Front Page Titles (by Subject) II: War, Peace, and Empire - Literature of Liberty, October/December 1979, vol. 2, No. 4
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II: War, Peace, and Empire - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, October/December 1979, vol. 2, No. 4 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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War, Peace, and Empire
In Art and Social Responsibility (London: The Falem Press Limited, 1946), dedicated to Sir Herbert Read, Alex Comfort identifies mankind's chief enemies as death and political power:
“The romantic recognizes a perpetual struggle upon two levels, the fight against Death . . .and the struggle against those men and institutions who ally themselves with Death against humanity, the struggle against barbarism. These are the two subjects of the Breugal paintings,The Triumph of Death and The Massacre of the Holy Innocents. In the first, a gigantic host of skeletons are riding down manhood. In the second, the Duke of Alva's soldiers are butchering Flemish peasants and their children . . .. These are the enemies of humanity, and of the standards of beauty and of truth which exist only for and in humanity—Death and Death's ally, irresponsibility.”
A similar protest against the inhumane forces of destructive political power and war is repeated both in Picasso's Guernica and on the right panel of Hieronymus Bosch's triptych The Garden of Earthly Delight. In the modern nuclear age, the potential devastation to civilian population from warfare baffles comprehension. The following summaries dealing with the issues of war, peace, and foreign policy show the sobering interaction of state power and the intimidation of death. The focal point may vary—oil diplomacy, Indian policy, dollar diplomacy, the progressives and imperialism, war technology, atomic warfare, or Vietnam—but the recurrent theme is power and the risk of warfare and death.
American Foreign Policy
“The Mythical Crisis of Presidential Leadership: Prologue to a Paper on the Carter Administration's Foreign Policy.” Paper presented to the Seventh Annual Libertarian Scholars Conference, New York, October 26, 1979, 42 pages.
The nation has become fixated upon the idea of presidential leadership: the notion that a President can somehow lead the country out of its present problems. Thus each President's popularity falls with his failure to do so. What this ignores is “the unchanging nature of American foreign policy objectives over seven or eight administrations since World War II,” and “how remarkably little personalities have mattered.” What is happening to the U.S. is no more President Carter's fault than any of the other's, while the Presidency itself, for most of a century, has been “systematically overrated.”
What has occurred to the U.S. relates to an intersection of two kinds of restraint, both “structural, and therefore not so easily alterable.” (1) At an international level, events are for the most part simply beyond American control, or at least disproportionately expensive for any return. (2) Domestically, the constraints are economic, social, political, and, ultimately constitutional. It is difficult for a President to start a war, and certainly more difficult to be able to finish it. Despite military spending and verbal bellicosity, it is not clear that the nation would go along with a war. Indeed, the people, as envisaged by the Founding Fathers, have shown more restraint in foreign affairs than other politicians and strong Presidents. There is a crisis of American power in the world, but it is not a crisis of the American spirit. This will mean some painful readjustment after a growing hegemony of almost a 100 years.
The Carter Administration has done little to accept these changes in external circumstances, but rather has carried on much like previous administrations, but with some novel policy thrusts such as human rights and nuclear non-proliferation. The unfortunate result has been not the multipolar balance of power pushed by Nixon and Kissinger, but “across-the-board global competition with the Soviet Union.” Nixon and Kissinger meant by “linkage” an effort to involve the Russians in a web of commercial contacts which might help to avoid a crisis. “Carter and Brzezinski turned linkage from a carrot into a stick.” Given Soviet problems with the economy, China, dissidents, and minorities, this was the time to exert pressure. This was coupled to the idea of a forward defense of creating situations of confrontation, and with the concept of a Unilateral Corps of about a 100,000 men as the core of a rapid strike force.
Why, despite their verbal assurances, have the policy makers done this: the “reluctant” implementation of the foreign policy of the hawks? Because they were committed to the same basic paradigm as their predecessor's, with far less power in the changing external circumstances. The constant elements in this paradigm have been deterrence and alliance. Deterrence has meant seeking to maintain an “essential equivalence” with our global adversaries in strategic nuclear arms, and at the same time providing “nuclear umbrellas” over our allies. Finally, deterrence has been perceived by all concerned as implying “the maintenance of a perpetual balance.” Alliance, the other element in the paradigm, has meant commitments to protect nations which, for a number of reasons—strategic, social, or political—we have felt important. From this has developed the aid, bases, military assistance, and other support. Within this rather constant paradigm there has been an ongoing debate over short-run tactics which has at times given the illusion of change by one administration or another. But this U.S. paradigm is basically flawed and almost impossible to sustain in the present changing global circumstances.
What has frustrated the desires of the policymakers over the years in terms of ultimate power have been the values of individual liberty and economic freedom built into the American system, and which have tended to obstruct the mechanisms of conscription and taxation. Basically, “what is happening is that we are being priced out of our present national strategies and foreign policies.”
The problem with deterrence, as opposed to a broader defense, is that the bluff and pretense involved increase the credibility and destructiveness of war.
What is needed is a new paradigm for American foreign policy based upon conflict avoidance and self-reliance. Interventionism is not basic to our security and we can no longer pay the costs which are entailed in maintaining such a capability across a whole spectrum of technology and geography. We are going to have to adjust to, rather than try to control, our environment.
Oil and Government Policy
“Mideast Multinational Oil, U.S. Foreign Policy, and Antitrust: the 1950s.” The Journal of American History 58(March 1977):937–959.
Both the administrations of Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower utilized American-controlled multinational oil companies as instruments of American foreign policy in the Mideast. At the end of World War II, government officials sought to use the oil companies to achieve five interrelated policy objectives: (1) to grant financial aid to Arab governments; (2) to assure American control of global oil trade; (3) to secure for the U.S. a reliable source of crude oil at a reasonable price; (4) to enhance the American economic and political presence in the Mideast; and (5) to prevent the spread southward of Soviet influence into the area of the Persian Gulf. While this policy was effective in the 1950s, by the 1970s it was no longer so.
Of additional historical importance, this policy is fundamental for an understanding of the full impact on the U.S. of the Soviet-American confrontation in the years after the Second World War. It also makes clearer the role of the Korean War in crystallizing ideas about the nations of the Third World, both as bastions against Communist expansion and as sources of raw materials. This emerging policy also reveals the extent to which government (as much or more so than business, since business pushed direction of developments) sought to promote and benefit from the government-business partnership so apparent after the War.
Finally, these policies, in the context of the Cold War, had an enormous effect on the nation's antitrust program which both administrations sought to pursue. The Truman and Eisenhower administrations in theory attempted to enforce a vigorous foreign antitrust policy, based upon a commitment to Wilsonian principles of international free trade. Under Truman, the Justice Department had gone so far as to begin bringing criminal indictments against some of the major oil companies because of their control of oil in the Mideast. The Cold War, and the need to work with and through these oil companies, however, caused both Presidents to alter the direction of this rigorous antitrust program. The criminal proceedings were dropped by Truman, while Eisenhower later “granted the oil multinational corporations certain immunities from the antitrust laws in the production, refining, and distribution of foreign oil.”
These policies gave an advantage to the large oil companies as against smaller, independent producers, either American or foreign, and helped them to maintain their dominance of oil in the area. In a more general sense, such actions undercut a major goal of antitrust policies, to help stimulate competition, especially for the smaller businessman. Such a policy caused considerable concern among some officials within both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.
At the international level, this policy undermined any arguments which were offered in favor of free trade and against international cartels. It is probable that the cartel, in effect created by these arrangements, offered a model for, and thereby contributed to, the later formation of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), as it simply took over the cartel and gained control of global supplies of oil.
The Korean War institutionalized the policy of containment and greatly expanded the already growing powers of the Executive. This in turn further expanded the government's involvement in the economy, for foreign aid to Third World nations meant encouragement of private investment, through “such schemes as investment guarantees and various tax credits.” In the Mideast, in particular, this meant a controversial plan whereby taxes by Aramco oil to the U.S. were paid to Saudi Arabia instead.
Finally, it was the crisis in Iran in the early 1950s which helped to push such decisions as that of relaxing the antitrust policies. When the Iranian government moved against British Petroleum, the American government moved to increase the role of American companies in that nation. This in turn gave the companies a basis to argue against the antitrust proceeding then building up against them. In finally taking that line because of national defense, there is some evidence that Truman later believed he might have been duped by the National Security Council. But Eisenhower continued these policies.
War, State, and Nation
“War and the Nation-state.” Daedalus 108(Fall 1979):101–110.
There has always been a close, symbiotic relationship between the state and warfare, since a major part of the state's power is based upon its claim to legitimately use force. European history in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was increasingly military, and the emergence of the “nation” concept meant ever more total and violent. Nationalism was characterized by militarism and most nations were born out of war. The idea of the nation gradually merged into the biological concept of race which was inculcated by the growing state schools and sanctified by the national religion: State and Nation were fused into one!
The excesses of the First World War saw some reaction against this nationalism, and after the Second World War there was sober reflection upon the moral aspects of strategic bombing and the use of nuclear weapons. More recent protests have grown out of the state's acknowledgement “that it could protect the community from total annihilation only by posing a threat to inflict comparable destruction on the civil society of its adversary.”
Beyond theproblems of command and control of nuclear weapons, democratic states have been faced with the problem of legitimatizing constitutionally the use of clandestine forces, such as the Central Intelligence Agency in the United States. As a result, the state apparatus has become isolated from the rest of the society: “a severed head conducting its intercourse with other severed heads according to its own laws. War, in short, has once more been denationalized. It has become, as it was in the eighteenth century, an affair of states and no longer of peoples.“
The result has been a growing sense of alienation between the actions of a state and its citizenry, of which the American protest against intervention in Vietnam was but one example. Where people are free to express their views, the military is increasingly seen, as it once was by nineteenth-century English-speaking liberals, as a professional group with values and interests different from the rest of the nation. Some argue this “robust Whiggery” is the basis of a free society. What is viewed by the conservative pessimist as a disintegration of order is for the radical optimist the beginnings of a new order which might transcend the war system.
There are some problems with this optimism. Despite its problems, the old nation-state did have some sense of community. There is no real sign that present European society is, however, growing any more unified, but rather that the contrary is occurring. The erosion of the state's monopoly on force “can only lead to chaos” as “very few militant activists are in principle anarchist.” In the Third World and in Communist societies, the state is still a long way from withering away. The denationalization of war found in the West is not typical of the world as a whole. It may be that a strong national myth is necessary for a viable society to function. “Wars have arisen at least as often from the disintegration of decadent states as from the aggression of strong ones. The decline of national loyalties, in spite of all the hopes placed upon it by generations of liberal thinkers, will thus not necessarily enhance the prospects of world peace.”
Early U.S. Indian Policy
“Confrontation at Coleraine: Creeks, Georgians, and Federalist Indian Policy.” South Atlantic Quarterly 78(Spring 1979):224–243.
In mid-1796 a delegation of Creek Indians, Georgians, and Federal officials met at Coleraine, an American frontier outpost on the St. Mary's River, bordered by Spanish Florida, to attempt to settle a dispute over territory. The land in the loop of the river, called Tallassee, was claimed by both the Indians and the state of Georgia, with the federal government tending to side with the Creeks.
The Georgia delegation, accompanied by some twenty militia, was headed by James Hendricks, with James Simms and James Jackson as members also. Jackson had gained some recent notoriety by leading the forces which had revoked the Yazoo Act, “a piece of legislation that had deprived the state of millions of western acres for a pittance.”
On the federal side were Benjamin Clymer of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Hawkins of North Carolina, and General Andrew Pickens of South Carolina, James Jackson's old commander at the Battle of the Cowpens during the Revolutionary War. Most of the arrangements for the conference had been made by Commissioner Hawkins, who had arrived at Coleraine in early may. When he arrived, British traders had been busy spreading a rumor that the Georgia militia intended to meet with the Creeks in order to force the land from them. To ease any tensions he issued regulations in essence separating the Indians and the Americans. These irritated the Georgia delegation upon its arrival, as an unconstitutional assumption of control.
This was, however, a reflection of deeper differences between the two. The federal government under George Washington had stressed centralization of power and a humanitarian concern for the Indian. Georgia, on the other hand, emphasized states' rights, and its primary concern was with the needs of a growing white population demanding expansion and land. Washington had for several years grown more disillusioned with Georgia's relations with the Indians.
The Yazoo bill of 1795, virtually giving away millions of western acres, with title still in dispute with the Indians, to politically involved speculators, had greatly raised tensions on the southern frontier. James Jackson had led the fight to have the legislature void that bill early in 1796. He was hated for this act and had been stabbed by one disgruntled partisan. Jackson came to Coleraine badly wanting to gain clear title over this disputed land for the state.
The federal government was interested in protecting the Indian. Military posts would help in this, while factories, or trading posts, would help to civilize the Indians in the long run. The federal commissioners were concerned about what they saw as several abuses which had been inflicted upon the Indians.
The Treaty signed at Coleraine June 29, 1796, essentially made the points demanded by the federal authorities. Georgian states' rights advocates wondered just who the people were whom the government was supposed to protect. The Federalist Party may have paid a high price, however, for its policy of protecting the Indian, for the state in 1800 turned to the Republicans.
U.S. Foreign Policy and Latin America
“Reciprocity and Latin America in the Early 1880's: A Foretaste of Dollar Diplomacy.” Pacific Historical Review 47(February 1978):53–89
The foreign policies of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft typified an approach known as “dollar diplomacy.” “Dollar diplomacy” sought ways to expand American profits and export American product surpluses by inducing foreign governments into trading relationships favorable to the United States. Going beyond threats of mere economic reprisals, the American dollar diplomats occasionally applied direct military pressure to recalcitrant signatories. Although some businesses solicited government aid, the State Department urged financial arrangements with foreign governments.
Was “dollar diplomacy” a revolutionary new departure of the late 1890s, or did it reflect continuity with earlier American foreign policy? These two alternatives define the two conflicting schools of thought among current students of American foreign policy. The diplomacy of the 1880s discloses a coherent pattern of diplomacy uniting late nineteenth-century diplomacy with the policy of the previous century; we also find a foundation being laid in reciprocity agreements for the so-called new departures of military imperialism and “dollar diplomacy.”
Reciprocal trade agreements were commenced primarily during the administration of Benjamin Harrison (1889–1893), and reveal a three-fold purpose. First, they cleared channels for American investments in foreign enterprises. Guided by the chief architect of reciprocity, Secretary of State James G. Blaine, the State Department believed that it knew what was best for American business. Second, Blaine hoped that reciprocity with the United States would revitalize the flagging Monroe Doctrine and abate the influence of Great Britain in the Caribbean and southern South America. Finally, reciprocity was intended to bolster the high protective tariff policy of the Republican party by providing discretion to Congress and the Executive in rewarding cooperative foreign governments with preferential trading relationships.
These political and economic motivations for reciprocal agreements prompted four years of vigorous negotiations with Central and South American countries. When negotiations broke down, Blaine and Harrison applied new pressures. For example, when Spain withdrew from reciprocity talks, Blaine and Harrison directly helped precipitate revolution in Cuba. When Argentina did not accept American terms, the Navy's “white squadron” of New Cruisers were readied to visit the Rio Plata.
The change from a protectionist Republican to a free-trade Democratic administration in 1893 shelved reciprocity and all but destroyed its usefulness when Grover Cleveland signed the low-tariff, WilsonGorman bill into law. A few years later, however, all three of Blaine's purposes for preferential trading relationships were embodied in the more vigorous “dollar diplomacy” of the first two Republican administrations of the twentieth century.
Both reciprocity and “dollar diplomacy” sought positive results for American business through persuasion and veiled coercion. Yet both policies' economic intervention produced anti-American sentiment throughout Latin America.
Reform, Progressives, and Empire
“The Reform Mentality, War, Peace, and the National State: From the Progressives to Vietnam.” The Journal of Libertarian Studies 3, no. 1 (1979):55–72.
American twentieth-century political reformers have “been imbued with a statist philosophy leading to imperialism and war,” the programs and development of which have drawn upon vaguely Neo-Hegelian antecedents in European social democracy. Thus, the major thrust of reform has been “nationalistic, collectivist, and statist, rather than liberal in any traditional sense.”
One of the first historians to point this out was William E. Leuchtenburg in his now famous essay on “Progressivism and Imperialism,” published in 1952. While this thesis has not been universally accepted, and has drawn some criticism, the critics neglect Leuchtenburg's main point, which is that the progressives' paternalistic reform mentality, even more than their politics, was sympathetic to imperialism and war.” Theodore Roosevelt's brand of progressivism was much nearer to the reform ideas of Bismarck in Germany, the Fabian Socialists or Lloyd George in England, and the European Socialists who supported World War I, than it was to the Midwestern progressivism of men like Robert M. LaFollette.
In fact, some of the opponents of American empire at the turn of this century were the first to see this similarity. Among some of the academics, old-fashioned liberals, or conservatives who did so were Paul S. Reinisch, Leonard T. Hobhouse, William Graham Sumner, Franklin Pierce, and John W. Burgess.
On the other side, the sociologist Franklin H. Giddings, echoed by William Torrey Harris (the U.S. Commissioner of Education), was urging that imperialism and democracy were not incompatible. But it was Theodore Roosevelt who drew together a reform program to Americanize the world. His views on conservation, trusts, and big business were all part of his larger concept of foreign policy.
This kind of nationalistic reform was paralleled in Germany even by men such as Max Weber and Theodor Barth. In England, on the issue of the African Boer War, Fabians such as George Bernard Shaw, and Sidney and Beatrice Webb, broke with the Socialists and supported the Liberal Imperialists.
This kind of strong statist reformism was increased by the crisis growing out of whether the U.S. should enter World War I. Preparedness advocates such as General Leonard Wood argued that Americans “must cast aside selfish individualism and accept the principle of universal service to the state.” In 1916, while even archimperialist Henry Cabot Lodge could not get the Republicans to put in a platform advocating universal military training, the Progressives did not hesitate to do so.
The New Republicwas a chief organ for this kind of thinking, especially in the pieces of Herbert Croly, one of its editors, or of John Dewey, a frequent contributor. For these reformers, a major justification for entering the war was the sense of national purpose it would promote. Progressives welcomed and helped administer the economic controls which came as a part of the war efforts: “Regulations in the sense of trying to restore a competitive individualism, now frankly yielded to regulation to achieve economic integration and greater industrial efficiency. The war made partners of government and business.”
The Progressive Era and World War I set precedents for entwining social reform and war. Thus the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt blended into World War II, Harry Truman's Fair Deal into the Korean War, and Vietnam supplanted the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson. The result has been the creation of the warfare-welfare state.
Harry Elmer Barnes and Revisionism
“Harry Elmer Barnes and World War I Revisionism: An Absence of Dialogue.” Peace . . . Change 5(Fall 1978):63–69.
Since the early 1920s there has been a lively historical debate assessing the basic responsibility for the coming of World War I. Despite his activities in a number of other areas, it is likely that the historian Harry Elmer Barnes will be most remembered for his role in that debate, especially through his book, The Genesis of the War. Barnes's critics dislike his work for three reasons: it is sympathetic to Germany, makes a joke of some historians' claims to objectivity, and often argues at a personal level.
Perhaps much of Barnes's response grew out of his work at Columbia University and the fact that he had been a propagandist for the war effort. He joined the revisionists early in the 1920s, after reading the work of Sidney B. Fay, and within a few years gained considerable publicity as a focal point of controversy. Many of the problems Barnes faced were the result of conflicting goals. He wanted his work to be both a best-seller and influence social change, while at the same time wishing it to be regarded as detailed, objective scholarship. The many footnotes disguise the haste with which the book was written over a period of some few months.
Barnes tries to show that France and Russia were primarily responsible for the war, with Great Britain playing a secondary role in what occurred. His dislike of militarism “wavers” in the case of Germany. His greatest contradiction on the causes of the war is around the old historical question of determinism versus free will. In the first part of the book he sees the war as largely the result of deep, impersonal factors such as overpopulation and the triumph of Social Darwinism. But by the end of the volume he stresses the responsibility of various individuals for what had happened.
It can be argued that Barnes's whole outlook and reaction to the war is a reflection of the fundamentalist religious upbringing of his youth. The book was generally criticized by American and British historians, but praised by some liberal American publications. Barnes attacks his critics in In Quest of Truth and Justice. What is depressing is that neither he nor his critics were able to open a meaningful dialogue about the war. Barnes seemed unable to understand that his charges about the lack of objectivity in history might also be applied to his own work. The controversy had so damaged his academic career that by the end of the 1920s he chose to leave the university in favor of a career in journalism and the writing of textbooks.
Imperialism and War Technology
“The Tools of Imperialism: Technology and the Expansion of European Colonial Empires in the Nineteenth Century.” Journal of Modern History 51 (June 1979):231–263.
A considerable debate has focused around the causes of the “new imperialism” of the late nineteenth century. One school has stressed political motives, emphasizing such aspects as international rivalries, naval strategy, the instability of imperial frontiers, the diversion of popular attention from domestic problems, and the influence of pressure groups on politicians. Others have called attention to the economic motives, including “the need for raw materials, secure markets, or investment opportunities.” While some historians have denied that technological changes made any difference in the history of imperialism, no general conclusions have been made about the relationship between the two.
While motives are, of course, important, technology, the means by which the Europeans conquered such vast areas so rapidly, is also significant. The development of the river steamboat, for example, allowed the deeper penetration of Africa, and a means whereby large areas of a riverine civilization such as China's could be controlled with a relatively small force. The steamboat was a major factor in the British triumph in the Opium War during the 1840s, and Commodore Perry's visit to Japan during the next decade was a further example of the supremacy of Western technology.
But the steamboat alone would not have made possible the penetration of Africa. Tropical diseases, especially malaria, carried off often more than half of the European personnel in some of the early nineteenth-century expeditions into the interior of the Dark Continent. It was not until the end of the century that the role of the mosquito in the transmission of malaria was ascertained.
Western technology also provided the direct means of conquest, most directly in the development of efficient, long range, accurate, rapid-firing weapons for which the older muskets used by Asian forces, or the spears of African warriors were no match. There were several steps in this process during the century, although up until the 1830s the British Army itself was using a musket similar to what had been used in the Battle of Blenheim in 1704.
Percussion caps, rifling, cylindoconoidal bullets, and paper cartridges were components of a first stage that brought the muzzle-loader to its “peak of perfection.” A second stage included a more rapid firing breech loader beginning with the Prussian needle gun and culminating with the Maxim machine gun. The Europeans were very careful to keep these inventions from the Africans and Asians, who were not unfamiliar with firearms. A racial aspect of this was the development of the Dum-Dum bullet which tore great holes in the flesh, and was not used against other Europeans, only against Africans and Asians. This same restraint in use against Europeans also occurred with the early machine guns.
These weapons made it possible for relatively tiny Europeans forces to overwhelm huge armies and to control vast areas. The human carnage was such that even imperialists such as Winston Churchill were almost abashed by such long-range slaughter of brave men. The native armies usually attacked, which was a major aspect of their downfall. Some early guerrillas, and groups who were able for a short time to secure European weapons, were remarkably hard to put down—an omen of the future. What the Europeans themselves would only realize as they mowed down each other in the First World War was that the new weapons had a defensive advantage which made the offensive charges of the past obsolete.
Pietistic vs. Pragmatic Foreign Policy
“American Missionaries, Sun Yat-sen and the Chinese Revolution,” Pacific Historical Review 47(May 1978):261–282.
American understanding of Chinese political changes during the years 1911 to 1925 was largely shaped by American Christian missionaries working in China. Their reports and assessments of the principal Chinese leaders during the revolutionary period circulated freely through the popular press and supplied information which helped mold American foreign policy in the Far East. After the election of the pietistic Woodrow Wilson, the American missionary contingent in China was the most influential force behind official attitudes towards the new republic. Their counsel was sought and they filled important official and unofficial positions in the United States government.
Christian missionaries performed the crucial foreign policy role of on-the-spot observers. At the outset of the revolution in 1911, the missionary community looked favorably on nationalist leader Sun Yatsen. He possessed the seemingly impeccable credentials of mission-school education, the Christian faith, and familiar, western ideas. Following the establishment of the Nanking government, American missionaries looked more favorably on Yuan Shih-k'ai. Yuan's military background and his extensive familiarity with Chinese conditions (attributes lacking in the western-educated Sun) led the missionaries to view Yuan as a more credible leader, one who gave the greatest assurance of a return to social stability. Moreover, Sun's betrothal to a second wife and his support of socialist patterns further undermined his credibility with missionary leaders.
These assessments of the two contenders for leadership led the United States into the unfortunate position of supporting a government ultimately racked with suspicions that Yuan assassinated political opponents and used government money to subsidize his personal political power. By the end of the period the United States had become associated with a regime largely inimical to republican government in China.
Atomic Warfare and Human Suffering
“Atomic Bombs and Human Beings.” International Social Science Journal 30(1978):377–392.
Booth considers that despite the horrendous nature of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 there is a dearth of knowledge about these two events. His article is an attempt to remedy this lacuna by surveying the historical evidence and revisionist sources on the subject. Booth's conclusions are: that Japan would most likely have surrendered prior to the planned U.S. invasion on November 1, 1945, even if the atomic weapon had not been used; that Truman had intercepted a message indicating Japan's willingness to enter into peace negotiations; that the U.S. was aware that the Soviet entry into the war in the Pacific would cause a Japanese collapse; that the bomb was probably dropped as a threat to the Soviet Union; and finally that whatever the military justification for the first A-bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, there was no similar justification for the second bomb dropped on Nagasaki three days later.
In a section entitled “What atomic bombs do to human beings,” Booth provides us with some of the grisly statistics of human suffering. The total number killed in both Japanese cities was probably well over 250,000, we are told, which was approximately 40 percent of the combined population of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But those who died were the lucky ones. Of the Hibukusha (the Japanese word for A-bomb survivors), Booth writes: “Apart from their gruesome and repulsive injuries, skin hanging in obscene swathes from bodies and limbs, eyes exploding, entrails spilling from abdomens, the total and absolute destruction disorientated even active survivors and destroyed their will and capacity for living.” Thus even among those not directly injured, life was made unbearable by the complete destruction of facilities of every kind including workshops, offices, factories, stores, religious buildings, schools, hospitals, all kinds of vehicles, animals, railways, and fire and police stations.
Booth goes on to document not only the physical ailments that Hibukusha survivors suffer from, but also the less well known social problems that they face today as a result of discrimination in marriage and unemployment. The Hibukusha have not shared in the post-war economic recovery of Japan, which has merely intensified their feelings of isolation. Indeed, they have become increasingly militant, not only in their attempt to obtain compensation for themselves, but also in their attempt to get nuclear weapons abolished. It is through this struggle for the abolition of war and nuclear weapons, writes Booth, that the Hibukusha have rehabilitated themselves and found a purpose. They are the living reminder that “the forgotten factors in academic and military discussions about military strategies are the totality of human suffering and degradation and the loss of community.” We must learn from their example because, “In more senses than we might care to believe, we are all Hibukusha now.”
Vietnam: Cost-Benefit Warfare
“Breaking the Will of the Enemy During the Vietnam War: The Operationalization of the Cost-Benefit Model of Counterinsurgency Warfare.” Journal of Peace Research 15(1978):109–129.
Why did American policy fail in Vietnam? The American policy was predominantly one of suppressive counterinsurgency—one that proposed to make it too costly for the enemy to continue. A false assumption underlying this approach was that the insurgents' success was due to their use of coercion, so it remained for the American counterinsurgents also to apply coercion, but to do so with greater efficiency. In fact, the National Liberation Front did not use coercion and force as “primary tactics” to gain “support from the populace.” Shultz remarks: “In revolutionary war, insurgents require a strong commitment from the populace and this cannot be secured through sheer coercion . . .as the Greek and Malayan cases demonstrated.”
The NLF's total strategy consisted of “a combination of ideology, organization, social reform-oriented policies and programs, nationalistic goals,” plus force. But the force was used selectively to “immobilize” the government of Vietnam's in-frastructure, “drive it from the countryside and replace it with the Front's infrastructure.” In regard to the general population, the NLF used “education, persuasion, and indoctrination.” Coercion was “selective” and is “well documented in the Rand projects material and captured documents . . .”
So successful was this blend of tactics that GVN Premier Nguyen Cao Ky remarked to James Reston that the Communists were closer to the people's yearnings for social justice and an independent life than was his own government (New York Times, September 1, 1965). And U.S. Senator Stephen Young became disturbed when he learned that the U.S. government (CIA) was hiring Vietnamese nationals to commit atrocities with the intent of attributing them to the opposition in order to discredit it (New York Times, October 21, 1965).
Shultz shows historically that the method of force (and the cost it develops for the recipients) has not been successful in getting those recipients to give up their goals. He notes that Walter Rostow, a chief architect of the American policy of “Rolling Thunder” bombing raids in North Vietnam, had been impressed with a similar effort in the Second World War against Germany. But Schultz writes, “the bombing was generally ineffective.” And further: “Thompson's analysis of insurgencies in Vietnam and Malaya demonstrates that excessive regime reliance on coercion and force alienates the population, driving them to the side of the insurgents.”
Shultz criticizes the cost-benefit analysis of warfare. American bombing failed in stopping the flow of supplies and men from North Vietnam.
Shultz closes out his discussion by considering the role of the American political managers and their failure to assess factors basic to a conflict. The ‘frantic activity’ of U.S. policy managers, the technological capability and the obsession to use it, failed to bring success in Vietnam. The Americans applied larger and larger doses of military firepower in a hurry-up strategy to win the war, but this strategy did not prevail.