Syria, France and the US: the More Apt Reference, Senator, Is Vietnam
Senator Whitehouse has just returned from a trip to the Middle East with a pronouncement: the United States should help Syrian rebels just as France helped the American Revolutionaries in the 1700’s.
Actually, the French reference to the situation in Syria that can far more easily be envisioned is nearly two hundred years later and in another part of the world: the United States entering the war in Vietnam as the French withdrew.
The senator claims that he is not advocating for American boots on the ground in Syria. That’s good. Any such calls for ratcheting up of support for the rebels in another – any country – however, should and will be met warily lest they become the prelude to such a completely unacceptable step. No one needs to be reminded that the US did not decide overnight to send American troops to Vietnam. They were preceded, over the course of years, by the dispatch of US “military aid” and then US “advisers”.
Overly romantic and inaccurate historic comparisons carried back to the United States by presumably well-meaning but misguided elected officials should not be permitted to gauze over the reality that a Syrian (or other) quagmire would not go any better than the Vietnamese one did.
[Monique is Deputy Editor of the RISC-Y Business Newsletter.]