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On the Inside
In This Issue:
· Our Major Parties– National Defense
· Beginnings of a Non– Dynasty
· Some Prelude to 2012
· Desperate Offensive
A Reflection of Roles by
OUR MAJOR PARTIES
By Ivan W. Parkins
Democrat Presidents committed us to both World Wars, as well as two more limited wars in Korea and Vietnam. Republican Presidents inherited both of the latter two. Until the later stages of Vietnam, most domestic resistance to our involvements came from Republicans. Often that included some demands for limitations to the defense of our own borders, or for “all or nothing” efforts.
The fact that President Nixon systematically reduced our Vietnam effort, i.e. casualties and financial outlays, was largely obscured by a younger and more extreme anti-war element, becoming dominant among Democrats. Hating Nixon was already widespread there before he became President. No such attitudes had been characteristic of John Kennedy.
The two surviving Kennedy brothers, Robert and Ted, took very different stances than their predecessors towards our military policies. So did the newer Democrat Party. That change was essentially simultaneous to, and linked with, the trends of The New York Times, CBS News, and their many lesser colleagues of “the old mainstream media.”
I find it interesting that the John Roche column, cited below, was written as comment on the case against President Nixon. Roche labeled the charge of bribery against the Nixon Campaign, a charge based upon alleged use of large, new, sequential bills as evidence of Republican “bush league” efforts. However rigged the charges against Nixon may, or may not, have been, I doubt that they were more than cover for a much greater motive to impeach. Democrats could not have withstood a Nixon victory in Viet Nam, or any major Republican, success in Vietnam. And Ted Kennedy made sure that there was none.
The relative postures of our two major parties concerning national defense have changed radically during the past half century. Republican Presidents, Reagan and the two Bushes, have been closer to Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon than have Carter, Clinton, and Obama.
TO THE ELECTIONS
OF 2010--AND OF 2012
By Ivan W. Parkins
Tea Parties and outcomes of the elections of 2010 are a very encouraging sign of an American awakening. Some benefits for America will likely follow. But any great and lasting changes will depend upon a better public comprehension of how deeply into the past century our problems extend. For over half a century there has been a growing divergence between the partisan control of our Congress, especially the House of Representatives, and our Presidency. That divergence confuses and weakens America both at home and in our international relationships.
One major aspect of the divergence has been an unprecedented lengthening of average tenures for many of our Representatives. And those long tenures have resulted largely from more centralized publicity and the money to pay for it. Recently, criticisms of incumbents in that respect have focused on earmarks, but the issue has earlier predecessors. A generation ago there was a considerable furor over the advantages that incumbents received from PACs, and even that missed a large point. My old letter to THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR follows:
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RET (“Lifers on Capitol Hill” TAS, February 1989) has shed some welcome but inadequate light upon the ossification of our House of Representatives. Lopsided PAC contributions to incumbents, a frequent target of criticism, are actually much smaller than the advantages which incumbents take from the public treasury. For instance, since PACs appeared nearly two decades ago, Congress has appropriated for its own free mailings approximately twice as much money as all PACs contributed to congressional campaigns.
Furthermore, long congressional tenure disrupted the traditional relationships between our separated branches of government. Prior to 1956, every American President who got a majority of the popular voted also got a Congress of his own party. President Eisenhower’s broad victory in 1952 was accompanied by only a narrow and brief Republican advantage in Congress. In 1956, Democratic control of Congress survived the Eisenhower landslide. Since then, popular Republican Presidents have faced Democratic Congresses after the elections of 1968, 1972, 1980(House only), 1984(ditto), and 1988.
Thanks to TAS, the Wall Street Journal, and a few others, there is a slowly expanding public awareness of our problem. Thanks to most of the media, subversion of the American political system by Democrats entrenched in recent Congresses receives little notice.
And more on National Defense
SOME BEGININGS OF A NON-DYNASTY
By Ivan W. Parkins
Confusion and weakening of America politically can also be traced to major shifts of our parties in matters of national defense. Of that the Kennedy family has been a leading symbol. The senior Joseph Kennedy, even as our Ambassador to England, was regarded as too much an admirer of Hitler. His namesake died early in WWII in an air attack on German held Europe. John, the next in line fought gallantly as a Naval Officer in the Pacific. That, plus a few years in the U.S. Senate, was his brief preparation for the 1960 presidential primary. In that race, the family’s strong Catholic ties were considered to be a hurdle. Old “Joe” and some family aides had a solution. And winning there would answer the Catholic issue. West Virginia, an early primary state was heavily Protestant.
(From a column of mine in the Morning Sun, 6/21/82, citing John Roche’s column in the Detroit News 10/6/78) Roche, a Professor of History, and aide to several Presidents, admits to early experiences as a bag man for Pennsylvania Democrats. He tells of hearing John Bailey describe his own initial fright at being received at the door of a West Virginia establishment by two policemen. Bailey, who became John Kennedy’s campaign chairman, and later Democrat Party Chairman, was carrying two satchels full of well circulated twenty dollar bills. To the surprise of many observers, Kennedy won West Virginia, plus the nomination and the Presidency soon after.
Those who read KENNEDY by Ted Sorensen will get a strong dose of the new President’s extensive concern over threats to America from Communist sponsored uprisings in the Third World. Among the Democratic leadership, Kennedy had shown increasing concerns in S.E. Asia, especially Laos, Viet Nam and Cambodia.
Column, April 5, 1972, Daily Times-News
Only now after many years this article still relates to the misreporting of the media.
By Ivan W. Parkins
This communist offensive, because of its intensity, is being compared to Tet, 1968. The differences between the two are vast; a couple of examples may be extremely significant.
While the Tet offensive in 1968 attempted to infiltrate and overwhelm the defenses of Saigon and other major cities throughout South Vietnam, this offensive is concentrated in the one province closest to North Vietnam and farthest from Saigon. American strength in early 1968 was half a million and still building; it is now about twenty percent of that and declining. American casualties in early 1968 occurred at a rate one hundred times as high as at the present time. On the enemy’s side, the 1968 offensive was spearheaded by tens of thousands of guerrillas native to South Vietnam. Today, locally-born guerrillas are no large threat to the security of South Vietnam, and the enemy is a more or less conventional invasion carried out by regular units of the North Vietnamese Army. Thus, in his method of warfare, as well as in the scope of his offensive, the enemy has changed radically. Why?
Even early in the war the enemy was not particularly favored in his capacity for matching large units with the South Vietnamese in pitched battles. Why should he try now that the ARVN is larger, better trained, and better equipped than ever before? Our own press hails this as a test of the ARVN and of our Vietnamization policy. Since the enemy’s propaganda emphasizes that time is on his side, why should he be in any hurry for this larger test?
I am suggesting that the current enemy offensive is a product of desperation, a Vietnamese Battle of the Bulge. Except for the elements of enemy desperation and initial success, that analogy does not go very far. . . . .
The most probable goal of the current offensive is to hasten a negotiated peace. This is not to imply that the Communists are either peace-loving or humane. Evidently, the Communists’ capacity to make huge sacrifices of human beings is their most significant military advantage, in Vietnam and elsewhere. But, after having sacrificed many hundreds of thousands of lives, the North Vietnamese face more and better prepared opposition in S.E. Asia today than they did a decade ago. Now, they want to halt the fighting, but they also want to claim some sort of accomplishment. . . . . .
With only limited military gains in prospect, it requires an unstable mixture of desperation and reliance upon political sympathizers within America to explain why the enemy would concentrate his dwindling forces within range of South Vietnamese firepower and American aircraft.
This is a reprint of a Column, in
Asheville, North Carolina, 2/14/66
By Ivan W. Parkins
Most explanations of the war in Vietnam seem unconvincing. Our Government’s policies there are assailed by spokesmen of both the Left and the Right. On the Left are those who cannot believe that the Communists are reluctant to negotiate a settlement. They seem to doubt that the Communists have sufficient reason for continuing such a bloody and awkward struggle. On the right are those who cannot accept President Johnson’s limitation of the war and his willingness to see it end on nearly any terms, which will leave South Vietnam free of communist domination. Why are the Communists reluctant to settle? What would we gain from a negotiated peace at this time? I suggest that the answer to these questions lies not in any obtuseness on the part of either the communist governments or our own. The answer lays in the obscure, but vital interest, which major powers have at stake in Vietnam.
Placed in the context of the entire Cold War, and examined carefully, the struggle in Vietnam becomes meaningful. It is, in fact, a crucial test of what may be the Communists’ best instrument of power. Hence, it is also a test of our ability to stem the main force of communist expansion. It is entirely possible that this limited war in Vietnam may some day be regarded as the climactic confrontation of the Cold War.
The communist drive for predominance in the world has been characterized by reliance upon four major instruments of power: the ability of communism to persuade and subvert, the capacity of the Soviet Union to arm for a major war, and the development of communist technology are three instruments which have been carefully tried, and found to be useful, but inadequate. Only the fourth instrument remains as a likely source of communist advantage. And it is that fourth instrument which is being tested in Vietnam.
Guerrilla warfare, carried on as part of national revolutionary movements, provides the chief hope for the communists. It is the means by which most communist regimes have come to power. It is the means by which France was humbled in Vietnam and the United States harassed in Cuba. Even allowing for failures in the Philippines, Malaya and the Congo, it is not difficult to see why the Communists would pin their hopes on guerrilla warfare.
Communism’s greatest living figure, Mao Tze Tung, is an authority on guerrilla methods. Because the methods include a certain ideological outlook, we “imperialists” cannot adopt them. Because the methods of fighting hit and run, our conventional forces cannot defeat them. With a little care in preparation and timing, guerrilla warfare can be used to defeat us in nearly every corner of the globe. Such is the communist belief. And this belief is what is being tested in Vietnam. This is why the Communists are so reluctant to negotiate a settlement, and why we can afford to make one on terms which do nothing more than to preserve South Vietnam.
If communist supported guerrillas should now fail, on the site of one of their greatest victories, and on the doorstep of China, who could be persuaded to rely upon communist help again? In a world where the United States had numerous successful veterans of guerrilla war, on what instrument could Communists pin their hopes?