Wednesday, September 14, 2016

France's noble leader showed how to react to a mob

Many of us still vividly remember 1968. That was the year of the heaviest American presence in Vietnam (more than 536,000 troops) and our highest military casualties (almost 17,000).

These are some of the events that played out:

January 31: the Tet Offensive begins in South Vietnam

March 16: more than 300 civilians are slaughtered in My Lai hamlet by U.S. soldiers

March 31: President Johnson declines to run again

April 4: Reverend Martin Luther King slain

June 6: Bobby Kennedy slain  

late August: Democratic convention against the backdrop of street battles in Chicago

What was the situation in France at that time? The chaos of revolution was in the air, and the month of May brought the nation to its knees. But when President DeGaulle addressed his countrymen (almost exactly two months after President Johnson conceded), he told them:
"I will not step down... 
"France is threatened with dictatorship. There are those who would constrain her to abandon herself to a power that would establish itself in national despair...  
"No, I say! The Republic will not abdicate. The people will come to its senses."

What a contrast between the LBJ abdication and the pluck of Charles DeGaulle! He rallied Frenchmen to vote for common sense, and the self-absorbed revolutionaries were cashiered.

(Events would prove fortuitous in America as well, as Richard Nixon arose to provide adult leadership.)

[Take a look at this stirring video of President Kennedy's visit to Paris in the spring of 1961.]

In China, their cultural revolution officially lasted from 1966 to 1969. But it continued longer, as Chairman Mao fomented and cheered the mobs!

"In 1966, China’s Communist leader Mao Zedong launched what became known as the Cultural Revolution in order to reassert his authority over the Chinese government. Believing that current Communist leaders were taking the party, and China itself, in the wrong direction, Mao called on the nation’s youth to purge the 'impure' elements of Chinese society and revive the revolutionary spirit that had led to victory in the civil war 20 decades earlier and the formation of the People’s Republic of China. The Cultural Revolution continued in various phases until Mao’s death in 1976, and its tormented and violent legacy would resonate in Chinese politics and society for decades to come."

UPDATE: It's high time our nation made friends with the other armed guys. The five strongest armies of the future: India, France, Russia, China, and America.

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