than these situations, the idea that, somehow, refusing to deal with an unfriendly government is beneficial does not ring true!

There are always good reasons to have a diplomatic channel, a way to relate to and deal with a hostile foreign government, if for no other reason, to allow discussion of contentious issues that may arise, including hostages, military and naval challenges, and providing for humanitarian interventions when there are natural disasters.

After all, even if governments do not get along, the people of the United States need not see other nations’ people as enemies!

And failure to recognize changes of government never works in our behalf, as witness our long diplomatic isolation of the Soviet Union from 1917-1933; of the People’s Republic of China from 1949 to 1979 (although Richard Nixon visited China in 1972 and started trade, cultural and tourism contacts); of Vietnam (from 1975 when the Vietnam War finally ended until 1995); and now of Cuba from 1961 to this month.

It turns out the diplomatic isolation of Cuba lasted 54 years, way beyond the 16 years of the Soviet Union; the 30 years of China; and the 20 years of Vietnam.

Nothing was accomplished by the diplomatic isolation of Cuba, and while the government of that nation is a dictatorship, as with Russia, China, and Vietnam, we cannot decide that a dictatorship, as reprehensible as it is, can be, somehow, made to change by ignoring them and refusing to deal with them.

If we were to use that as a guide, that a nation was run as a dictatorship and therefore we would not deal with that nation, then we would have to suspend diplomatic relations with most of the world’s 193 nations.

But we have dealt with brutal dictatorships regularly in Latin America, Asia and Africa, as well as Eastern Europe.

We could wish the world was like us; Canada; Australia; New Zealand; and Western European nations; Japan; and selected nations in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, but we must deal with the world as it is, not the way we wish it was!

So, the issue of Iran, a hostile nation engaged in trouble making in the Middle East; calling for the extermination of Israel; calling the United States “the devil”; and gaining nuclear energy information rapidly, cannot be ignored.

It is better to deal with Iran, as much as they are willing, as the people of the nation are clearly not in support of their theocratic Islamic regime, and we are not going to gain by a war with Iran, a large nation with large population, which, if we went to war, the effect would be to unite the nation in nationalistic fervor to defend the homeland.

The answer is, if possible, not only to get the nuclear deal negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry to be ratified, but also to attempt to ameliorate the danger and threat of Iran through further diplomatic engagement!

Presidents And Difficult Diplomacy: TR, FDR, Truman, JFK, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Obama

Presidents have to deal with recalcitrant nations in diplomacy, including nations that are our adversaries.

The key is to promote agreements, with the ability to verify and hold nations accountable, under international agreement. It is not an issue of trust, as many nations see other nations as rivals, but rather the ability to come to agreements with the understanding that violations can lead to a confrontational situation if they are not kept.

Presidents have regularly taken bold steps in diplomacy with other nations, whereby they suffered from strong criticism as being naive and weak, but history tells us they actually demonstrated courage and principle, that international agreements could be upheld if both sides wish to avoid military confrontation.

So we have President Theodore Roosevelt negotiating agreements with a newly ambitious Japan after the Russo-Japanese War.

So we have President Franklin D. Roosevelt deciding to establish diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union after 16 years of non recognition.

So we have President Harry Truman deciding to recognize Israel, and in so doing, alienating Arab nations in the Middle East.

So we have President John F. Kennedy agreeing to the Nuclear Best Ban Treaty in 1963 with the Soviet Union, and it is still in effect today. This came after the Cuban Missile Crisis, which many believed the result would not be obeyed by the Soviet Union, but they did precisely what was required under the settlement.

So we have President Richard Nixon, who made arms limitation agreements (SALT I) with the Soviet Union, and opened the door to contacts with the People’s Republic of China, both moves that are now hailed, although criticized at the time.

SO we have President Jimmy Carter accomplishing something no one would have believed, an agreement between Israel and Egypt, and mutual recognition, in what became known as the Camp David Accords. Additionally, Carter decided to recognize the Communist government in China as being China, rather than Taiwan.

So we have President Ronald Reagan, after calling the Soviet Union an “evil empire”, negotiate arms agreements with Mikhail Gorbachev.

So we have President Bill Clinton bringing about peace between the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, an event that seemed impossible of achievement, known as the Good Friday Agreements of 1998. He also established diplomatic relations with Vietnam, a generation after the end of the divisive war in Vietnam was lost.

So now we have President Barack Obama negotiating an agreement to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons, with five other nations engaged in the process, and to prevent war, while guaranteeing the security of Israel and Arab nations. Like all the others, it is a gamble, as no one can be sure of Iran’s ultimate actions, but it has worked out in all of the other cases. He also has established diplomatic relations with the government of Fidel and Raul Castro in Cuba.

And yet, nothing is a panacea, as Russia and China still present a challenge, but progress was made to avoid war, and that is happening again now, with the understanding that if the agreement is broken, war is always an ultimate alternative!

Presidents And Dictatorships: Double Standard Of Critics Of Obama Change Of Cuban Policy

Presidents of the United States deal with reality, not what they might wish was so.

America has had diplomatic relations with all sorts of terrible people who govern the world’s nations over time.

Latin American dictatorships, including those of Fulgencio Batista in Cuba; Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic; the Duvalier dynasty, father and son, in Haiti; Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua; and military dictatorships in all of the South American nations at different times, have been accepted by American Presidents.

Our Presidents have dealt with Asian dictatorships, including China beginning with Richard Nixon; and with Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Vietnam, South Korea for decades, Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan and the former Soviet Republics, now independent, but almost all of them dictatorships.

We have dealt with the Arab nations of the Middle East and with Iran under the Shah, despite their harsh dictatorships.

We have had dealings with African dictatorships of all stripes, including South Africa under Apartheid; and the brutal governments of much of the continent.

Somehow, Cuba has been seen differently, when the governments of many of the world’s nations has been far worse in their oppression than Fidel and Raul Castro.

This is not saying that Fidel and Raul Castro cannot, rightfully, be condemned for their human rights violations, but if human rights was the guide, we would not have any diplomatic relations or trade with 80 percent of the world!

When Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and the two Presidents Bush have embraced, and even endorsed, dictators, it was always seen as no big deal, but when Barack Obama opens up to Cuba after 54 years, it is perceived as a crime of massive proportions, while we willingly accepted the previous harsh dictatorship in Cuba of Batista and his henchmen!

Hypocrisy anyone?