Re: Did WWII breed the overconfidence that led to Vietnam?

"It is an important part of the story that America had . . . that you had a period preceding those wars of enormous success � both relative prosperity at home, relative social peace at home, and also relative American success around the world."
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

I think those were the beginnings of that. I think that obviously individuals shape . . . shape history. So there were alternatives that our leaders had in Vietnam and Iraq to . . . to have an act . . . that it was not inevitable that we went into Vietnam the way we did. It was not inevitable that we . . . that we . . . that we went into Iraq. But in trying to explain why we did, I think it is an important part of the story that America had . . . that you had a period preceding those wars of enormous success – both relative prosperity at home, relative social peace at home, and also relative American success around the world. It wasn’t just World War II. It was also Amer . . . It was also America’s success in building an order at the dawn of the Cold War that worked very effectively in . . . in the late 1940s and the 1950s into the 1960s. It wasn’t just our victory over the Soviet Union. It was also our victories in wars in Panama, in the Gulf, in Bosnia, in Kosovo, in Afghanistan – all of which I think had expanded people’s . . . the capacity . . . people’s . . . people’s belief of what was possible to achieve through American power, in particular in American military force and made them more expansive than they might have been in other moments of American history. Recorded on: 9/12/07