A personal reflection on American political culture.
I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking... Joan Didion
I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking... Joan Didion
And this is why Wilson’s presidency continues to speak to us. More than anyone’s, Wilson’s historical luster corresponds with the foreign policy in vogue at any given time. When retrenchment and realism hold sway, Wilson appears misguided, a blind eye doctor. When internationalism drives American diplomacy, Wilson is a visionary, his presidency a lodestar.
On Jan. 8, 1918, President Wilson, in his address to the joint session of the United States Congress, formulated under 14 separate heads his ideas of the essential nature of a post-World War I settlement. The text of the Fourteen Points is as follows:
1. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.
2. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.
3. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.
4. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.
5. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.
6. The evacuation of all Russian territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest coöperation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good will, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy.
7. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other free nations. No other single act will serve as this will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and determined for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired.
8. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years, should be righted, in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all.
9. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.
10. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity of autonomous development.
11. Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea; and the relations of the several Balkan states to one another determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality; and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan states should be entered into.
12. The Turkish portions of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development, and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.
13. An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.
14. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.
On Oct. 3–4, 1918, Prince Maximilian of Baden, the German imperial chancellor, sent a note, via Switzerland, to President Wilson, requesting an immediate armistice and the opening of peace negotiations on the basis of the Fourteen Points. Germans would later argue a “betrayal” when faced by the harsher terms of the Armistice and the Treaty of Versailles.
The Paris Peace Conference and its Consequences, Alan Sharp.
“This article offers an overview of peacemaking after the First World War from the armistices of 1918 until 1923. It considers the outcomes of the five Parisian treaties (Versailles, Saint-Germain and Neuilly in 1919 and Trianon and Sèvres in 1920) together with the renegotiated settlement with Turkey at Lausanne in 1923. It analyzes the organization of the conference and the aims and ambitions of the leading personalities involved, concluding with an appraisal of reparations, self-determination and the reputation of the settlements.”
Book Excerpt: Preface, The Treaty Of Versailles: A Concise History, 2017, Michael Neiberg, Oxford Univeristy Press
In the Preface of his recent book, Neiberg presents an excellent overview of the background of the Versailles Conference and its place in the shaping of the history of the twentieth century. Versailles, in his own words serves "... as a warning from history of what not to do."
How Did World War I End? The Treaty of Versailles
An excellent concise overview of the policy positions and goals of the allied negotiators at Versailles.
World War One – The Treaty of Versailles
A basic outline of the major clauses of the Versailles Treaty.
Lessons from History? The Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Margaret MacMillan
Written in 2003 with an eye to the immanent war in Iraq, MacMillan presents a balanced revisionist analysis of the traditional take on the Versailles Conference as a failure. In doing so she also presents an excellent overview of the constraints, domestic, international and emotional which created an unfavorable atmosphere for negotiations.
When the President Has a Stroke: Shedding light on the psychological travails of Woodrow Wilson, W. Barksdale Maynard, Ph.D.
A brief overview of the role Wilson’s cardio-vascular health may have played in the growing intractability of his later years.
On Line Videos
American Experience Woodrow Wilson Part 2, 80 minutes.
If your a fan, as I am, of the PBS American Experience series you will enjoy this comprehensive overview of Wilson the man and the impact of his personal self on the unfolding events of WWI and the Versailles Conference. Excellent footage and narration. If you watch anything, this is the one. If you have time you might also look at Part I of this program, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2ouqYxUaq8
The Treaty of Versailles, BBC 59 minutes.
A revisionist look at the events, politics and problems that shaped the Versailles Treaty’s negotiation, suggesting that the traditional judgement of a failed process that led to further war needs to be examined. As usual, an excellent BBC production, well worth watching.
The Best Intentions: The Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles, Greg Sirota, 30 minutes. https://vimeo.com/42947104
An excellent overview of the basic historical context of the peace conference. As its title suggests, its point of view is that perhaps we must accept that we live in an imperfect world where even the best of intentions can not overcome the political, social and cultural exigencies of the moment.
Woodrow Wilson's Second Term, 60 minute clip.
This is well worth your time. MacMillian is perhaps today's pre-eminent scholar on this period of history. Insightful and easy to listen to. "Oxford Professor Margaret MacMillan talks about President Woodrow Wilson’s second term from 1917 to 1921. Once the U.S. entered the first World War in 1917, the majority of President Wilson’s efforts focused on foreign affairs and diplomacy. Professor MacMillan speaks about President Wilson’s involvement in the Great War and his attempts at a 'lasting peace' through the 1919 Paris Peace Conference and the League of Nations."
BBC 1918-2008, Ninety Years of Remembrance: Armistice, 1918, 90 minutes
I found this video particularly fascinating. It provides an insight into the events of the last year of the war, particularly the domestic German political and military situation which led to Germany's decision to seek an armistice. It highlights the role Wilson's Fourteen Points and the promise of a League of Nations played in their decision helping to explain the bitterness which ensued after the imposition of the Versailles treaty.
ThoughtCo. These brief overviews are an excellent narrative introduction to the basic chronology of the events which led to Hitler being offered the Chancellorship.
How Treaty of Versailles Contributed to Hitler’s Rise, Rober Wilde.
The Early Development of the Nazi Party, Robert Wilde
Adolf Hitler Appointed Chancellor of Germany, January 30, 1933, Jennifer Goss
Interwar Germany: The Rise and Fall of Weimar and the Rise of Hitler, Robert Wilde
The BBC Bitesize website is exactly as advertised. An excellent place to start with any inquiry presenting small easily digestible servings. The charts and graphs as well as propaganda posters help one understand the gradual growth of the Nazi Party and its popularity over time in Germany. http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/history/tch_wjec/germany19291947/1hitlerchancellor1.shtml
The US Holocaust Museum’s web site is an great source for information on this period of German political history. This is an excellent short overview of the history of the Weimar Republic. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia: The Weimar Republic
In his review of Volker Ullrich’s acclaimed new biography Hitler: Ascent, Richard Evans explores the reasons why democracy collapsed in Germany. Short of reading Volker in its entirety, this is one of the best narratives of the social, cultural and political factors that coalesced in the appointment of Hitler as Chancellor. Book Review A Warning From History, The Nation, February 28, 2017, A new biography of Hitler reminds us that there is more than one way to destroy a democracy, By Richard J. Evans
A view from the American left, Jacobin Magazine.
Hitler Wasn’t Inevitable, Marcel Bois
How Hitler went from fringe politician to dictator — and why it's a mistake to think it couldn't happen in the US, Henry Blodget Oct. 19, 2016,
Brief, well written overview tracing Hitler’s rise to power from his childhood to his Chancellorship.
The Nazi triumph: how did Adolf Hitler become the Fuehrer of Germany?
Weimar Germany and Donald Trump. How traditional and radical conservatives come to speak a common political language—that ultimately benefits the extremists, By Eric D. Weitz Eric D. Weitz is Distinguished Professor of History at The City College of New York. He is the author of Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy. http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/207665/weimar-germany-and-donald-trump
Confused by the number of parties and overlapping policies of the German political scene in the 1930's. This is the place to be. A succinct and very readable overview of the political landscape.
Facing History and Ourselves. Weimar Political Parties, Professor Paul Bookbinder, University of Massachusetts Boston. https://www.facinghistory.org/weimar-republic-fragility-democracy/readings/weimar-political-parties
On Line Videos
Excellent examination of the underlying reasons for Nazi assent to power in 1933. It incorporates interviews with many who were witnesses to the events unfolding from 1919 to 1933 including former Nazi party members. The film provides an excellent feel for the evolving social-political culture of Weimar Germany.
The Nazis, A Warning From History. Episode 1: Helped Into Power BBC, Laurence Rees, 1997 48 minutes
If you have the time and interest, I also highly recommend Episode 2 of this series, Chaos and Consent, which documents the first years of Nazi rule with emphasis on means and methods of control and Hitler’s chaotic management style. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xq226f
Peter Jennings narrates a chronological account of the rise of the Nazi party from the end of WWI through the first year of Hitler’s rule. ABC News: The Century: Evil Rising: Hitler's Path to Power, 1999, Peter Jenning narrator. 50 minutes https://vimeo.com/14007531
This is where you should begin. An excellent overview of the basic background and events leading up to the Munich agreement.
World War II: Munich Agreement, How Appeasement Failed to Deter World War II, by Kennedy Hickman,
Updated March 18, 2018
A revisionist argument examining why we should not be too hard on the much "maligned" Chamberlain.
Neville Chamberlain Was Right, Nick Baumann, Slate,September, 28, 2013.
In his review of David Faber’s Munich, 1938: Appeasement and World War II, Childers provides an excellent summary of the circumstances and assumptions which motivated Chamberlain at Munich plus his own evaluation of Faber’s analysis.
“…and is there nothing more you want?”, A.C. Childers, Open Letters Monthly, an Arts and Literature Review
Kershaw relates his narrative of the events leading up to Munich to the evolving historiography of the period. Well written analysis.
The Twisted Road to War, The Guardian, August 23, 2008. Ian Kershaw https://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/aug/23/history.secondworldwar
Siracusa examines the "metaphor" of Munich as weakness from the Cold War to the Gulf War. Very interesting!
The Munich Analogy, Joseph M. Siracusa, Encyclopedia of the New American Nation,
Shachtman argues that it is time to "retire" the Munich Analogy. In doing so he provides an interesting catalogue of its use and misuse over the past seventy years.
It’s Time to Abandon ‘Munich’ After 75 years, foreign policy's uber-analogy needs to go.
Tom Shachtman, Foreign Policy, September 29, 2013.
An interesting reflection on the use of the past, a la Munich and appeasement, on the current North Korean conflict.
The Return of the Iraq War Argument, Uri Friedman, The Atlantic, March 21, 2018.
On Line Videos
Part 1 of the BBC’s 8 part series on the origins of WWII examines the post World War I domestic political landscape in England and how it informed the British foreign policy of appeasement. Excellent series.
The BBC’s The Road to War, Part I, Great Britain. 1989 50 minutes.
An animated debate among four British historians as to whether Chamberlain got it right or not.
Neville Chamberlain Did The Right Thing. iqsquared, June 12, 2013, 90 minutes. Published on Jun 12, 2013
The much acclaimed Munich novelist Robert Harris explores the 1938 meeting between British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin and Adolf Hitler that granted territory in Czechoslovakia and many of its resources to Germany. C Span, Book TV, January 22, 2018.
Good place to start. A basic narrative chronology of the events followed by a brief analysis of why it failed.
Operation 'Barbarossa' and Germany's Failure in the Soviet Union, Ian Carter, Tuesday 9 January 2018, Imperial War Museums.
A collection of 45 photographs. Worth a look-see.
World War II: Operation Barbarossa, Alan Taylor July 24, 2011 45 photos, The Atlantic.
This CIA book review examines the possible reasons why Stalin was caught unprepared the morning of June 22, 1941.
What Stalin Knew: The Enigma of Barbarossa, Intelligence in Recent Public Literature
By David E. Murphy. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2005. 310 pages. Reviewed by Donald P. Steury.
A very readable analysis of the underlying reasons for the failure of Operation Barbarossa. Ultimately it is a matter of hubris.
"Chapter Seven, Hitler’s Decision to Invade the USSR, 1941," from the book Blinders, Blunders, and Wars: What America and China Can Learn, David C. Gompert, Hans Binnendijk,Bonny Lin, 2014, RAND Corporation.
From the Army War College, a military analysis of whether the Wehrmacht could have succeeded. Yes, if the commanders could have commanded!
"The World Will Hold Its Breath": Reinterpreting Operation Barbarossa, R. D. Hooker, Jr., from Parameters, Spring 1999, pp. 150-64.
On Line Videos
If you can only watch one video for this session, this is the one. This acclaimed 28 part series, although close to fifty years old, still remains one of the best series documenting WWII.
The World At War, EP-5 Barbarossa, 1974, Thames Television, Jeremy Isaacs producer.
An 18 part Russian made documentary in the BBC style. Narrative is in English, but maps and visuals use Cyrillic script. Fairly well received, it is one the few Russian WWII documentaries available to western viewers. Parts I and 2 are most relevant to our discussion.
Soviet Storm. WW2 in the East - Operation Barbarossa. Episode 1. StarMedia, 2014
This episode covers the winter, spring, and summer of 1940-41. While not focused specifically on Operation Barbarossa, it is excellent for showing how this operation fit into the larger context of the war helping us to understand why German resources had been stretched to a breaking point.
World War II׃ The Complete History 07/13, The British Movietone Company, 2000, Episode 7, The Day of Infamy, 52 minutes.
At bottom of Kremlin's neurotic view of world affairs is traditional and instinctive Russian sense of insecurity. Originally, this was insecurity of a peaceful agricultural people trying to live on vast exposed plain in neighborhood of fierce nomadic peoples. To this was added, as Russia came into contact with economically advanced West, fear of more competent, more powerful, more highly organized societies in that area. But this latter type of insecurity was one which afflicted rather Russian rulers than Russian people; for Russian rulers have invariably sensed that their rule was relatively archaic in form fragile and artificial in its psychological foundation, unable to stand comparison or contact with political systems of Western countries. For this reason they have always feared foreign penetration, feared direct contact between Western world and their own, feared what would happen if Russians learned truth about world without or if foreigners learned truth about world within. And they have learned to seek security only in patient but deadly struggle for total destruction of rival power, never in compacts and compromises with it.
It was no coincidence that Marxism, which had smoldered ineffectively for half a century in Western Europe, caught hold and blazed for first time in Russia. Only in this land which had never known a friendly neighbor or indeed any tolerant equilibrium of separate powers, either internal or international, could a doctrine thrive which viewed economic conflicts of society as insoluble by peaceful means.
In summary, we have here a political force committed fanatically to the belief that with US there can be no permanent modus vivendi that it is desirable and necessary that the internal harmony of our society be disrupted, our traditional way of life be destroyed, the international authority of our state be broken, if Soviet power is to be secure. This political force has complete power of disposition over energies of one of world's greatest peoples and resources of world's richest national territory, and is borne along by deep and powerful currents of Russian nationalism.
Soviet power, unlike that of Hitlerite Germany, is neither schematic nor adventuristic. It does not work by fixed plans. It does not take unnecessary risks. Impervious to logic of reason, and it is highly sensitive to logic of force. For this reason it can easily withdraw--and usually does when strong resistance is encountered at any point. Thus, if the adversary has sufficient force and makes clear his readiness to use it, he rarely has to do so. If situations are properly handled there need be no prestige-engaging showdowns.
Our present involvement in Vietnam is a classic example of the sort of situation we ought to avoid if we do not wish to provoke in Moscow precisely those reactions that are most adverse to our interests... Not to worry so about these remote countries scattered across the southern crescent (Southeast Asia), to let them go their own way, not to regard their fate as our exclusive responsibility, to wait for them to come to us rather than our fussing continually over them.
Lecture at Princeton University: "The United States and the Communist Giants," The New York Times, 25 February 1965.
If you are interested in some of the points I raised at the very beginning of this piece concerning cognition and bias you might want to take a look at this.
Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds, New Discoveries About the Human Mind Show the Limitations of Reason, Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, February 27, 2017.
This book review by Louis Menand of John Lewis Gaddis’s biography of George Kennan is both wonderful to read, and also an excellent overview of Kennan's career and the development of his thinking in the context of unfolding events from the '40s to the '60s.
Getting Real, George F. Kennan’s Cold War, Louis Menand, The New Yorker, November 14, 2011.
This analysis is by James Thomson, who served under the Johnson administration, as special assistant to the assistant secretary of state for Far Eastern affairs (1963–64), and from 1964 to 1966 as the China specialist on the staff of the National Security Council. He resigned in protest of our Vietnam policy in 1966. A very penetrating analysis of why it went so wrong in the foreign policy establishment of the Kennedy-Johnson administrations.
How Could Vietnam Happen? An Autopsy The Atlantic, April, 1968 James C. Thomson
One of the earliest and most colorful Americans involved in Vietnam was CIA operative Edward Lansdale. He is most likely the model for both Graham Green's The Quiet American as well as Lederer and Burdick's The Ugly American. Menand's review of Max Boot's recent biography of Lansdale presents an excellent overview of the period and the strategy in those early years of our involvement.
What Went Wrong in Vietnam, the military historian Max Boot takes on the counter-insurgency maven Edward Lansdale, Louis Menand, The New Yorker, February 26, 2018.
McClintock provides an overview of Lansdale's popularity in the Kennedy administration combined with an analysis of his counter insurgency beliefs.
Edward Geary Lansdale and the New Counterinsurgency
Instruments of Statecraft: U.S. Guerilla Warfare, Counterinsurgency, and Counterterrorism, 1940-1990 © 2002, Michael McClintock
If you want some heavy lifting, I can recommend Hannah Arendt's reflections upon the release of the Pentagon Papers.
Lying in Politics: Reflections on The Pentagon Papers, Hannah Arendt, The New York Review of Books, November 18, 1971.
If you own or have access to Neil Sheehan's A Bright Shining Lie I recommend reading Book Two: Antecedents to a Confrontation which examines the earliest years of American involvement.
iBook Edition: itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-bright-shining-lie/id420672475?mt=11&ign-gact=
Nook Edition: www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bright-shining-lie-neil-sheehan/1100300024;jsessionid=82EEBDFA115C90CD348F4933501E1F09.prodny_store02-atgap04?ean=9780679603801#/
On Line Videos
Ken Burn's series on Vietnam is the best that there is for examining the complex history of this tragedy. In Part I "Déjà Vu 1858-1961" he presents the historical background of the earliest years of our involvement. I apologize for the subtitles, but due to the newness of this series it is difficult to find free sources of streaming. If you have access to iTunes, Amazon video, or Vudu you can stream it from those sources for $6.99.
Broader in scope than the Ken Burns series, CNN has put together a comprehensive 24 part series on the origins and development of the Cold War. Excellent footage and narrative by Kenneth Branagh combined with contemporary interviews of eye witness participants. Part 2: Iron Curtain, 1945-1947. www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qLsDX6sXwE
Acheson, Dean. Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1969.
Isaacson,Walter and Thomas,Evan. The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986.
Karnow, Stanley. Vietnam: a History. New York: Viking Press, 1983.
Kennan, George F. At a Century's Ending: Reflections 1982-1995. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1996.
Sheehan, Neal. A Bright Shining Lie : John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. New York: Random House, 1988.
“Probably no question in recent history is more poignant than what would have happened if John F. Kennedy had not chosen to visit Dallas on November 22, 1963. Barely more than a year had passed since his most memorable success, the resolution of the missile crisis. What would the forty-six-year-old president have achieved if he had lived? How would the world have been different? In the chapter that follows, Kennedy’s biographer Robert Dallek reflects on some of the possible might-have-beens of a lengthened public career. Domestic reforms, especially in civil rights, are probably a given. But what about Cuba and our ever-expanding Vietnam ulcer? Or would his relentless womanizing or his fragile health have derailed his progress toward greatness?
Kennedy was the youthful symbol of youthful age. Rarely in history has the death of one individual so tainted the future. Would the sixties have turned quite so sour if the nation, and the world, had continued to depend on, and take nurture from, his special grace under pressure? We still would have had the Beatles and Woodstock, the miniskirt, women’s liberation, Twiggy, the Twist, the Prague Spring, and Swinging London. But would our energies have been diverted to outlets more creative, more fruitful, than protesting a war in Vietnam that he might have terminated? Would we have been spared the Chicago riots at the 1968 Democratic convention, the SDS occupations of Columbia and Harvard, Watts, Charles Manson, LBJ and Richard M. Nixon, and the assassinations not only of JFK but of his brother and Martin Luther King? And Watergate?”
Excerpt From: Robert Cowley. “What Ifs? Of American History.” New York: Berkley Publishing Group, 2003, pp 354-55
This is the best place to refamilarize yourself with the events leading up to the Supreme Court decision. An excellent narrative of what was going on behind the scenes plus analysis of the legal implications. Very readable.
The Path to Florida, David Margolick, Vanity Fair, March 19, 2014.
In this well reasoned essay, Balkin reviews the effects of the SC decision on the prestige of the Court and reflects on the role of politics within the Court.
Bush v. Gore and the Boundary Between Law and Politics, Jack M. Balkin, Yale Law School
This short piece examines the missed opportunities of the first few months of the Bush administration in appreciating a possible Al Qaeda attack. Helpful in forming an opinion on whether Gore would have responded differently.
The Deafness Before the Storm, By Kurt Eichenwald, New York Times, Sept. 10, 2012
In reviewing Frank Harvey's "Explaining the Iraq War", Steele examines his "counter factual" arguments as to why the election of Gore would not have been enough to keep us out of war in Iraq.
Why Al Gore would have invaded Iraq (and what it tells us about Syria), Andrew Steele, The globe and Mail September 4, 2013
An overview of the basic policy differences during the election.
Gore vs. Bush on Key Issues, ABC News, January 6, 2006
This is more creative fiction than virtual history, but it still presents some interesting alternatives.
"Ten years ago this month, a Supreme Court ruling ushered in George W. Bush as our 43rd president. We asked five (sometime) novelists to imagine the past decade as if the election had gone the other way. America: This is your parallel life."
Memories of the Gore Administration, New York Magazine, December 5, 2010.
A year by year narrative of the Gore administration outlining the major policies and achievements, all quite within the bounds of possibility. A very interesting "thought experiment."
The Gore Presidency: An Alternative History by William Cox, featured writer,Dandelion Salad, Sept. 25, 2008, www.thevoters.org
After Bush v. Gore (2016), Insignia Films, We produced After Bush V. Gore for Retro Report, in association with the New York Times. The piece explores the dramatic controversy surrounding the 2000 presidential election, which led to sweeping voting reforms, but opened the door to a new set of problems that continue to impact elections today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdYJDJQw5nM
In the first place, the defeat and the disarmament of Japan has placed upon the United States the necessity of assuming the military defense of Japan so long as that is required, both in the interest of our security and in the interests of the security of the entire Pacific area and, in all honor, in the interest of Japanese security. We have American—and there are Australia—troops in Japan. I am not in a position to speak for the Australians, but I can assure you that there is not intention of any sort of abandoning or weakening the defenses of Japan and that whatever arrangements are to be made either through permanent settlement or otherwise, that defense must and shall be maintained.
The defensive perimeter runs along the Aleutians to Japan and then goes to the Ryukyus. We hold important defense positions in the Ryukyu Islands, and those we will continue to hold. In the interest of the population of the Ryukyu Islands, we will at an appropriate time offer to hold these islands under trusteeship of the United Nations. But they are essential parts of the defensive perimeter of the Pacific, and they must and will be held.
So far as the military security of other areas in the Pacific is concerned, it must be clear that no person can guarantee these areas against military attack. But it must also be clear that such a guarantee is hardly sensible or necessary within the realm of practical relationship.
Should such an attack occur—one hesitates to say where such an armed attack could come from—the initial reliance must be on the people attacked to resist it and then upon the commitments of the entire civilized world under the Charter of the United Nations....