THE DOMINO THEORY
We were told, when the United States took over the debacle that the French had made of Southeast Asia, that we had to fight in Vietnam (and it turned out, in Laos and Cambodia) because if we did not defeat the dreaded "communism" in Vietnam (and it turned out, in Laos and Cambodia) the entirety of the rest of Southeast Asia would fall to the dreaded "communism" like so many dominos.
So we fought and sacrificed the lives of over 58,000 Americans and many times that number of Vietnamese (and it turns out, Laotians and Cambodians) and in the end, the dreaded "communists" won.
And did the prophesy of the "dominos" falling come true? Not even close to true. Now we look at China (the alleged sponsor of the dreaded "communists") and Vietnam (and it turns out Laos and Cambodia) and everywhere we look we see "capitalism" not "communism." Look on the inside of your running shoes, t-shirts, MP3 players etc. and you will see the list of our former enemies. Turns out, the "commies" actually were just "commies" because they didn't have any money. Once they had money, being a "commie" didn't seem like it was anything worth fighting about.
Now listen to the words of our government as it justifies the newest war in Afghanistan and compare those words to the words of justification for Vietnam (and it turns out, Laos and Cambodia) as it tells us: "If we don't fight them in Afghanistan (and it turns out in Pakistan), the entirety of the world will fall to their ideology like so many dominos."
If the words ring the same, ask yourself: "How stupid are we all to believe this yet again? How many lives on all sides will be lost following the chimera of preventing the fall of the dominos?"
The lesson of Vietnam (and it turns out Laos and Cambodia) and the lesson we will undoubtedly learn from Afghanistan (and it turns out, Pakistan), is that throwing a bunch of money at the ideology is the surest way to peace and harmony. Instead of war, all we have to do is invest.
But the real lesson, which we have also not yet learned, is to simply let things evolve rather than trying to make everyone believe as we believe. This is true in personal situations as well as in the geo-political world.
Sooner or later, allowing things to be and find their own level leads to homogenization and to, let me think, oh! yeah! to..... Domino's(R).
And if everyone is enjoying the same delivery pizza, what's there to fight about?
That's what I believe.
Copyright © 2010 Ivan Hoffman. All Rights Reserved.