John Key a naive repeat of a naive approach – Vietnam

So we will withdraw the useful, well-digging, school-building help. And send in? Guns. Good shit. We did this, following America into the Vietnam debacle, a generation ago. Forget the re-writes of the history of that, Rambo and the rest. The Yanks lost because they attempted to impose their own culture, on a country which (unsurprisingly) wanted it’s own.

The flawed approach (based on cultural arrogance, when you get down to it) presumed that the Vietcong were ‘baddies’, and the South Veitnamese ‘goodies’. In actual fact, they were a nation of raiding highlanders, and lowland croppers, sorting themselves out after a disastrous French occupation. The governments the Americans repeatedly set up/propped up, were in varying degrees corrupt, hardly surprising given that in the absense of good governance, the scum always floats to the surface.

That corruption went alongside American corporate corruption – for instance, tenders were let for concrete, which would have covered South Vietnam to a depth of 100mm. It isn’t, so they didn’t. The money was paid, though.

Obviously, the Yanks (and us) couldn’t win. It was a case of hearts and minds – which an arrogant, ignorant outsider will never win. All they will engender is resentment – which is exactly what happened with Bin Laden – he was originally US trained to fight the Russians, another invader who found that you can’t do it – who essentially learned the same lesson the Yanks did in Vietnam, and equally expensively.

Obama’s shove is copybook McArthur, and will bog down, turn to custard, and fail. A little reading of history may have helped, John. I’ll have to dig out my ‘Hair’ poster, my peace ornament, and the old protest sign. I’ll just cross out Vietnam, write Afghanistan. Where’s John Lennon when you need him – it needs a jolly good song…

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