(Adlai Stevenson - Judging by history, they didn't pay much attention) Not completely the same as our current situation, but certainly one where th
October 22, 2009


(Adlai Stevenson - Judging by history, they didn't pay much attention)

Not completely the same as our current situation, but certainly one where the echoes of the shrill are the same. In 1955, the time of this talk given by Adlai Stevenson, we were teetering on the edge of a shooting war over the issue of Quemoy and Matsu, two islands in the straits of Formosa purported to belong to Nationalist China, but claimed to belong to Mainland China - so a territorial dispute erupted and quickly escalated into a series of skirmishes. As always, the U.S. was quickly appealed to from Nationalist China for help and the flood of rhetoric ensued from the extremist wing of our government to get involved in an all-out shooting war with China, all for the sake of two tiny islands that were closer in proximity to Mainland China than Formosa. But which Formosa used as a "first line of defense" if Mainland China decided to invade.

And so Adlai Stevenson offered his two cents, as titular head of the Democratic Party in 1955 and offered his thoughts on the conflict and our potential involvement.

Adlai Stevenson: “At this late date, there may be no wholly satisfactory way of resolving the dilemma. But if we learn something from this experience, if we realize at last that we have been pursuing a dead-end policy in Asia, then perhaps we can turn our present difficulties to good account and devise an approach more in keeping with the realities of Asia and of the Hydrogen Age.”

Stevenson spoke of a "dead-end policy" in Asia, and in retrospect it was and largely still is. Only this time there is no Communist China and no Red Scare, but we're dealing with a region that has historically not adhered to governments as we know them, whose population is made up of such a divergent group of peoples that there is little agreement even among themselves. How we expect, even with a surge of 2-300,000 more troops will any better serve the cause of our brand of democracy is pursuing yet another dead-end policy in Asia. But there is that thing about Pakistan and the bomb to consider.

I wonder what Adlai would have to say about all that today?

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