We haven’t learned them

by Justin Raimondo
May 01, 2015

Forty years after the fall of Saigon, Washington is still pursuing the same policies that led to the worst defeat in American military history. We never acknowledged, let alone learned, the lessons of that misconceived campaign to “roll back Communism” in Southeast Asia, thus setting ourselves up for endless repeats – in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now, perhaps, Iran.

Just as today’s “war on terrorism” is portrayed as a “generational” struggle against “radical Islam,” so the Vietnam war was an episode in a cold war saga the end of which no one could see. The Soviet Union was presented as Satan with a sword, a mighty enemy sworn to our destruction, whose agents had subverted every country worth conquering and were homing in on the American homeland – unless we acted to stop them.

The reality, however, was quite different. Soviet socialism had struggled to survive ever since the Bolsheviks seized power in a 1917 coup, and only endured World War II due to massive Western aid and US intervention in the conflict. Even before the end of the war, which decimated Russia, the Kremlin had been forced by necessity to make its accommodation with the West, formally giving up the much-cited Communist goal of a world revolution against capitalism in favor of “socialism in one country.” Unable to feed its own people, let alone conquer the world, the ramshackle Soviet empire could hardly keep a hold on its eastern European satellites, facing rebellions in Hungary, Poland, and Czechoslovakia before the final implosion in 1989.

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