John Yoo, writing at Ricochet, gives thanks for the United States’ lonely defense of the West during the Cold War. Yoo, an immigrant from South Korea, states:
Wars in both Korea and Vietnam sent important signals to the Soviet Union and China that the United States would continue to resist communist expansion forcefully. While Korea was a stalemate, and Vietnam a defeat, communism did not spread in Asia and America’s defense allowed nations such as Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, at first, and now others like Indonesia and Maylasia to rise out of poverty. This all may have served the interests of the United States, but it should not be forgotten that the United States sent its men and women to fight and die on foreign lands so that people they never knew might live a more prosperous, peaceful life.
Now, U.S. troops are fighting in other parts of Asia. The cost in U.S. blood, though far less substantial than in Korea and Vietnam, continues to be significant. The outcome is uncertain. Given the uncertainty, reasonable people disagree as to whether we should continue the effort.
But I’m thankful that the U.S. remains willing to send its men and women to fight and die in foreign lands not solely to promote our own security, but also so that people they never knew might live a more prosperous, peaceful life.
JOHN adds: Back in our Marxist days, we used to try to account for American foreign policy in terms of material self-interest. I was always a little embarrassed by how unsuccessful those efforts were. The fact is that, while the U.S. shouldn’t, and doesn’t, send its troops abroad without a reasonable national security justification, our foreign policy cannot be accounted for in any era of our history without recognizing that advancing the cause of freedom and justice around the world is an important motivation. Let’s hope it is always thus.
PAUL adds: I have a vague recollection during my college days of staying up most of the night researching the extent to which Vietnam is a potential source of certain valuable natural resources. I was going to use the research to present a Marxist analysis of the War at some sort of teach-in the following day.
Fortunately, the presentation was preempted, preventing me from making a complete fool of myself.