Monday, August 13, 2012

Those Who Cannot Remember The Past

are condemned to repeat it.
-George Santayana, philosopher (1863-1952)

I got so frustrated with NBC's Olympic coverage that by the middle of last week I turned to books. I read The Dime Museum Murders the first in a series of mystery fiction books written by Daniel Stashower which have the greatest magician in the world, Harry Houdini, indulging in his believe that he is another Sherlock Holmes. Fun read.

Next I started reading The Kennedy Brothers: The Rise and Fall of Jack and Bobby which looks closely at the relationship between the two brothers and its affect on their political lives. The books begins with the trip the brothers made to Viet Nam in 1951 when John F. Kennedy was a member of Congress. What I found surprising, beside the fact that the Kennedy brothers even went to Viet Nam in 1951, is that the United States was already involved in the Viet Nam War as we were providing 50% of the munitions and supplies used by the French in their fight against the Viet Min. Next is that John F. Kennedy thought our government foreign policy was wrongheaded.

Along the way of their 25,00-mile trip in the fall of 1951, Bobby dutifully kept a journal in his cramped handwriting. The conclusion he and his brother reached was that nationalism was the determinant force of the age, stronger than either communism or capitalism, and that the United States was aligning itself with reactionary forces through second-rate diplomatic representation. They felt that the bipolar approach to containing communism wouldn't work because it usually meant association with discredited local despots or embattled colonial powers.

Replace the word Communism with the phrase Radical Islamic Fundamentalism and colonial powers with global corporations and we could be talking about now.

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