KEN LESLIE—As stated above, the orgy of killing and torture went on for a couple of years fuelled by the need to avenge the embarrassment of Tet. However, times were changing—if not substantially. The fake patriotic fervour of the 1950s bolstered by the right-wing certainties of the era was eroding fast especially in contact with a never-ending procession of coffins of young (increasingly middle-class) Americans. The main supporter of the war, Spellman, died in 1967 and the shaky consensus regarding the importance of the war began to crumble.
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This week saw yet more U.S. intelligence claims of Russian malign interference in American politics (as well as alleged interference from China and Iran). The claims are characteristically hollow and tedious. But this irrational obsession long predates the Trump era. We can go back to the Red Scare years of the Cold War in the 1950s. And even beyond that.
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FRANCIS LEE—Whether they obtain either is a matter of conjecture, however, as this would be almost certain to cross Russia’s red lines and result in a major geopolitical flareup. Europe’s centre of gravity is shifting. And while the process of joining the European Union is driving change within these countries, it is also changing the nature of Europe itself. Those Eastern European states which emerged from the break-up of the Soviet Union had been led to believe that a bright new world of West European living standards, enhanced pay levels, high rates of social mobility and consumption were on offer.
Unfortunately, they were sold an illusion: the result of the transition so far seems to have been the creation of a low-wage hinterland, a border economy on the fringes of the highly developed European core; a Euro version of NAFTA and the maquiladora, i.e., low tech, low wage, low skills production units on the Mexican side of the US’s southern borders. Moreover there are acute demographic problems confronting the ‘new Europe’.
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PETER KOENIG—The Houthis have made technological advances in building their own drones, missiles, and rockets. They have shown the Saudis that they have the precision and capacity to attack Saudi Arabian targets practically anywhere in the Saudi territory. This is impressive and surely may have had a crucial influence in this first step of a prisoner exchange; first step to what I hope will be a much more important goal – Peace.
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MoA—The big issue with the U.S. proposal is that there is no agreement or even the infrastructure that would allow to verify the number of all nuclear warheads. How would those be counted and how would dismantling or renovation of such warheads be handled. Would there be Russian inspectors in U.S. nuclear warhead depots and manufacturing facilities and U.S. inspectors in Russian ones? Negotiating the required processes to allow for that would likely take years. The Pentagon and the Senate would certainly oppose any inspection scheme.