Wednesday, December 27, 2006

War and Consequences

[posted by Callimachus]

Conventional wisdom in the 1970s saw the war in Vietnam as an unmitigated disaster. But that has been proved wrong. The war had collateral benefits, buying the time and creating the conditions that enabled noncommunist East Asia to follow Japan's path and develop into the four dragons (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan) and, later, the four tigers (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand). Time brought about the split between Moscow and Beijing and then a split between Beijing and Hanoi. The influence of the four dragons and the four tigers, in turn, changed both communist China and communist Vietnam into open, free-market economies and made their societies freer.

Written by Lee Kuan Yew, who might be admitted to know something about it. Certainly Johnson and Kennedy never articulated that exact path as their goal. They talked generically of freedoms, even when it seemed hypocritical. Yet, there it is.

[Hat tip: Tigerhawk]

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