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VDH on the Brain

By Matthew Yglesias on October 26, 2006 at 9:22 am

"VDH on the Brain"

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America’s worst Thucydides scholar takes on twentieth century history:

I thought these who advocated such nonsense might at any second suggest that because Mussolini’s fascists, Hitler’s Nazis, and Tojo’s militarists all had quite different agendas, separate racial ideologies, and particular aims in WWII, then, they could hardly be lumped together as the Axis that threatened Western republics and needed a generic anti-fascist response. All during the Vietnam War, we were lectured daily about the intricacies of Vietnamese, Russian, and Chinese Communists — their rivalries, hatreds, and quite separate aims-as they combined to defeat the United States, and trumped their own tensions with an all-encompassing hatred of Western democratic capitalism.

Now then. Germany and Italy formed a formal military alliance and Germany and Japan had a looser, but similar arrangement. Nobody was “lumping” them together, they were actual allies. Meanwhile, this view of Vietnam is bizarre. The distinction-drawers were completely correct. Where Communist parties were seen as alien impositions of Moscow (Warsaw, Prague, Kabul, Budapest) you had one dynamic, but where they had authentic roots in local nationalism (as in, say, Vietnam) the situation was very different. Nixon seized advantage of the Sino-Soviet split to greatly enhance America’s strategic situation. Does Hanson really deny this? How stupid is he?

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