Anyone Who’d Support Going To War Over Taiwan Is A Crazy Idiot
Have you ever noticed that anti-Vietnam War protestors are never commemorated in the same way as other cultural or political icons from the same era? And when they are mentioned in contemporary discourse or pop culture at all, it’s always in a very watered-down way. For instance, Aaron Zorkin’s cheeseball depiction of the “Chicago Seven” makes them all look like folks who would be good MSNBC viewers today as opposed to actual revolutionaries who wanted to overthrow the LBJ/McNamara/Nixon/Kissinger regimes.
Civil rights, women’s lib, gay rights, Earth Day, and classic rock were all things that could be co-opted by the system, incorporated into its self-legitimating ideological superstructure, and even commercialized. But that doesn’t work with anti-imperialism.
That’s because the loss of the Vietnam War and the domestic mass mobilization against the war was a major embarrassment to the Empire from which they have never recovered.
The Vietnam War was ended through a combination of mass protest, grassroots organizing, civil disobedience, passive resistance (like draft dodging), mutinies by troops, and armed struggle by civilian insurgents in the domestic US. All of these were important parts of the struggle. By the early 1970s, bombings were being carried out daily even while little old ladies were marching in antiwar protests. Nixon and Kissinger were genuinely afraid they would be overthrown after the De Gaulle regime in France was nearly overthrown in 1968.
The anti-Vietnam War movement was arguably the most important movement in US history. A mere 30 years after the patriotic fervor of WW2, the anti-Vietnam War movement delegitimized imperialist war to the point that the US public will not accept imperialist war if it means any sacrifices on their own side (conscription, war taxes, rations, high casualties even with all-volunteer forces). Since Vietnam, the draft has been politically impossible, and the system has mostly had to fight wars with special forces, mercenaries, foreign troops, client states, drones, and proxy armies. And all subsequent wars have been paid for with debt rather than taxes. Even after 9/11, the US public turned against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq at the first sight of blood.
If the anti-Vietnam War movement hadn’t happened, there would still be US troops in Vietnam like there are in other East Asian countries or in Western Europe. There would have been another war on the scale of Vietnam in Central America in the 80s. And since 9/11 we would have millions of conscripts in uniform with WW2-level deployments throughout the Eurasian landmass and in Africa and the South Pacific as well.
The only way that the Empire was able to make a comeback after the Vietnam War was to raise the bogeyman of the Soviet Union which by that time amounted to a Third World country with nukes, and with leaders about as competent or intelligent as Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi (and just as old). Hence, the Reaganite “Operation Rollback” of the 1980s, which evolved into Poppy Bush’s “New World Order” in the 1990s, and the neocons’ “benevolent global hegemony/global democratic revolution” after 9/11.
Now, that all of that has fallen flat, the System is trying to manufacture what for them is a desperately needed new cold war with anyone they can find. “Islamo-Fascism” has expired its appeal, Russiagate didn’t sell, so now Sinophobia is the latest snake oil that’s being peddled. This latest round of “Save Taiwan” rhetoric is exactly the same anti-Chinese rhetoric the Reaganites were trying to weaponize against Jimmy Carter in 1979.
By Caitlin Johnstone
Taiwan has been in the news a lot lately, and it’s really bringing out the crazy in people.
The mass media have been falsely reporting that China has been encroaching on Taiwan’s “air defense zone”, which gets stretched into the even more ludicrous claim that China “sent warplanes flying over Taiwan”. In reality Chinese planes simply entered an arbitrarily designated area hundreds of miles from Taiwan’s coast it calls its “Air Defence Identification Zone”, which has no legally recognized existence and contains a significant portion of China’s mainland. This is likely a response to the way the US and its allies have been constantly sailing war ships into disputed waters to threaten Beijing.
As Moon of Alabama reports, US warmongers inflamed this non-controversy even further by feeding a story to the press about the already public information that there are American troops in Taiwan training the military there, citing “concern” about the danger posed by China.