First send the B-52s, although the fuselages were gray, wrinkled skin even when I guarded them in the Vietnam war. My lasting memory is of a blustery day when the pilots reported in to the old Curtis LeMay, the “bombs away with Wallace and LeMay” days. One of the older pilots looked pretty worried. “It’s raining,” he said. Raining, so what? “You can’t see when it's raining.”
But this time America will not rally behind the vast war inevitably building between China and America. China needs it to avenge the horrors and atrocities inflicted by imperial Japan in World War II. They have not forgotten. They do not forget. And now or later this will be avenged. Better now while they are still powerful. And China too remembers what we here for decades endlessly called “the lessons of Vietnam” so as to not repeat them.
But for China, the lessons were clear: America did not win. And China remembers that Americans did not rally against the exotic enemy of the East the last time. And it will not this time.
Then it stops. After a time, history starts over again. And Meredith Whitney’s Fate of the States:The New Geography of American Prosperity correctly indicates the American middle states as the place for the cycle to rise again. But the “stop” part is troubling. Because between the end of the last and the beginning of the next inevitably comes warfare.
China gets it. Everybody does. The role of the mainstream media talking heads is to pretend it doesn’t happen that way, that it will be all right. But is always does.
Students of history and economy would do well today to follow Rogers and fellow economist Marc Faber, and to go forward with Whitney’s impressive book. But add to the model Nicholson Baker’s Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization. It gives a day-by-day and often a moment-by-moment account of the dead space between the end of the last historic epic and the beginning of the next as President Franklin Roosevelt built the war machine to carry us out of the Great Depression.
We are at that turning point again for China, Japan, America and so many others who we would like to join in with us. President Hillary Clinton will order the ships to the East just as Adm. Matthew C. Perry did in 1853 and just as President Kennedy ordered the Green Berets to South Vietnam’s Central Highlands in 1961. But it won’t work. And China knows that as well.
When challenged by the Vatican, Russia's Joseph Stalin asked, “How many divisions does the Pope have?” China might instead ask today, “How many divisions does Mark Zuckerberg have?”
It will change everything, and America is getting ready for change. But it's not the kind Perry, Roosevelt, Clinton or President Jeb Bush would have wanted. And that, change, is the first lesson to inform the East, indicated by the waving arms of Shiva dancing in a circle of fire. But it is not the lesson we learned in Vietnam.