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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #98)

Wed Mar 2, 2016, 10:45 AM

106. Outstanding analysis. More than relevant, it is basic for human progress.

“The basic confrontation which seemed to be colonialism versus anti-colonialism, indeed capitalism versus socialism, is already losing its importance. What matters today, the issue which blocks the horizon, is the need for a redistribution of wealth. Humanity will have to address this question, no matter how devastating the consequences may be.”

― Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/865773-les-damn-s-de-la-terre

I believe Dr. Fanon had a follower in President John F. Kennedy, who, as a New Deal Democrat, believed in using the powers of government to make life better for ALL Americans. He also believed in democracy for other countries, from Congo to Vietnam.



Dodd and Dulles vs. Kennedy in Africa

“In assessing the central character ...
Gibbon’s description of the Byzantine general
Belisarius may suggest a comparison:
‘His imperfections flowed from the contagion of the times;
his virtues were his own.’”
— Richard Mahoney on President Kennedy


By Jim DiEugenio
CTKA, From the January-February 1999 issue (Vol. 6 No. 2)

EXCERPT…

The Self-Education of John F. Kennedy

During Kennedy’s six years in the House, 1947-1952, he concentrated on domestic affairs, bread and butter issues that helped his middle class Massachusetts constituents. As Henry Gonzalez noted in his blurb for Donald Gibson’s Battling Wall Street, he met Kennedy at a housing conference in 1951 and got the impression that young Kennedy was genuinely interested in the role that government could play in helping most Americans. But when Kennedy, his father, and his advisers decided to run for the upper house in 1952, they knew that young Jack would have to educate himself in the field of foreign affairs and gain a higher cosmopolitan profile. After all, he was running against that effete, urbane, Boston Brahmin Henry Cabot Lodge. So Kennedy decided to take two seven-week-long trips. The first was to Europe. The second was a little unusual in that his itinerary consisted of places like the Middle East, India, and Indochina. (While in India, he made the acquaintance of Prime Minister Nehru who would end up being a lifelong friend and adviser.)

Another unusual thing about the second trip was his schedule after he got to his stops. In Saigon, he ditched his French military guides and sought out the names of the best reporters and State Department officials so he would not get the standard boilerplate on the French colonial predicament in Indochina. After finding these sources, he would show up at their homes and apartments unannounced. His hosts were often surprised that such a youthful looking young man could be a congressman. Kennedy would then pick their minds at length as to the true political conditions in that country.

If there is a real turning point in Kennedy’s political career it is this trip. There is little doubt that what he saw and learned deeply affected and altered his world view and he expressed his developing new ideas in a speech he made upon his return on November 14, 1951. Speaking of French Indochina he said: "This is an area of human conflict between civilizations striving to be born and those desperately trying to retain what they have held for so long." He later added that "the fires of nationalism so long dormant have been kindled and are now ablaze....Here colonialism is not a topic for tea-talk discussion; it is the daily fare of millions of men." He then criticized the U. S. State Department for its laid back and lackadaisical approach to this problem:

One finds too many of our representatives toadying to the shorter aims of other Western nations with no eagerness to understand the real hopes and desires of the people to which they are accredited.


The basic idea that Kennedy brought back from this trip was that, in the Third World, the colonial or imperial powers were bound to lose in the long run since the force of nationalism in those nascent countries was so powerful, so volcanic, that no extended empire could contain it indefinitely. This did not mean that Kennedy would back any revolutionary force fighting an imperial power. Although he understood the appeal of communism to the revolutionaries, he was against it. He wanted to establish relations and cooperate with leaders of the developing world who wished to find a "third way," one that was neither Marxist nor necessarily pro-Western. He was trying to evolve a policy that considered the particular history and circumstances of the nations now trying to break the shackles of poverty and ignorance inflicted upon them by the attachments of empire. Kennedy understood and sympathized with the temperaments of those leaders of the Third World who wished to be nonaligned with either the Russians or the Americans and this explains his relationships with men like Nehru and Sukarno of Indonesia. So, for Kennedy, Nixon’s opposition toward Ho Chi Minh’s upcoming victory over the French in Vietnam was not so much a matter of Cold War ideology, but one of cool and measured pragmatism. As he stated in 1953, the year before the French fell:

The war would never be successful ... unless large numbers of the people of Vietnam were won over from their sullen neutrality and open hostility. This could never be done ... unless they were assured beyond doubt that complete independence would be theirs at the conclusion of the war.

To say the least, this is not what the Dulles brothers John Foster and Allen had in mind. Once the French empire fell, they tried to urge upon Eisenhower an overt American intervention in the area. When Eisenhower said no, Allen Dulles sent in a massive CIA covert operation headed by Air Force officer Edward Lansdale. In other words, the French form of foreign domination was replaced by the American version.

CONTINUED…

http://www.ctka.net/pr199-africa.html



Jim DiEugenio is a DUer and a top researcher and writer. Guy writes a flamethrower of a review, too, setting ablaze those in error -- whether pro-, anti-, or just plain ol' status quo.

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