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The Confederate Lawyer
July 8, 2010

The Cold War
Part V: Nixon Stabs Free China in the Back

by Charles G. Mills
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GLEN COVE, NY — By 1968, Richard Nixon came to believe that no Republican could be elected President without the support of both Liberal and Conservative Republicans. He was nominated for President because the party’s Conservatives were afraid of Rockefeller and the party’s Liberals were afraid of Reagan. The problem with the Nixon theory is that putting it into practice is more likely to anger both factions than to appease them.

Nixon’s foreign policy legacy is devastating. He helped to make the communist victory on the mainland of China legitimate and laid the groundwork for defeat in Vietnam. In short, he established communist hegemony in East Asia.

Nixon reversed 20 years of American policy by recognizing the communist regime on the mainland of China and allowing this regime into membership in the United Nations. Although the regime is one of the most vicious in history, Nixon acted as he did because he approached foreign policy as a complete pragmatist without regard to morality.

In Vietnam, Nixon adopted the policy of Vietnamization, transferring responsibilities from the American Army and Marines to the Army of Vietnam. This policy limited outcomes to two equally unattractive ones: defeat or a Korean War-like stalemate.

One would have thought that after these events, the champions of victory in the Cold War would have been Nixon’s biggest critics and the defeatists would be his defenders. Exactly the opposite was the case. To understand this paradox, one must understand Nixon’s personal history.

Nixon was first elected to Congress as a strong anti-communist, defeating an incumbent who was not. Nixon rose to prominence in the Alger Hiss case. Alger Hiss was the most conspicuous Soviet spy in a State Department riddled with Soviet spies and collaborators. The left-wing establishment refused to believe that Hiss was a spy or communist. Many prominent leftists put their reputations on the line for Hiss. When Nixon proved Hiss’ guilt, the defenders of Hiss did not turn on their man for letting them down. Instead, they turned on Nixon for exposing their naiveté and never forgave him.

They had another reason to hate Nixon. He did much to take back the streets from the pro-communist mobs.

Some people in the Nixon re-election campaign broke into the Democratic National headquarters. Some believe that John Dean organized the break-in for personal reasons. Whether this is true, Dean fed Nixon bad information and Nixon unwisely decided to protect as many people as possible. The national press, by now largely in the Cold War defeatist camp, turned this into a scandal that forced Nixon from office.

Gerald Ford completed the balance of Nixon’s term. Ford presided over complete surrender in Vietnam. This may not have been his fault since Congress obstructed everything he tried to do.

The Nixon and Ford years left us with the Vietnam syndrome, a defeatist attitude about military action. It also empowered the defeatist press. The result was the election of President Jimmy Carter, who perfectly reflected the defeatist mood of the national media.

Ronald Reagan, despite his loss, waged a good campaign for the Republican nomination, rallying the emerging forces for victory.

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The Confederate Lawyer column is copyright © 2010 by Charles G. Mills and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfBooks.com. All rights reserved.

Charles G. Mills is the Judge Advocate or general counsel for the New York State American Legion. He has forty years of experience in many trial and appellate courts and has published several articles about the law.

See his biographical sketch and additional columns here.

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