Vietnam and the UN


"Maybe it is time to consider the group leadership and thinking of 5 former, successful Presidents of both parties, instead of one unsuccessful and dangerous President, who is obviously over his head."

Legendary film director Ken Burns has completed an in-depth look at the War in Vietnam on Public Television. It is very gripping and tells a very complex story of screw ups, out of control egos, passion, and evil. He fairly points out that there were people of good intentions involved. As we concurrently watch President Trump address the United Nation's General Assembly for the first time, I cannot help but match the two events, side by side.

Vietnam: It started out as a very cautious concern about the spread of Communism. Our lack of solid military intelligence, knowledge about the Far East, and it's culture forced a further unwise commitment. Election politics poisoned rational thinking. An accidental President took over, with domestic, but almost no international experience. A bogus claim about an attack by 'our enemy' was met with the ferocity of weapons. Corrupt leaders and a sincere belief that "We must destroy the village to save it," resulted in thousands of unnecessary deaths on all sides. Enough.

Trump at the UN: In seeking support from the members of the UN to help the US turn around North Korea threats, our President started out attacking the organization and it's members. This is the same UN that proudly coalesced around the Paris Climate Accord, that only the US and Syria rejected. Trump proceeded to humiliate his fellow US President and key members of the UN about the Iran Agreement, of which he is said to have very little knowledge . In leaving the UN General Assembly, Trump boasted of the overwhelming support for his address. His own Chief of Staff and the world wide media, instead covered their faces with embarrassment. Never mind that our President then went to a meeting of African leaders and praised a country, "Nambia," that does not exist. Enough.

How does this happen? It would help if Trump would fill the critical open positions in the State Department, that has the responsibility for working with the UN. Ambassador Haley tries to carry some kind of coherent message to her UN colleagues, but she is undercut almost daily by Trump's disconnected rants and tweets. The Congress has felt sorry for the State Department and unilaterally has restored funding for at least a skeletal staff for Secretary Tillerson.

Maybe it is time to consider group leadership and thinking of 5 former, successful Presidents of both parties, instead of one unsuccessful and dangerous President, who is obviously over his head. We have former living Presidents Carter, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama that have a wealth of bi-partisan foreign affairs experience. Collectively they could be tasked with monitoring the most serious issues affecting our country, with the responsibility to advise the Congress and the American people of their collective best thinking. Maybe Trump would also listen to them.

With 2 Wars, and North Korea, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, and Russia as additional war like possibilities, we really need the best and brightest of both parties involved. We don't need another Vietnam.

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