Biden falls into the same ditch as Lyndon Johnson


Biden has been diverted by the counsel of the Europeanist crew he brought into the administration into getting deeper and deeper into the Ukraine quagmire at the cost of his social policies, writes Prof. Madhav Nalapat

President Joe Biden is fortunate in that the establishment within the Republican party are in lockstep with him on the White House policy of concentrating its attention on assistance to Ukraine against the attack on it by the Russian Federation. There was a time when prosecution of the war in Vietnam was regarded as almost the only priority for the White House. This was when Lyndon Johnson was in office, and that approach resulted in not just his withdrawal from the next Presidential contest, but to electoral disaster for his successor as party standard bearer, Hubert H. Humphrey.

The then Vice-President was the choice of the Democratic Party against Richard M. Nixon, did not find the courage to break away completely from Johnson’s obsession away from the Great Society to sending more and more troops and money into the Vietnam sinkhole. Subsequently, Vietnam endured the inhumane policy of Nixon and Kissinger, who covered paddy fields with Agent Orange, while ensuring that more bombs were dropped on Vietnam than had been done by the Allies on Japan and Germany combined during 1941-45

 In common with recent characterisations of not just Putin but the Russian people as sub-humans deserving only to be brought to their senses through kinetic and other means, the Vietnamese were seen as “gooks” who could not be considered in the same category as human beings. Which was probably why Nixon pardoned former Lieutenant William Calley, who had ordered his platoon to massacre the whole of the village of My Lai. For such actions as machine gunning women, the elderly and children who were rounded up and made to lie in ditches, Calley suffered only house arrest, and after he was terminated from service, must have been looked after by wealthy patrons, whose identities need to be made known to the world.

In Ukraine, more than a few Russian forces would have behaved in a fashion frowned upon by the Red Cross, while engaged in combat in Ukraine since 24 February. Many apparent transgressions have been preserved for posterity by free media in the US, UK and EU. The media in several of the western protagonists of NATO’s war against Russia seems to have accepted the assumption made by Biden, Macron, Scholz and Johnson that Ukrainian troops (including irregulars such as the Azov Battalion) have been entirely chivalric.

As a consequence, thus far almost none of the acts of wanton violence that are recorded as having been made by Ukrainian forces against Russian-speaking individuals or captured Russian soldiers has been reported by western news outlets. As in the case of Vietnam, it is only a matter of time before a less unbalanced picture gets presented of the brutal war that is devastating Ukraine to the benefit of producers of weapons, hydrocarbons and such other essentials of a civilised life.

Lyndon Johnson introduced into law much of the societal construct of the Great Society before he was entrapped in Vietnam . Ironically, Richard Nixon won on the promise of peace, a vow that he had no intention of keeping. This was a factor that must have sharpened the revulsion later felt by voters at such lack of candour. Only after seeing the absence of results of his battering of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam did Nixon declare victory and end the war three years later than he could have. A gainer from the carnage was Henry Kissinger, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize despite his recommendations to Nixon to intnsify the Vietnam War

 Biden sought for a while to follow in the footsteps of Johnson and seek to bring into law his own version of the Great Society. Instead, Biden has forgotten his obligation to the tens of millions of underprivileged who voted him into the White House in 2020. His concentration of effort is not on helping them, but on spending more and more taxpayer dollars in sending weapons and other assistance into the sinkhole of Ukraine.

Just as Johnson got sidetracked from domestic issues by Vietnam, Biden has been diverted by the counsel of the Europeanist crew he brought into the administration into getting deeper and deeper into the Ukraine quagmire at the cost of his social policies. His reluctance to do battle against the ideological challenge represented by the Republican effort to roll back individual freedoms through a pliant Supreme Court could lead to unrest on a scale that may exceed that seen during the 1960s.

The expectation that Biden would go as far as Lyndon Johnson did in remedying some of the systemic injustices in US society is fading. Only a Democratic Party freed from the constraining influence of the Ukraine-obsessed crew surrounding President Biden would be capable of taking back the initiative before the midterm elections at the close of the year. Just as Johnson became toxic to his own party after a few years in office because of Vietnam, Biden is heading in the same direction as a consequence of the economic and social cost of his Ukraine fixation.

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