Dominoes won’t fall
Revisiting the Domino Theory
President Eisenhower introduced the domino theory back in the 1950’s when America was a linear thinking government, IMO. Some people might argue that it still is a one dimensional, simplistic thinking government. Foreign policy is complex, and leaders know it, but their bandwidth is narrow as is their time in office is short, so they simplify. Let’s play dominoes.
In the illustration posted with this story, China is the first to fall. Fall to what? It fell to communism, a dread form of acute socialism that swallows individual freedom and civil liberties. There is truth that the China form of government, one that is managing the largest population in the world, is massively bureaucratic that represses democratic freedom. At the end of WWII, Mao Tse Tung installed a new form of government and it took.
Fear was that the powerful China would move to its neighbors. Indeed, the USA was occupying Japan at the end of WWII. China feared the USA would occupy Southeast Asia. China had an allied relationship with their neighbor, the USSR and leveraged to fight the Americans against South Korea, a fight to control the Korean Peninsula.
If Korea fell to the Chinese, what next? Vietnam?
So history revealed the next legs of the struggle that has reached some state of stability.
Surprising to some is that countries like Vietnam have their own autonomous personality and character. They don’t want to be occupied by anyone. Same is true for Korea, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and the rest.
“The rest” include Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, and India. Each of these nations are profoundly different in culture, scope, and scale. The dread, “communism,” an economic and social management philosophy either failed on merit or has transformed into something workable, as in the case of China.
Nation states are so busy trying to achieve viability in a global economy that they don’t have time for dominoes.
“The domino theory was a foreign policy theory during the 1950s to 1980s, promoted at times by the government of the United States, that speculated that if one land in a region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a domino effect. The domino effect suggests that some change, small in itself, will cause a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change, and so on in linear sequence, by analogy to a falling row of dominoes standing on end. The domino theory was used by successive United States administrations during the Cold War to clarify the need for American intervention around the world.
Finally, you have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the "falling domino" principle. You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences.”
“China's rise prompts Vietnam to strengthen ties to other nations
Southeast Asian leaders meet in Hanoi this week to push ahead plans for a political and economic community by 2015.
By John Pomfret
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 30, 2010; 2:44 AM
HANOI - Three weeks ago, an exhibition opened at the Vietnam Military History Museum. On one side of a long hall, the mementos of Vietnam's 25 years of war against the United States and France - letters of surrender, quotations from Ho Chi Minh, hand grenades and AK-47 rifles - lined the walls. Nothing new there.
But on the other side, the History Museum was actually making history. Along those walls hung daggers, paintings and quotations from Vietnam's struggle with another rival: imperial China. Battles dating to 1077, 1258 and the 14th and 18th centuries were featured in intricate detail.
Putting China on a par with "Western aggressors" marks a psychological breakthrough for Vietnam's military and is troubling news for Beijing. For years, China has tried to forge a special relationship with Vietnam's Communist government. But China's rise - and its increasingly aggressive posture toward Vietnam - has alarmed the leadership of this country of 90 million, prompting it to look differently at its neighbor. Beijing risks losing its status here of a fraternal Communist partner and being relegated to its longtime place as the empire on Vietnam's northern border that has shaped and bedeviled this country for centuries.
That change of perception has led Vietnam to embark on an extraordinary undertaking to befriend the world as a hedge against China. And prominent among its new intimates is the United States, which is equally eager for partners to help it cope with Beijing.
"It is always good to have a new friend," mused Vice Minister of Defense Nguyen Chi Vinh in an interview. "It is even better when that friend used to be our foe."
The budding U.S.-Vietnamese friendship was on display Friday when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived here for her second visit in four months. Just two weeks ago, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates was here. In August, the Defense Department held its first security dialogue with its counterpart in Hanoi. Three U.S. naval vessels have visited Vietnam in the past year. More than 30 Vietnamese officers are studying at U.S. military academies.
"The U.S. fought a war in Vietnam to check China's rise," said one former senior Vietnamese official who was not authorized by the government to speak to a reporter. "Now it's pursuing friendly relations with Vietnam . . . to check China's rise."
Vietnam and the United States are hammering out an agreement that would give Vietnam access to American nuclear energy technology. That, Vietnamese officials say, could help Hanoi end its dependence on China for electricity. Meanwhile, Vietnamese defense officials say they are eager to buy U.S. military technology, including sonar equipment to track Chinese submarines. Hanoi is also involved in talks to obtain spare parts for its arsenal of U.S.-made UH-1 Iroquois helicopters, an icon of the Vietnam War. And defying Chinese pressure, three American oil companies are carrying out offshore exploration in Vietnam's waters.
Clinton's two-day visit marks the first time the United States will have participated in the East Asian Summit - an annual forum of the region's major countries. In fact, Vietnam ushered the United States into the group.
"The Vietnamese are very enthusiastic about deepening their partnership with us," Clinton said last week during a conversation with the historian Michael Beschloss. "Here's a war where tens of thousands of American and Vietnamese were killed and maimed and injured and whose impact was felt so profoundly in our country and in Vietnam. And yet the Vietnamese and the Americans now are doing business together, are doing diplomacy together, are making common cause in some of the regional-global issues that we are both concerned with."
"We should leave the war to the writers," said Bao Ninh, the author of a haunting novel about the conflict titled "The Sorrow of War." Besides, added Ninh, who served as a private during the war, the United States is wildly popular here. "Even my generation likes the Americans more. If you polled the army, they'd still vote for the U.S."
One common cause the two countries have found is ensuring that China does not dominate the South China Sea. Beijing claims the whole 1 million-square-mile waterway including vast swaths of empty ocean 1,000 miles from China's southernmost tip, and has has dispatched the world's largest maritime security vessel to the region to harass Vietnamese fishermen and oil exploration teams. In July, after consultation with Vietnam, Clinton broached the issue at a meeting of Southeast Asian nations in Hanoi, rejecting China's claims to the ownership of open ocean and calling for multilateral talks. Eleven other countries followed the United States' lead. China's foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, left the meeting in apparent shock, returning only to remind the other countries there that they are small and China is big.”