Vol. 34 No. 1 1967 - page 62

we are fighting. I think that there were other better ways to help the
South Vietnamese resist Communist aggression-with money, technical
assistance, arms-without our proclaiming ourselves, as we have, the
far-reaching nation of the sword, and without this overt control of a
regime of our choice. The overt military stance seriously injures us with
those very elements in the non-Communist world--democratic, liberal,
socialist-which we must most count on if the independent nations are
to develop programs of internal health which are yet resistant to Com–
munism; I have in mind Latin-American democrats, liberals, socialists,
no less than those of Asia: the Russians fight wars all over the world
without such self-exposure. In addition, I don't see how we can implement
a military victory.
Now, writing shortly after the Manila conference, my worry about
the Vietnam war is immeasurably increased by the promise of its pos–
sible multiplication. America has in these last days been committed to a
most active future role in Asia, and one in which we apparently mean to
bypass our European allies. At least, such was the position Johnson
described. (And how was I supposed to vote against this at the polls? I
did not say my option for democracy makes things simple.) Johnson's
statements seemed to me as if designed to intensify the already all-too–
eagerly grasped-at image of America as an imperialism, to be feared
equally with Communist imperialism. Hailed in some quarters as a
triumph of statemanship, I regard them as quite the opposite: an insult
to our European allies and a refusal to hold our place as one among the
community of democratic nations throughout the world; a vaunt of
military power in a political situation which calls for endless strategies, of
a sort that are substantially hampered, if not frustrated, by military overt–
ness. I am of course acquainted with the argument which says that it is
the presence of our troops in Vietnam which encouraged the over–
throw of Communism in Indonesia. This is conjecture, there is no proof,
and I am not convinced; at any rate, I offer the counterargument that
the presence of American troops ninety miles from Cuba has not brought
about the overthrow of Castro, because Cuba is not internally prepared
to make this overthrow; and
a country
ready, as Indonesia must have
been, this implies an internal opposition of sufficient scope to promise
success without external intervention. I am also not convinced that John–
son's statements on Asia were required or useful as a deterrent to China
or even as an encouragement to the independent Asian countries. The
possession of military strength is obviously an adjunct of political strength.
The proclamation of military intention is something else again, and fixes
us in a stance that I think abets the Communist powers in their political
war against us, with an eventual increase in military danger. And this
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