Wednesday, June 04, 2008


This Day in the Long Modern History of the French Being French

On this day in 1954, following their defeat at Dien Bien Phu and (more importantly) the destruction of Group Mobile 100 in the Central Highlands, France granted full independence to Viet Nam. Let's review a bit. After France fell to the Nazis about this time of year in 1940, their colony in Cochinchina was governed by Vichy, then invaded by Japan; and, then in March, 1945, freed by the Japanese of its French masters. So after the defeat of Imperial Japan in September, 1945, when all the good nations were granting independence to their former colonies, what the heck was French leadership thinking about when it retook Viet Nam and tried to make it a colony again? They deserved their stinging defeat by the Viet Minh, just as Viet Nam deserved its freedom.
Rough luck about the Communists, though. The photo is of a wrecked halftrack, on highway 19, which was still there when we were fighting against a Communist take over of Viet Nam in the 60s and 70s.



This is way OT. As you know, I think we should have been more selective about the countries we invade, but right now I think we should invade Burma.

We have a squadron off thwe coast of Burma full of supplies and people who are ready and able to help the cyclone victims.

We are about to w/draw the squadron b/c the ruling junta will not give its permisssion for the Navy to unload supplies and personnel.

I say, screw them. We should just go it and drop the supplies and help however we can.

What is the juntra going to do? Fight the U.S. Navy?

We will be welcomed, if not as liberators, then as saviors.

I suppose China may get its shorts in a knot but China is unlikely to do anything to interfer w/ the Olympics.

W's approval ratings would sky rocket and we would be doing good.

I hate the fascist leadership in Burma and there is no doubt about the humanitarian need. Other than doing good, what's in it for us to take casualties merely trying to help the Burmese people? I'm with you about just dropping the supplies, but what would prevent government from stealing it. Marine guards?
Tone, careful, you are treading on neocon ground here.

Ha! Ha! The Burmese would satand aside and do nothing or have their asses handed to them in slices.

I foresee a limited intervention of six months. What happens after is anyone guess.

Who could doubt the humanitarianism of it. The whoiners would be Amadinejad and Hugo Chavez and we don't see them stepping forward w/ any aid.

If we're to invade someplace, I wouldn't put Burma higher than #5 on the list (behind Iran, Sudan, North Korea, and Zimbabwe, at least). I don't see the national interest, the cost/benefit ratio is not favorable, and if we're to consider only humanitarian reasons, Zimbabwe is far more deserving.

And "six months"? It is to laugh. 8-) It is completely impossible to have a positive effect on pervasive structural problems like those in Burma in that time. (A negative effect would be quite possible, and, I think, likely, though.)

ps. I don't know if we've discussed the issue before, but "Myanmar" and "Burma" are two transliterations of the same word -- and that word doesn't have an "r".

My "Invasion" of Burma idea was to deliver aid even though the junta was refusing permission. My thought was that as soon as the aid was delivered, our ships would steam into the sunset or sunrise or moonrise.

I haven't heard about the transliteration. Would you tell me more about it?

Well, besides the fact that it would be a violation of international law (the real kind), and that it would be an act of war without a preexisting casus belli, and that it would be a PR disaster, it wouldn't do any good.

For reprisals, sending the boys to kill people and break stuff can (at least in principal) do some good in a short time. Pour l'encourager les autres, and all that.

But just dropping off supplies and trusting that the bad guys with the guns won't confiscate them immediately isn't likely to be successful.

For more information on the Burma/Myanmar issue (which is a bit different than I remembered it), see this Language Log post.

Thanks for the link. The bad guys probably would get some of the supplies, but I do not think we would have to kill more than a few.

I disagree regarding the PR. It goes like this: Natural disaster strikes; ruling junta unreasonably denies foreign aid, thereby sentencing a multitude of cyclone victims to death; the U.S. delivers aid anyway; stays for a short period, then leaves.

I would toast W's health if he did this. It would an act of charity w/ no expectation of getting anything in return and it would an exercise in pro bono. Who could castigate such an act? Any country or leader or radio talk show host or blogger who did so would be taking the position that is undefendable.

Call me a dreamer, but that's how I see it.

T, you're a dreamer.

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