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Movie time!

The_Interview_2014_poster

Congratulations!  You are done!  Come in tomorrow prepared to watch a historically based movie.  Not “the interview” it’s just all I had in my inventory.  Bring popcorn and water.  It’s all over and the next few weeks will fly by. Hang in there!

 

Kissinger 31 – A New World Order

kissinger trump.jpg

So what is this “New World Order”? I am not inclined to give much credit to the boundless conspiracy theories but they do make for some humorous anecdotes (see Simpson’s “Stonecutter’s Song”).

Seriously though what would Kissinger say now, 23 years after the publication of this book, about the New World Order. There is an inescabably Eurocentric focus to his analysis of the periods of various World Orders, from the Peace of Westphalia to the Congress of Vienna. What did these conceptions mean to the populations of Southeast Asia, Africa or the Americas? Not much, thank you. If that is the case then, if Kissinger is really talking about European hegemony, and I think we could safely argue that the United States is a product of that, then is our current embroilment in the “war on terror” really much of a surprise?

As we conquered the west in the euphemism of “manifest destiny” the native American’s pushed back but could not prevail. As “we”, meaning the European history and culture of representative democracy, separation of church and state and free market systems, push into all corners of the globe, is it really surprising that some are pushing back? Is it surprising that some have acquired the means to really hurt us? Will 9/11 be regarded as a sort of modern battle of little bighorn? Was the Soviet retreat from Afghanistan like the Spanish retreat from the great Pueblo Revolt of 1680? Are the events in Syria and North Korea a Cold War 2.0?

By 2110 at least one other “New World Order” will have emerged by then according to Kissinger’s rubric, what will the students of this classroom refer to our time as? What do you think?

Kissinger 30 – The End of the Cold War

Ronald_Reagan-AB

Kissinger’s assessment of Reagan is a riot I think.  So unintellectual, so contradictory, so bombastic but also for HK, so effective.  In the end even though RR skewered our dear Henry in his 76 presidential bid (running against incumbent Ford for nomination), Dr. K. cannot hold a grudge.  All those recycled jokes and stories, though he was bored with the details of foreign policy (or perhaps just with Kissinger), Reagan wins the approval of our dear ex-secretary.

Another big part of the story here is of course the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Why?  It certainly was not Gorbachev’s intention.  Why, according to Kissinger, did the USSR collapse?

Reagan and the Evil Empire

 

Have you all seen these before?  They’re called “Word clouds”.  You can cut and paste text and the words will be randomized but also manipulated in size by their frequency.  In other words in Reagan’s “Evil Empire” speech, above, he used “God” quite a bit and “communism” rather less so.  I think they are interesting.

Here in Ambrose and Brinkley’s 15th chapter we have a marathon of words.  40+ pages!  Note the 5th edition was published in 1988, the sixth in 1991.  In one of those editions, the 6th I suspect, this chapter was new and a classic case of not having enough historical distance to weed out the significant from the non.

If I were hunting for terms I might choose Ambrose’s take in the Iran-Contra affair, Lebanon, Grenada and maybe the Falkland Islands.

So what do A&B think of old Ronnie?  Good or bad or somewhere in-between?

Vietnam REview REally

OK Google site being weird.  Scroll away;

Topics

Vietnam and beyond

 

1 – Assess the social and economic causes of one twentieth century war (Vietnam). (2005/2)

Prompt 1: Assess the social and economic causes of the Vietnam War.

 

THESIS:

The Vietnam war was mainly caused largely by social pressures in the form of imperialist and anti-communist sentiment on the part France and the US, as well as anti-colonialist attitudes of the Vietnamese.

 

ALTERNATIVE POV:

  • Communism was a front for economic interests, simply an excuse for extensive international involvement for economic gain (problematic advice given to Saigon gov by Kennedy postulated as a major cause, destabilized)

 

Background / TLDR :

  • Vietnam declared independence from from France
  • France gets mad because it wants its colony back
  • North Vietnam beats France at the battle of Dien Bien phu
  • So now north and south Vietnam are split into two countries and both are independent countries
  • Then the US gets mad that NV is communist and wants to help get Vietnam back as a colony so they get involved
  • They help SV because SV wants to partner with the US for independence (sidenote, rivalry began between the 2 Vietnams bc NV + Viet Cong both hated SV gov for partnering with the US = NV and VC vs USA )
  • Then the us gets involved and it becomes a full fledged war, the US vs NV bc anti-communist

 

WHY DID THE WAR START

Economic

  • US, Japan, France wanted Vietnamese exports such as rubber and rice / economic dominance (colonies)

 

Social

  • colonial memory of Vietnam, led Vietnam to fight a total war against the US for what they believed to be their independence
    • Vietnam became a French colony in 1887
    • during WW2, the Japanese invaded Vietnam, and after the war the Vietnamese want to establish their own government and elected Ho Chi Minh, but the Allies gave South Vietnam back to the French
    • bad treatment of North Vietnamese by Nationalist Chinese also led to support for Ho Chi Minh
      • Nationalist Chinese pulled out of North Vietnam in 1946 and the Viet Minh took over
  • French feared the loss of Vietnam would weaken French status, wanted to keep colony, led to fighting, bombing of Haiphong

 

WHY DID THE US JOIN

Social

  • fear of communism
    • Russian controlled / allied with North Vietnam, fear of pervasive communism, seen as democracy vs communism
    • containment/domino theory
    • Cold War tensions; Vietminh and Nation Liberation Front as agents of communism
    • send in guerilla fighters (Green Berets) to help French, worried about French falling
  • US feelings of superiority and belief that they could easily win the conflict in Vietnam; overconfidence
    • affected by few voices of dissent in 1965

 

Economic

  • as communism grew and continued to distribute wealth internally capitalist shares would decline / the portion of the economy exploited by these individuals would decline
  • Truman also hoped that assisting the French in Vietnam would help support non communist nations, and prevent domino theory in Asia and control over this region would:
    • provide markets for Japan (rebuilding)
    • US involvement in Vietnam reassured the British, who linked their postwar recovery to the revival of the rubber and tin industries in their colonies
    • with US aid, the French could concentrate on economic recovery at home, and could hope ultimately to recall their Indochina officer corps to oversee the rearmament of West Germany, a Cold War measure deemed essential by the Americans

 

Sort of counterpoint link below

http://www.polyconomics.com/ssu/ssu-020621.htm

 

 

2 – Explain the changing nature of the United States’ involvement in Vietnam between 1963 and 1975. (2013/02)

Vietnam and Beyond

 

Prompt 2: Explain the changing nature of the United States’ involvement in Vietnam between 1963 and 1975.

 

Thesis: During Kennedy’s presidency, US military involvement in Vietnam was at an all time high, and continued to increase as Johnson became president in 1963 despite disapproval from a large number of Americans. After Nixon became president in 1969 he implemented Vietnamization which gradually reduced US involvement in the war.

 

Johnson: (1963-1968)

  • “Inherited” war from Kennedy after his assassination in 1963
  • Kennedy increased military and economic aid
  • Increased military advisors from under 700 to over 16,000
  • After Kennedy’s assassination he increased aid to South Vietnam to combat the counterinsurgency
  • Johnson was determined to prevent North Vietnamese communists from taking over the U.S.-supported government of South Vietnam
  • American troops in Vietnam soared from 16,000 when he took office in 1963 to more than 500,000 in 1968
  • The war remained in stalemate as casualties on both sides escalated, inspiring anti-war protests and causing Johnson’s popularity to plummet.

 

Nixon: (1969-1974)

  • Vietnamization (withdrew American forces and built up the army in South Vietnam)
  • Wanted to reduce the amount of American lives lost (31,000 troops had died by the time Nixon came into office)
  • He also aided South Vietnamese officials to organize local elections and implement social reforms and economic development initiatives
  • Nixon secretly authorized bombing campaigns and a ground invasion of Cambodia (a neutral country)
  • Nixon gradually reduced the number of US troops (from 549,000 in 1969 to 69,000 in 1972)
  • Nixon negotiated a peace treaty with the North Vietnamese leaders in 1973 (the U.S. agreed to withdraw its remaining troops within 60 days in exchange for an immediate cease-fire)

 

Ford: (1974-1975)

  • Tried to push to supply more military aid in Vietnam and couldn’t convince Congress
  • Stood by while watching our forces fall to the Communist forces

 

Alternate POV:

 

 

3 – “Although it began in Europe the spread of the Cold War to other regions was a much more dangerous development.” To what extent do you agree with this judgment? (2003/2)

 

4 – Evaluate the impact of Cold War tensions on two countries (one being Vietnam Steussy edit) ((excluding the USSR and the US legit IB edit) (2017/2)

 

5 – Analyze the political impact of the Vietnam War upon the United States between 1964 and 1974. (2001/3)

  1. Analyze the political impact of the Vietnam War upon the United States between 1964 and 1974.

 

The Vietnam war impacted the politics of the United States to a great extent, including policies, foreign relations, and rights.

 

  • End of the draft
    • Before the 1972 election, Nixon ended the draft and shifted to an all-volunteer force.
  • 18 year olds granted the right to vote
  • The opening to China
    • Driven by political realignment
    • President took trip to China  Nixon 1972)
  • Anti War movement
  • Policy changes
    • The conflict led Congress to end the military draft
    • Replace it with an all-volunteer army as well as reduce the voting age to 18
    • Congress also passed the War Powers Act over Nixon’s veto in November 1973, which restricted the president’s power to send American troops into combat for more than 90 days without explicit Congressional consent. (The resolution represent legislators’ desire to restrain presidential power and to prevent further U.S. involvement in a war like Vietnam. It made it impossible for presidents to “single-handedly dictate military policy as commander in chief of the armed forces.” This meant that the president could no longer ignore Congress’s word.)
  • The news of atrocities such as the My Lai massacre questioned the U.S. claim of moral superiority and its status as the world defender of freedom and right. Together with the Watergate scandal, the war weakened American people’s faith and confidence in their governments. In fact, there was a widespread public distrust of the government, especially in military decisions right after the war.
  • The war in Vietnam deeply split the Democratic Party. As late as 1964, over 60% of those surveyed identified themselves in opinion polls as Democrats. The party had won seven of the previous nine presidential elections. But the prosecution of the war alienated many blue-collar Democrats, many of whom became political independents or Republicans.
  • The war undermined liberal reform and made many Americans suspicious of the government. President Johnson’s Great Society programs competed with the war for scarce resources, and constituencies who might have supported liberal social programs turned against the president as a result of the war. The war also made Americans, especially the baby boomer generation, more cynical and less trusting of government and of authority.

Different perspective:

  • The Vietnam war had a greater impact on the policies in Vietnam rather than the U.S.
    • After the fall of Saigon Vietnam becomes a unified country under the North Vietnamese communist government
    • Vietnam became isolated from various foreign regions
    • Vietnam’s pursue of isolationist policies in combination with the United States attempt to isolate Vietnam economically led to a disastrous results for the economy of Vietnam
    • Policy makers, were set on incorporating the South into the communist order as quickly as possible, and were confronted with both dissension within the North’s leadership and southern resistance to the proposed pace of change.

“New economic zones” was a program implemented by the communist government causing the migration of northern vietnamese to southern regions

 

6 – “Many twentieth century wars had the characteristics of both a limited and a total war.”. With reference to two wars (Vietnam being one) explain to what degree you agree with this statement. (2010)

 

7 – Compare and contrast the roles of Korea and Vietnam in the Cold War. (2008)

#7: Compare and Contrast the roles of Korea and Vietnam in the Cold War (2008)

Thesis: Although both conflicts in Korea and Vietnam were initiated mostly due to the western fear of communism spreading (domino theory), they differed in who gave aid, the ways the conflicts were physically fought and how they were resolved.

 

Korea: (never completely solved)

  • Aid of China
  • US aid for S Korea
  • US involvement in Korea to protect Japan/Taiwan (Formosa)
    • MacArthur wanted to completely take over Korea
    • There wasn’t  very clear stopping point established
  • Soviet Union directly involved (Stalin and Kim Il-Sung)

 

Vietnam: (american interest)

  • US involvement in Vietnam b/c of domino theory
  • No apparent support from communist superpower
  • Guerilla warfare
  • 1960’s to 1970’s
  • N Vietnam “won” the war at the very end, they got the enemy to sign a “treaty” that was very advantageous to themselves. If shortened it could basically be said that Communism wins.

 

Both:

  • Caused domestic issues
  • Fear of communism spreading (Both countries fighting to be communist or democratic)
    • Alternative perspective: Korea was fought to protect Japan and Formosa instead of the domino theory.
  • Foreign intervention (US, Australia, USSR)
  • Decolonization
  • Neither was officially declared a war
  • Internal fights (basically a civil war)