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.