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In the nuclear age, power politics, the struggle


180 AMERICA IN CLOSE-UP


1. continued

for marginal advantages, the drive for prestige and unilateral gains must yield to an unprecedented sense of responsibility. History teaches us that balances based on constant tests of strength have always erupted into war. Common sense tells us that in the nuclear age history must not be repeated. Every President, sooner or later, will conclude with President Eisenhower that "there is no alternative to peace". But peace cannot be our only goal. To seek it at any price would render us morally defenseless and place the world at the mercy of the most ruthless. Mankind must do more, as Tacitus said, than "make a desert [and] call it peace."

There will be no security in a world whose obsession with peace leads to appeasement. But neither will there be security in a world in which mock tough rhetoric and the accumulation of arms are the sole measure of competition. We can spare no effort to bequeath to future generations a peace more hopeful than an equilibrium of terror.

In the search for peace we are continually called upon to strike balances — between strength and conciliation; between the need to defend our values and interests and the need to consider the views of others; between partial and total settlements.

America's second moral imperative is the growing need for global cooperation. We live in a world of more than 150 countries, each asserting sovereignty and claiming the right to realize its national aspirations. Clearly, no nation can fulfill all its goals without infringing on the rights of others. Hence, compromise and common endeavors are inescapable. The growing interdependence of states in the face of the polarizing tendencies of nationalism and ideologies makes imperative the building of world community.

We live in an age of division — between East and West and between the advanced industrial nations and the developing nations. Clearly, a world in which a few nations constitute islands of wealth in a sea of despair is fundamentally insecure and morally intolerable. Those who consider themselves dispossessed will become the seedbed of upheaval. But the tactics of confrontation with which some of the developing nations have pursued their goals are as unacceptable as they are unproductive.


The objectives of the developing nations are clear: economic development, a role in international decisions that affect them, a fair share of global economic benefits. The goals of the industrial nations are equally clear: widening prosperity, an open world system of trade, investments and markets and reliable development of the resources of food, energy and raw materials.

The process of building a new era of international economic relationships will continue through the rest of this century. If those relationships are to be equitable and lasting, negotiations and mutual regard among diverse and contending interests will clearly be required. On the part of the industrial nations, there must be a moral commitment - now, while there is still time for conciliation - to make the sacrifices necessary to build a sense of community. On the part of the developing nations, there must be an end to blackmail and extortion - now, before the world is irrevocably split into contending camps - and a commitment to seek progress through cooperation.



Our third moral imperative is the nurturing of human values. It is a tragedy that the very tools of technology that have made ours the most productive century in history have also served to subject millions to a new dimension of intimidation, suffering and fear. Individual freedom of conscience and expression is the proudest heritage of our civilization. All we do in the search for peace, for greater political cooperation and for a fair and flourishing international economy is rooted in our belief that only liberty permits the fullest expression of mankind's creativity. Technological progress without justice mocks humanity; national unity without freedom is a hollow triumph. Nationalism without a consciousness of human community and human rights is likely to become an instrument of oppression and a force for evil. As the world's leading democracy, it is our obligation to dedicate ourselves to assuring freedom for the human spirit. But responsibility compels also a recognition of our limits. Our alliances, the political relationships built up with other nations, serve peace by strengthening regional and world security. If well conceived, they are not favors to others, but a recognition of common interests. They should be withdrawn when those interests change; they should not, as a general rule, be used as levers. . . .


Kissinger, Henry: see page 176.

Santayana, George (1863—1952): Spanish-bom American philosopher and poet.

Tocqueville, Alexis de (1805-59): French statesman and historian who traveled through the United States for eight months in 1831. His Democracy in America is one of the most important books about America.


AMERICA'S GLOBAL ROLE 181

9 American Policy in Vietnam:

Peace Without Conquest


Lyndon B. Johnson

Excerpt from a speech delivered at John Hopkins University, April 7, 1965

I have come here to review once again with my own people the views of the American govern­ment. Tonight Americans and Asians are dying for a world where each people may choose its own path to change. This is the principle for which our ancestors fought in the valleys of Pennsylvania. It is a principle for which our sons fight tonight in the jungles of Vietnam.

Vietnam is far away from this quiet campus. We have no territory there, nor do we seek any. The war is dirty and brutal and difficult. And some four hundred young men, born into an America that is bursting with opportunity and promise, have ended their lives on Vietnam's steaming soil.

Why must we take this painful road? Why must this nation hazard its ease, and its interest, and its power for the sake of a people so far away? We fight because we must fight if we are to live in a world where every country can shape its own destiny, and only in such a world will our own freedom be finally secure. This kind of world will never be built by bombs or bullets.

The world as it is in Asia is not a serene or peaceful place. The first reality' is that North Vietnam has attacked the independent nation of South Vietnam. Its object is total conquest. And it is a war of unparalleled brutality'. Simple farmers are the targets of assassination and kidnapping. Women and children are strangled in the night because their men are loyal to their government. And helpless villages are ravaged by sneak attacks. Large-scale raids are conducted on towns, and terror strikes in the heart of cities.

Over this war — and all Asia — is another


The misery of Vietnam

reality: the deepening shadow of Communist China. The rulers in Hanoi are urged on by Peking. This is a regime which has destroyed freedom in Tibet, which has attacked India and has been condemned by the United Nations for aggression in Korea. It is a nation which is helping the forces of violence in almost every continent. The contest in Vietnam is part of a wider pattern of aggressive purposes.

Why are these realities our concern? Why are we in South Vietnam? We are there because we have a promise to keep. Since 1945 ever} Amer­ican President has offered support to the people of South Vietnam. We have helped to build, and we have helped to defend. Thus, over many years, we have made a national pledge to help South Vietnam defend its independence. And I intend to keep that promise.

We are also there to strengthen world order. Around the globe from Berlin to Thailand are


182 AMERICA IN CLOSE-UP


2. continued

people whose well-being rests in part on the belief that they can count on us if they are attacked. To leave Vietnam to its fate would shake the confidence of all these people in the value of an American commitment and in the value of America's world. The result would be increased unrest and instability, and even wider war.

Our objective is the independence of South Vietnam and its freedom from attack. We want nothing for ourselves — only that the people of South Vietnam be allowed to guide their own country in their own way. We will do everything necessary to reach that objective. And we will do only what is absolutely necessary.

In recent months attacks on South Vietnam were stepped up. Thus it became necessary for


us to increase our response and to make attacks by air. This is not a change of purpose. It is a change in what we believe that purpose requires. We do this in order to slow down aggression. We do this to increase the confidence of the brave people of South Vietnam who have bravely borne this brutal battle for so many years with so many casualties. And we do this to convince the leaders of North Vietnam — and all who seek to share their conquest — of a very simple fact: We will not be defeated. We will not grow tired.

We will not withdraw, either openly or under the cloak of a meaningless agreement. We will use our power with restraint and with all the wisdom that we can command. But we will use it. ...


Vietnam: see page 15.

valleys of Pennsylvania: allusion to the War of Independence.

Top Dogs and Underdogs


J. William Fulbright

AMERICA is top dog in the world and, although we may be convinced that we are good top dogs, most people around the world are convinced that there is no such thing. Because we are rich, we are perceived as voracious; because we are successful, we are perceived as arrogant; because we are strong, we are perceived as overbearing. These perceptions may be distorted and exaggerated, but they are not entirely false. Power does breed arrogance and it has bred enough in us to give some substance to the natural prejudices against us. Much to our puzzlement, people all over the world seem to discount our good intentions and to seize upon our hypocrisies, failures and transgressions. They do this not because we are Americans but because we are top dogs and they fear our power. They


are frightened by some of the ways in which we have used our power; they are frightened by the ways in which we might use it; and most of all, I suspect, they are frightened by the knowledge of their own inability to withstand our power, should it ever be turned upon them. They are, so to speak, tenants in the world at our sufferance, and no amount of good will on our part can ever wholly dispel the anxiety bred by the feeling of helplessness.

VVhat do these feelings about American power have to do with the war in Vietnam? They go far, I think, to explain why our war policy commands so little support in the world. Anxiety about America's great power predisposes people, even against their better judgment, to take satisfaction in our frustrations and


AMERICA'S GLOBAL ROLE 183


3. continued

our setbacks. The French, for example, who well understand the importance to themselves of America's weight in the world balance of power, nevertheless seem to derive some satisfaction from seeing more than half a million Americans fought to a stalemate — or worse — by a ragtag army of Asian guerrillas. Seeing the Americans cut down to size like that is balm for the wounds of Dien Bien Phu, salve for the pride that was lost in the days of the Marshall Plan, when France survived on American generosity. If our military failures in Vietnam have this effect on the French, as I believe they do, think what they must mean to the real underdogs of the world, to the hundreds of millions of Asians, Africans and Latin Americans who can easily identify themselves with the Viet Cong guerillas but could never see themselves in the role of the lordly Americans. There may even be people in our own country who feel some sneaking respect for a resourceful enemy, an enemy who, in a curious and purely emotional way, may even remind them of the ragtag American revolutionaries who humbled the mighty British Empire almost 200 years ago.

Such attitudes, it will be argued, are irrational and unfair; and so, in large measure, they are. People, it will be said, should be rational and should act on their interests, not their emotions; and so, indeed, they should. But they don't. I might be able to think up some good reasons why elephants should fly, but it would not be rewarding; elephants cannot fly and there is nothing to be done about it. So it is with men; they ought to be cool and rational and detached, but


they are not. We are, to be sure, endowed with a certain capacity for reason, but it is not nearly great enough to dispel the human legacy of instinct and emotion. The most we can hope to do with our fragile tool of reason is to identify, restrain and make allowance for the feelings and instincts that shape so much of our lives.

That brings me to one of the most important of the many flaws in our war policy in Vietnam — its failure to take account of people's feelings and instincts, especially those pertaining to top dogs and underdogs. American policy asks people to believe things that they are deeply reluctant to believe. It asks them to believe that the world's most powerful nation is not only strong but motivated by deeply benevolent and altru­istic instincts, unrelated even to national interests. Even if that were true — and on occasion it probably has been true — nobody would believe it, because nobody would want to believe it. ...

Rich and powerful though our country is, it is not rich or powerful enough to shape the course of world history in a constructive or desired direction solely by the impact of its power and policy. Inevitably and demonstrably, our major impact on the world is not in what we do but in what we are. For all their worldwide influence, our aid and our diplomacy are only the shadow of America; the real America — and the real American influence — is something else. It is the way our people live, our tastes and games, our products and preferences, the way we treat one another, the way we govern ourselves, the ideas about man and man's relations with other men that took root and flowered in the American soil.


Marshall Plan: see page 175.

Viet Cong: cf. Vietnam War, page 15.

ragtag: badly-behaved.

Fulbright, ]. William: born 1905, American educator and political leader, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1959-74).


184 AMERICA IN CLOSE-UP

Published by American Enterprise Institute

Feb/March 1986

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Exporting American Culture


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Our Music, Movies, Campaign Techniques, Our Values plus more in Opinion Roundup, page 30


AMERICA'S GLOBAL ROLE 185

Exporting American Culture

Richard Burt, our young-at-heart ambassador to West Germany,

recently startled the diplomatic community there with his rendition of two

rock and roll classics, "Teenager in Love" and "Tell Me"—both sung in a

West Berlin recording studio to the accompaniment of a local group called

the "Subtones." Surprising as such a performance was to German diplomats,

it actually played to an American strength. American popular culture,

in fact, may be an emissary as important as Ambassador Burt himself—

or any ambassador for that matter.

Around the world, people hum American tunes, line up for

American movies, and demand American television programs, even as they

deride them. Clint Eastwood packs them in in France, and

Bruce Springsteen brings them to their feet in Germany.

Alexis Carrington is loved and loathed from London to Monaco.

And after the movies, or between miniseries, citizens abroad can lace

up their Nikes and jog off to the local McDonald's or Burger King

for a hamburguesaand a shake. Or, if it's a leisurely continental breakfast

they want in, say, Thailand, they can hole up in any of fifteen

Dunkin' Donuts shops with a cup of coffee and a good book—

What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School,perhaps,

the best seller in Bangkok. Much as some nations deplore what has been called

the "Coca-colonization" of their cultures, their citizens adore Coca-Cola

itself—and its major competitor, Pepsi.

For those who demand a little culture from American culture, there are

Artistic Ambassadors—young American pianists who play newly commissioned pieces of American music. Add to these the Fulbright scholars, the

political consultants, and the foreign exchange students, and you have a

collection of some of the best traveling salesmen around. These expressions

of America are explored by Richard Grenier, Tim Page, John Russonello,

and Jack Valenti in the pages that follow. More on the American cultural

roadshow appears in Opinion Roundup, pages 30-35.

PUBLIC OPINION, FEBRUARY/MARCH 1986 VAS and KHK

Burt, Richard: born 1947, American journalist and diplomat, ambassador to West Germany from 1985 to 1989.

Eastwood, Clint: born 1930, American movie star. He became known through the CBS Western series Rawhide and gained international recognition in Sergio Leone's trio of Italian-made Westerns.

Springsteen, Bruce: see page 242.

Carrington, Alexis: character in the TV series "Dynasty."

Nike: tradename of sport shoes.

Fulbright scholar: recipient of a U.S. government scholarship sponsored by Senator J.W. Fulbright for graduate study abroad.


PART C Exercises


Text Analysis

America & the World: Principle & Pragmatism

1. Kissinger discusses idealism and
pragmatism. Define these terms according to
the information given in the text.

2. In his essay, Kissinger deals with war,
disorder and conflict on the one hand, and
with peace, order and appeasement on the
other. Find the various words and
expressions which are characteristic of these
polarizing fields.

3. Among the stylistic and rhetorical figures
used by the author, we find metaphors,
antitheses, parallelism and accumulation.
What is the function of these devices? Make a
list of examples.

Text Analysis

American Policy in Vietnam: Peace Without Conquest

1. Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the U.S.
from 1963 to 1968, delivered this speech,
which was broadcast nationwide, at Johns
Hopkins University on April 7, 1965. This
was a few months after American military
involvement had increased dramatically,
when U.S. bombers had raided North
Vietnam. What, do you think, was the main
purpose of the President's speech in this
situation?

2. In his address, Johnson defines America's
role in Southeast Asia. Read through the text
again and find out all the reasons he gives for
America's commitment in Vietnam. How are
these reasons related to each other?

3. Johnson was obviously aware of the fact that
his military policies did not meet with
approval from all Americans. Show how he
uses rhetorical devices like comparison,
images and parallelism to convince the
audience that his policy is right.


 

4. Make a list of all the words and phrases used
in order to describe violence and aggression
in Asia in the fourth and fifth paragraphs.
What is the effect the speaker wants to
achieve by this enumeration of expressions
of violence?

5. At the end of the third paragraph, Johnson
points out that a free and secure world "will
never be built by bombs and bullets." Later
on, however, he speaks about American air
raids. How does he justify those attacks? Do
you find his way of arguing convincing?

Comprehension

Top Dogs and Underdogs

Determine which of the following statements agree with the text. Correct the false statements.

1. The way Americans see themselves is
markedly different from the way they are
seen by others.

2. The distortions and exaggerations which
can often be found in the perceptions of
Americans by people all over the world
cannot be substantiated at all.

3. The underdogs' fear of the top dogs' power
makes many people dwell on the negative
sides of Americans.

4. It is the anxiety of the less powerful rather
than rational consideration that makes
people derive satisfaction from the plight of
the Americans in Vietnam.

5. Only the French, who suffered a similar
defeat in Dien Bien Phu, do not show some
kind of malicious joy when half a million
American soldiers do not stand a chance of
winning the war against the Asian guerillas.

6. The Viet Cong guerillas arouse more
sympathies among the underdogs of the
world than the American soldiers.

7. The fight of the American soldiers in
Vietnam is sometimes even compared with
that of the American revolutionaries 200
years ago.


AMERICA'S GLOBAL ROLE 187


8. Although at present the attitude towards
Americans is largely emotional and
irrational, in the long run, rational thinking
will get the upper hand.

9. If American politicians had considered the
psychological implications of the
relationship between top dogs and
underdogs, they would have understood the
criticism America's involvement in Vietnam
aroused outside the U.S.A.

10. Senator Fulbright argues that Americans should exert an influence on others not by displaying their power abroad but by setting a positive example through their way of life at home.


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