Header Image (book)


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dire Consequences

by Sam Huntington

What I find amazing, in spite of all the complaining “we the people” do about the state of our nation, of our politics, is that no one other than ourselves created our present-day problems. For people that regard themselves well educated or reasonably well informed, we have certainly made a mess of a once great country. It is a trend that has gotten worse over the past 100 years.

Have we always been politically naïve? Yes — and increases in population compounds this problem. In the year of my birth, the US population was 130 million; less than a quarter of those were squawking for entitlements. Now our population is approaching three times that number, with two-thirds of the people demanding their fair share of other people’s money.

The American people have never learned that voting decisions have dire consequences; nor is this always a matter of who we choose as president. Presidents appoint others to advise them. Too many poorly selected administrations have produced a lackluster country.

Here, let me offer two examples. In the first half of 1950, North Korean leader Kim Il-sung (grandfather to the present nitwit) made several trips to Moscow in an attempt to garner Soviet support for his plan to invade South Korea. Ultimately, the Russians gave their support.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, President Harry Truman amazingly ordered Defense Secretary Louis Johnson to gut the military, even while devising his so-called domino theory.  Concurrently, Secretary of State Dean Acheson “mistakenly’ omitted the Korean Peninsula from Truman’s Strategic Asian Defense Plan. This omission gave a green light to Kim Il-sung to invade South Korea.


America went to war. In order to lessen the impact of his incompetence, Truman decided to call it a “police action.” It was a war. It resulted in the death of an estimated 1.2 million people with no clear victory to the Americans.

As the Korean War was getting off to its rocky start, Truman ordered Rear Admiral James H. Doyle to fly to Vietnam and meet with French authorities there. He wanted a clear assessment of French capabilities to hold Vietnam against communist aggression. Protecting dominos was the thrust of Truman’s cold war doctrine.

Upon arrival in Vietnam, Admiral Doyle met with the French Commander in Chief, General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny. The general was perfectly candid with Doyle. He told the admiral, “Everyone opposes us here: the communists, the non-communists, and the peasants in the villages. They don’t want any foreigners here. Given this reality, there is no way we can win against the Viet Minh.”

And of course, General de Tassigny was correct. In 1954, with the help of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, the Viet Minh crushed the French at Dien Bien Phu.

By this time, Eisenhower had become president, and he appointed John Foster Dulles as his Secretary of State. Dulles was no diplomat. While at the Geneva Convention in 1954, Foster refused to shake hands with China’s representative, Chou En-lai. Mr. Chou would answer this insult in a few more years.

By 1961, John Kennedy had already suffered three significant setbacks: the Bay of Pigs Invasion in Cuba, construction of the Berlin Wall, and he was forced to accept a negotiated settlement with the communist Pathet Lao movement. Kennedy was nothing if not inept.

While committed to the defense of Vietnam (in keeping with the Truman Doctrine), John Kennedy didn’t know whom he could trust there. He sent Vice President Johnson to Vietnam to assess the new South Vietnamese president, Ngo Dinh Diem. In Johnson’s view, Diem was the “Winston Churchill” of the Orient and Kennedy decided to give him his full support.

It wasn’t long before Kennedy realized that President Diem was no more than a thug ... uncannily similar to Johnson himself. Diem did more to advance the communist cause than even Ho Chi Minh. Ultimately, Kennedy ordered Diem’s assassination — just days before his own untimely demise.

Johnson’s two primary advisors were Dean Rusk and Dean Acheson. In spite of General de Tassigny’s warning about Vietnam, Johnson concocted the story of a North Vietnamese attack on American ships of war operating in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. Such an attack never took place, but it gave Johnson his war.  And who was the behind-the-scenes master strategist for the opposing side of this conflict?  Chou En-lai.

Dire consequences: an estimated 1.4 million people died in the Vietnam War, and the United States was strategically defeated in the Far East.

Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson did not achieve the presidency through Immaculate Conception. The American people placed them in office, and they in turn selected their advisors and counselors. The price Americans paid for their uninformed folly was the loss of sons, husbands, and sweethearts … and a cultural upheaval with consequences to the present day.

History is illuminating to those who bother to study it. The brutal truth is that America’s foreign policy has been inept for far too long. It is not a failing of one party. No one can imagine there is any substantial difference between Bush the Elder, Clinton, Bush the Younger, or Barack Obama. They are all uninspiring. They all pose a clear and present danger to the interests of the American people. And so we might wonder why we keep electing morons to the presidency …

It would appear that we face two problems. In the first, we must confront the fact that our citizens are poorly educated and lack even a basic understanding of the issues that confront our nation, whether domestic or foreign policy. They have consistently demonstrated a penchant for making poor (and costly) choices.

“The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and, however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true to fact. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right.” — Alexander Hamilton

In the second, we are offered essentially two choices in the general election. We can choose dummy, or dummier. Not a single individual in the most recent Republican primary was qualified to serve as president. We can say with certitude that whenever the entire field of candidates consists of idiots, an idiot will be finally elected.

The previous twelve years must illustrate that we continue to live in a dangerous world. By selecting unqualified leaders, and they in turn inept advisors, we the people are making the world even more dangerous. How many tens of thousands have died needlessly in the Middle East? We cannot place the blame at the feet of our leaders: we elected them.

Today, we remain poised on the brink of conflict: North Korea, Syria, Egypt, Gaza, and Iran. No one is demonstrating a grasp of statesmanship. Not Obama; not any of his advisors, and no one in Congress.

Why are we blustering back and forth with Kim Jong-un? This young man is no more than an unsophisticated little twerp, confined to a rather miniscule section of the Korean Peninsula. Let him parade around his “cold war era” toys. None of those weapons would last more than five minutes in an open exchange with the United States. No one knows this better than Kim Jong-un.

My concern isn’t North Korea. My concern is that we have too many fools working inside the Washington beltway, elected by pathetically ill-informed citizens. Can we maintain the Republic under such circumstances? I think not.  But really, is this the best we can do?


  1. This young man is no more than an unsophisticated little twerp...

    Exactly so.

    He reminds me of some of the twerps I encountered when I was teaching elementary school: "Look at me! Look at me!"

  2. Question: What, exactly, is resolved by a "just war"?

  3. Thank you, Sam for a good refresher course in the history of the past 60-odd years.

    I disagree, however, that we have been consistently led down the garden path by "MORONS." In my opinion le mot juste might better have been "DEMONS." Our present troubles both economic and military got started a full century ago with the initiations of The Progressive Era.

    Since then, we have steadfastly embraced extraordinarily expensive, self-defeating, no-win policies since the Allied Victory in World War Two.

    Don't you think it may be possible that the decisions made at Nuremberg, which occurred almost simultaneously with the creation and adoption of the UN CHARTER [a regrettably popular, falsely benignant LEFTIST initiative, fulfillment of a bad idea promoted by the odious Woodrow Wilson] to "internationalize" our approach to world politics, may be the root cause of our apparent determination to shoot ourselves in the metaphorical foot every time we venture into yet-another ill-advised military boondoggle?

    The creation of the League of Nations -- later to transform itself into the UN -- was the beginning of a determination to cede our sovereignty eventually to a dictatorial World Government where the poorest, weakest, least accomplished, most uncivilized nations -- many of the led by dictators totally unsympathetic to the ideals of OUR Founding Fathers -- would have an EQUAL VOICE in determining economic and social problems in OUR country.

    Since then "colonialism" has been officially regarded as wholly evil, the self-evident phenomenon pejoratively labelled White Supremacy has been debunked and denigrated to the point where a vast number of caucasians have been persuaded to adopt a permanent posture of SELF-ABNEGATION and embrace policies of SELF-IMMOLATION -- a trend I call SUICIDALISM.

    Alexander Hamilton -- an incredibly brilliant man -- had a healthy disrespect for what-he-called "The Whim of the Vulgar Populace." I suppose we must categorize him as an elitist, but I cannot help but feel at this late date that his near-contempt for the opinions and desires of illiterate, uninformed, dirt poor peasants was well placed.

    "The masses are asses." Of that their can be no doubt.

    But then: The Privileged Elite
    Often lead us towards Defeat

    Like the partners in any truly good marriage we need to keep butting our heads together and continue to maintain a healthy skepticism and critical attitude towards ANYONE and EVERYONE who would presume to lead us -- even those who seem to sympathize with "our" passions and prejudices.

  4. Bravo, FT ... Bravo!


    Bellum Justum is a military ethic that originated from Roman and Catholic philosophy. What is resolved, I suppose, is that investing extreme violence upon others is justified according to certain philosophical criteria.

    I’m sure the matter depends on time, place, and circumstances. It is possible that Pope Urban found justification for initiating the Crusades, but I doubt if you will find many in the world today willing to agree. Note that Urban sought to restore Christian access to holy sites, inferring of course that the barbarians had denied this access —which is absolutely true.

    Was World War II a just war? Probably … but while true Hitler and Hirohito brought destruction upon themselves, it is also true that inept politicians set the stage for this horror. No one can justify the result of what Germany and Japan ultimately did throughout Europe and Asia, but one can easily understand how they were able to rationalize their aggression.

  5. I have no doubt that we deserve the government we elect. I have no confidence in our government, but I continue to have high hopes for our nation. I keep hoping that the American people will one day wake up and reassert themselves.

    I believe that war is justified in the defense of our country, but I mean to suggest real interests, rather than the vague crapola too often touted by presidents and members of Congress, who for the most part have never placed themselves in harms way. I even think that pre-emptive war is justified, when (and only when) the evidence is overwhelming that the American people are in danger of an armed attack.

    I agree that our true enemy are those fools inside the beltway, who we reward with high salaries so that they can turn our country into a cesspool.

  6. Yes. This is the best we can do.

    This is the best any government can do. Governments are run by people who want power. That's why they run governments instead of lathes or tractors. People who want power aren't patriots, they're egotists.

    Egotists are stupid. Anyone with an overly high opinion of him/her self is an ass of the finest water, a fact that's written in blood on battlefields all over the world.

    The average IQ of 100 is representative of an extremely dim intelligence level. The average person is in awe of those deemed to be geniuses, when what we call genius should be the average.

    Humans have yet a long way to go in our evolution before we can be expected to do any better than our government, or Greece's, or Russia's, or Venezuela's. We will continue to elect morons for centuries yet. No point in worrying about it now, it's all in our DNA. Come back in 20,000 years or so, maybe things will be better.

  7. Thanks for taking the time to give us a history lesson. I have linked to your post here: http://bobagard.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-consequences-of-uniformed-electorate.html

  8. Bob... "The consequences of uniformed electorate"? Which uniforms are you referring to? Just curious.

  9. In some ways, our society pushes us toward hero worship. By that, I mean we are taught to always do what the doctor tells us … as if doctors are infallible. You can always trust a police officer. When you’re in trouble, a lawyer is your best friend. All sorts of fallacies … mostly told to us by our parents and the other adults “we trusted”. But the fact is, doctors are likely to offer you a prescription that nets them a kickback from the drug company, surgeons operate when there is no reason to do so, cops are murderers and rapists, and you can always tell when a lawyer is lying when his lips are moving.

    And along these lines, we have been told that our politicians are staunch patriots who love America. This probably fits in with those famous lies, beginning with, “I’ll respect you in the morning.” Politicians are scum. They don’t serve their country; they serve themselves. And their mostly lawyers, so …

  10. Watch any episode of "Jay-Walking" on Leno or a Howard Stern spot and know that the public is full of idiots.

    A good half of the people would not be able to name the Vice President. Likely fewer still would be able to name their own Congressman or Senators.

    Problem is, these people vote. Primarily they vote for who the media tells them to.

    As to incompetence and corruption in government, it is top to bottom and from side to side. Dems and Republicans alike. Liberals and "conservatives".

    A recent example.

    Conservatives in Congress have been blathering on and on about cutting spending.

    The GAO releases a report that says we are wasting $250 BILLION a year in duplicated services. All we could hear from Congress were the crickets chirping. They may as well have simply not released the report at all.

    Where is the outrage? Where is the demand to cut this waste out?

    It will not be coming.

    These duplication in services are not wasteful, they are jobs in a Congressman's district.

    There is the problem. The ones to reform our government are in Congress. The ones that created, and perpetuate, the mess are - in Congress.

  11. OT
    Thank you for adding my site to your blogroll.
    God bless your work.



We welcome civil dialogue at Always on Watch. Comments that include any of the following are subject to deletion:
1. Any use of profanity or abusive language
2. Off topic comments and spam
3. Use of personal invective