The Corner

Apocalypse Still

Today on Uncommon Knowledge, we continue our program from the archives.  Christopher Hitchens, formerly a dedicated Trotskyist, and William F. Buckley, Jr., a founding father of modern American conservatism, on the war in Vietnam.

Hitchens: The official reason given for intervention in Vietnam…was to stop Chinese expansionism into the Indochinese peninsula.  That’s now considered so ridiculous, and so self-evidently untrue, that it’s hard to remember that that was one of the official alibis.

Buckley: But the godfather of that impulse was containment.  The doctrine of containment had been around since 1945-46 – Czechoslovakia had provoked a reinvigoration of it.  Behind that impulse is, to be sure, a perfectly raw colonialism which is everywhere displayed, but also the threat of China doing what they did in Korea ten years earlier.

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