Tragic History: From Bay of Pigs to Dumbkirk
Historians like to mark the end of one era and the beginning of another. For example: The years 1817-1825 are considered the Era of Good Feelings, a time when the major political parties put aside their differences in a patriotic pursuit of national unity.
The Eisenhower years that followed the Korea War were tranquil. Everything seemed so "right." Even JFK’s "missile gap" was pure political myth.
But then, came the Bay of Pigs disaster, followed by JFK’s foolish cave-in to Khrushchev’s demand for a Berlin Wall, followed by trying to rescue the South Vietnamese from Ho Chi Minh’s North Vietnam.
The death of JFK gave us LBJ who dared not be less aggressive than JFK in VN, paving the way for Secretary Robert McNamara and the Defense Intellectuals and their pet theories on how to change the behavior of Ho Chi Minh. Meanwhile, LBJ assured Ho Chi Minh his communist regime would not be toppled. A U.S. vital interest? LBJ and Congress thought so*
About then is when everything "right" went wrong. LBJ’s failure in Vietnam led to Richard Nixon who unwisely took the U.S. off the Gold Standard, causing the oil sheiks of the Middle East to lose money. The sheiks retaliated by creating the OPEC oil monopoly.
Suddenly, who had oil and at what price began to dominate the foreign policy decisions of politicians in Washington, London, Paris, and from Oslo to Tel Aviv, to Athens. The Oil Crisis of 1973 pushed the industrialized world off its wobbly axis. From then forward amoral, apolitical oil-commodity traders, such as Marc Rich*, directed the foreign policies of the oil-consuming nations. As Henry Kissinger opined, "Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control people."
The years between 1963 and 1973 could be called: The Era of Bad Feelings. Or, how about The Era of Really Stupid Bi-Partisan Decision Making?
In 1990, when Saddam invaded Kuwait, the U.S. depended on foreign oil. Ergo: Ridding Kuwait of Saddam was a U.S. vital interest. Fortunately, post-Vietnam, Patton-like Generals Tommy Franks, Donn Starry and Fred Franks (not burdened with "wokeness" diversity training), rebuilt the U.S. Army into a first-class fighting force.
Unfortunately, the 1991 quick victory in Gulf War I put the U.S. into the middle of a conflict between the boozing, whoring oil-sheiks and the religious reformists of al-Qaeda, followed by the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, the bombing of two U.S. embassies in 1998, the attack on the USS Cole in 2000, and the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001.
In 2001, President G.W. Bush rightly crushed the al-Qaeda harboring Taliban. But wrongly kept our troops in Afghanistan after that.
Then, in 2003, prodded by false, nuke-weapons intel from the Brits, President G.W. Bush removed Saddam’s army from blocking the westward, hegemonic aspirations of the Mullahs in Iran.
Fast forward: The 2020 election ended the Age of Trump and our freedom from foreign oil and from endless wars. We are left with Obama’s wussified, politicized Armed Forces and Biden’s*** Dumbkirk Kabul Debacle. As Pogo would say, "Woe is us."
*Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, August 7, 1964.
**I On his last day in office, President Clinton pardoned Marc Rich.
*** Election increasingly disputed.
Suggested reading: The World for Sale: Money, Power, and the Traders who Barter the Earth’s Resources, by Javier Blas and Jack Farchy, 2021; The Merchants of Grain, by Dan Morgan, 1979; War During Peace: A Strategy for Defeat by William Hamilton, 2021.
©2021. William Hamilton.