A BROADER VIEW
"I am pleased the United States
has sent armed forces to Vietnam,"
Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore, was
reported to have said.
At a luncheon in San Francisco,
Paul Cleveland, at the time our Ambassador to Malaysia,
commented, "I was very surprised Prime Minister Lee has approved of the
American presence in Vietnam."
I shook my head in disagreement when I heard him say that.
Surely, he must have been aware of how the Asian countries, particularly those
in the southeast, reacted.
While public opinion in the United States, dominated by the
media and the troubled sixties, was strongly opposed to our involvement, there
were some who felt our national attitude was out of touch with reality.
We didn't win in Vietnam,
but we did stop the flow of communist domination that threatened neighboring
was pleased. They had already settled their problems with communism and didn't
want to face them again. Singapore,
a bastion of democratic business strength, was relieved as was Thailand. While
China gave support to North Vietnam,
they, too, approved of the American presence. With the Russian bear already on
their northern border, they were anxious to avoid a threat from the south. Japan did not
want a shift in Asian military balance.
Must Americans always be right?