So who really is George Soros and should I care or not worry?

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Catnip1024:

bastardofmelbourne:
This is one of those "let's move the goalposts so wide you could drive a semi-trailer through it sideways and then my argument makes sense" deals, isn't it.

If you're simply expressing an opposition to the idea of an individual - any individual - intentionally affecting the outcome of a democratic election, then I hate to admit it, but I guess I'm guilty of trying to subvert the Australian democratic process from all that time I spent in university handing out flyers to people at the Old Quad.

I was quite clearly talking about a foreign influence spending large amounts on advertising. If Soros was just handing out fliers, I doubt it would have made the news. Likewise, if a bunch of Russians were stood around handing out fliers, people would give less of a shit.

If you misinterpreted my original argument, then apologies for not making it clear enough, but that was my point and my comparison from the beginning.

There's the fact you're conveniently ignoring that there's a different between an individual taking an action and a nation-state taking an action.

If a random person or group gets their hands on a military-grade arsenal and attacks a US military base, it's an act of terrorism; if a nation-state equips a person or group with a military-grade arsenal and orders them to attack a US military base, it's an act of war. If a random person or group shoots up a school, it's a mass murder and/or terrorism; if a nation-state orders the shooting up of a school, it's a war crime. If a random person or group takes over the country via force, it's a coup; if a nation-state orders the taking over of a country via force it's an invasion. [1]

The entire modern concept of nation-states is built around the idea that actions taken by states and the international law/standards that govern them are completely separate and incomparable with the actions taken by individuals and the domestic laws that govern them. A nation-state's actions are automatically perceived to be backed by power (hard and soft), resources, and legitimacy (for lack of a better word) that no individual or group (except perhaps the most wealthy, powerful, and influential multi-national corporations) can match.

[1] I'm feel like I'm definitely going to get put on an NSA watch list for this typing paragraph...

Avnger:
There's the fact you're conveniently ignoring that there's a different between an individual taking an action and a nation-state taking an action.

In this day and age, though, the line becomes blurred. Particularly when the a lot of hostile / dubious actions are undertaken via a middle man rather than direct from the state.

But at the end of the day, what is the difference between a random billionaire and a nation state interfering in an election? It's still a disproportionate use of power by what is an external entity (at least in the case of the UK, now that I believe Soros is resident in the US). Why should we be more concerned by a nation state, when ultimately you can have the same potential impact, in pursuit of the same overarching goals?

I'm not saying that there is anything malevolent about Soros' actions, you understand. I'm just questioning why certain types of foreign investments in politics are acceptable while others are not. For instance, I imagine a Saudi billionaire or Russian oil tycoon investing in a political campaign would result in a hell of a lot more flak.

A social liberal, democrat, and a billionaire who speculates on a country's economy. He made millions-billions speculating on the Brtish Pound both sometime in the 1990s and during Brexit.

Mostly donates to mainstream left-wing political leaders, and organizations. Also donates to pro-democracy groups which are why authoritarian leaders in Turkey, Russia, and parts of Eastern Europe don't like him. He donates to some groups in Ukraine as well which is why Putin doesn't like him.

Neoliberals, of course, love the guy as they generally like anyone centre-right to centre-left.

As a non-third way social democrat, I despise him for donating to Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer to a lesser extent.

He's apparently behind the indictment of a Missouri governor for blackmailing his mistress, so obviously he's a very dangerous man to be politically opposed to.

The Missouri Republican Party is defending its indicted governor by claiming that George Soros is secretly responsible for his troubles.

In a formal statement, Missouri Republican Party Executive Director Sam Cooper lashed out at St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who brought charges against Republican Gov. Eric Greitens.

?Kim Gardner has received more than $200,000 from George Soros groups,? Cooper said. ?Missourians should see this for what it is, a political hit job.?

He also called Gardner ?an anti-law enforcement Democrat wanting to single-handedly oust a law-and-order governor.?

Greitens was indicted on Thursday for allegedly threatening to release nude photos of a former mistress if she ever talked publicly about their affair. In a leaked audio recording released earlier this year, the woman whom Greitens allegedly blackmailed claimed that he took a photo of her naked and blindfolded for the explicit purpose of using it as a deterrent to prevent her from discussing their relationship.

Greitens has admitted to having an affair with woman, but has denied trying to blackmail her.

Apparently he's also the one paying those "crisis actors" to pretend to be schoolkids unhappy with being shot.

Catnip1024:
But at the end of the day, what is the difference between a random billionaire and a nation state interfering in an election?

It's the difference that nation states and individual billionaires are completely different types of actors on the world stage.

Billionaires cannot carry out all manner of geopolitical opposition that a state can. For instance, billionaires can't invade your country. They can't veto you in the UN. They can be arrested. They can be assassinated. And so on.

* * *

It also depends what sort of interference. Covertly making bogus campaigns or supporting inflammatory ones largely for shit-stirring is extremely obviously different from transparently starting / backing campaigns consistent with openly held political beliefs.

Agema:

Catnip1024:
But at the end of the day, what is the difference between a random billionaire and a nation state interfering in an election?

It's the difference that nation states and individual billionaires are completely different types of actors on the world stage.

Billionaires cannot carry out all manner of geopolitical opposition that a state can. For instance, billionaires can't invade your country. They can't veto you in the UN. They can be arrested. They can be assassinated. And so on.

* * *

It also depends what sort of interference. Covertly making bogus campaigns or supporting inflammatory ones largely for shit-stirring is extremely obviously different from transparently starting / backing campaigns consistent with openly held political beliefs.

As a counter - billionaires often stand to gain at least as much from influencing governments and have less international accountability. Sure, they are different threats. But both are as real.

And nobody is going to invade the US. It's not worth the hassle. You've got to suppress a bunch of armed nutters, and what do you get in return? Lousy food and a bit of space.

On the Soros point - the Brexit vote was the outcome of a legitimate referendum by the local population. Surely any attempts to overturn the results of said vote through outside influence is rather undemocratic? Campaigning at the time is fine - that's all part of politics. Campaigning afterwards is much more dubious.

Catnip1024:

On the Soros point - the Brexit vote was the outcome of a legitimate referendum by the local population. Surely any attempts to overturn the results of said vote through outside influence is rather undemocratic? Campaigning at the time is fine - that's all part of politics. Campaigning afterwards is much more dubious.

Well, that depends. The referendum was advisory, first of all, though it has been treated by most major players as binding. Still, it would stink of undemocratic conduct if the result were ignored.

Most anti-Brexit groups do not merely believe they want the will of the people to be ignored, though-- they believe some combination of the following:

1) That the people were lied to during the campaign (which is undeniably true);

2) That the terms of leaving were not decided in the referendum, and that the government is pursuing terms that the people do not want (which is arguable);

3) That the people should be able to change their minds, and that the first two points mean that such a change of will is likely (which is also arguable).

It would be undemocratic to merely ignore the result. It would also be undemocratic to decide on a certain (rather extreme) set of terms, and then never give people (or Parliament) a legitimate chance to vote on them.

Silvanus:
Well, that depends. The referendum was advisory, first of all, though it has been treated by most major players as binding. Still, it would stink of undemocratic conduct if the result were ignored.

It does depend, and I'm not going back into that argument again.

That said, any rationale, legitimate or otherwise, that leads to a second referendum smacks of "we'll make you keep voting until you vote the right way". Which doesn't help the current climate of distrust of the political classes.

Catnip1024:
And nobody is going to invade the US. It's not worth the hassle. You've got to suppress a bunch of armed nutters, and what do you get in return? Lousy food and a bit of space.

No, but you can invade Ukraine or prop up puppet dicators in various regimes, and then use misinformation to attempt to paralyze the USA and Western Europe from doing anything about it.

On the Soros point - the Brexit vote was the outcome of a legitimate referendum by the local population. Surely any attempts to overturn the results of said vote through outside influence is rather undemocratic?

Yes, but the initial Brexit vote was already made under the influence of foreign money. You can't take that but suddenly then declare it unfair for foreign money to affect anything subsequently. As I have said before, where funding is transparent, I think people can generally be left to make up their own minds. It's covert funding and outright interference from foreign governments that bothers me.

Campaigning at the time is fine - that's all part of politics. Campaigning afterwards is much more dubious.

Campaigning on any contentious issue goes on all the time. Any law can fairly and legally be reversed.

Catnip1024:

And nobody is going to invade the US. It's not worth the hassle. You've got to suppress a bunch of armed nutters, and what do you get in return? Lousy food and a bit of space.

There are plenty of reasons one might have to invade the US, the problem is that the USA is incredibly large, still has the strongest, most well-funded military in the world and pretty much has a continent to itself with both its' neighbors as allies. Compared to these three, the populace being armed is a nuisance at best and someone who has the capability to defeat the US military will have absolutely no problem with eradicating a bunch of guys with semi-automatic rifles and too much confidence in said rifles. If you can take out 11 nuclear carriers and their escort groups, get through those 700,000 army and NG personnel plus 200,000 marines (not counting people that will volunteer or get drafted) and the 10,000 or so combat aircraft of the US armed forces, you are already the worlds obvious premiere super power bar none, especially if you can do so without employing ABC-weaponry.

Agema's point, however, is more that a billionaire can't raise their own army to dispute a nation's military power. Soros could probably hire a few thousand mercenaries for quite some time, but it is still peanuts compared to even a middling military power like Sweden, which can get a hundred last gen fighters in the air to drop bombs on you while a hundred tanks come rolling your way.
Even a country that can't invade the USA can use military pressure on the allies of the US to make them cave, such as Russia displaying its' air superiority in Syria or attacking Georgia. Having a military capacity is about far more things then whether you can invade a specific country or not. Having a military means having access to a tool and means of power that any single individual can't access, a tool which can be used for many things that money simply can't do.

Doesn't matter if those things are sending troops to occupy Crimea, conducting retaliatory strike into Palestinian territory or just having 7 carrier groups and half a dozen Marine Expeditionary Units on constant stand-by all around the world if you decide that you need to project lethal force against someone within 48 hours.

Gethsemani:
There are plenty of reasons one might have to invade the US, the problem is that the USA is incredibly large, still has the strongest, most well-funded military in the world and pretty much has a continent to itself with both its' neighbors as allies. Compared to these three, the populace being armed is a nuisance at best and someone who has the capability to defeat the US military will have absolutely no problem with eradicating a bunch of guys with semi-automatic rifles and too much confidence in said rifles. If you can take out 11 nuclear carriers and their escort groups, get through those 700,000 army and NG personnel plus 200,000 marines (not counting people that will volunteer or get drafted) and the 10,000 or so combat aircraft of the US armed forces, you are already the worlds obvious premiere super power bar none, especially if you can do so without employing ABC-weaponry.

I disagree. Modern history has proven that insurgencies and civil unrest are far harder to quell than conventional military forces. You have 300 million people in the US. It would likely take at least a million personnel to attempt to pacify the US, even with the best equipment going. Lot's of open space for IEDs, urban spaces where you either inflict massive collateral damage or get shot at for free.

Even disregarding the sheer geographical difficulties of sustaining such an occupation, it's so bloody difficult it's not worth anybody's time. Under pretty much any circumstance.

Sam, for the love of God, stop getting your political news for goddamn Youtube.

Youtube is good for funny cat videos and makeup tutorials and video game footage and many other things. But getting your political news and perspectives from Youtube "skeptics" will turn you into a ridiculous fool. And I use the word ridiculous literally. It will make you worthy of ridicule.

You're making me fear for the younger generations. Jesus Christ, you're turning me into an old person.

Zhukov:
Jesus Christ, you're turning me into an old person.

I think there in lies the problem, you are like Roald Dahl basically telling me to stop watching a glut of TV and go read a book.

And to be fair, your right, I need to expand my horizons with political topics beyond Youtube and Wikipedia for that matter.

And just so you know, I am getting rather weary with politics, which is why I am going to be switching majors from Political Science to World History this (a major I wanted from the beginning mind you), much more neutral to look at the world in a historical lense than a political.

Samtemdo8:
And just so you know, I am getting rather weary with politics, which is why I am going to be switching majors from Political Science to World History this (a major I wanted from the beginning mind you), much more neutral to look at the world in a historical lense than a political.

I cannot agree more. Almost all contemporary political discussion starts to seem a little ridiculous once you get a grasp of the historical circumstances.

Seriously, it's like...it's like watching two goldfish going to a shitty restaurant and then arguing about what the best item on the menu is, except the entire menu is shit, and they're basically arguing that their shit is less shitty than the other goldfish's shit, and you just want to grab the two scaly fuckers and smack them together and say "You're the ones who chose this shitty restaurant five minutes ago! Y'all just forgot!"

Samtemdo8:

And just so you know, I am getting rather weary with politics, which is why I am going to be switching majors from Political Science to World History this (a major I wanted from the beginning mind you), much more neutral to look at the world in a historical lense than a political.

Really? I think history is extremely political. Facts about what goes on in the world are nearly always viewed through the political lens of the observer, and historians are no exception.

Agema:

Samtemdo8:

And just so you know, I am getting rather weary with politics, which is why I am going to be switching majors from Political Science to World History this (a major I wanted from the beginning mind you), much more neutral to look at the world in a historical lense than a political.

Really? I think history is extremely political. Facts about what goes on in the world are nearly always viewed through the political lens of the observer, and historians are no exception.

I'd say that economics, history, and sociology are all more politicized than political science. And in that order.

Agema:

Samtemdo8:

And just so you know, I am getting rather weary with politics, which is why I am going to be switching majors from Political Science to World History this (a major I wanted from the beginning mind you), much more neutral to look at the world in a historical lense than a political.

Really? I think history is extremely political. Facts about what goes on in the world are nearly always viewed through the political lens of the observer, and historians are no exception.

Well I intend to take Politics out of History and just look at what is merely undisputable fact. I look at history as an observer.

Catnip1024:
I disagree. Modern history has proven that insurgencies and civil unrest are far harder to quell than conventional military forces. You have 300 million people in the US. It would likely take at least a million personnel to attempt to pacify the US, even with the best equipment going. Lot's of open space for IEDs, urban spaces where you either inflict massive collateral damage or get shot at for free.

Given you've already dealt with a million or so of the US's military (at a minimum), a million occupying soldiers of your own isn't that big a deal.

Also, when you say "modern history" do you mean "times the US tried in the last 70 years and didn't really care about the results"? The Axis powers/buffer states next to the USSR got occupied right, starting just after WW2, because it was important that they were. The US could do Vietnam and Iraq as badly as it wanted.

Samtemdo8:

Agema:

Samtemdo8:

And just so you know, I am getting rather weary with politics, which is why I am going to be switching majors from Political Science to World History this (a major I wanted from the beginning mind you), much more neutral to look at the world in a historical lense than a political.

Really? I think history is extremely political. Facts about what goes on in the world are nearly always viewed through the political lens of the observer, and historians are no exception.

Well I intend to take Politics out of History and just look at what is merely undisputable fact. I look at history as an observer.

That's not really possible. In order to look at history as just an observer, you would need to omniscient about everything going on in the world. Otherwise, you are inherently limited to what you experience, and everything you experience is filtered through your personal biases. You could, of course, try to get around that by using others' experiences that are documented to fill the gaps in your knowledge, but then your new knowledge is being influenced by the biases of your sources as well as by which sources you picked and which source even exist.

Samtemdo8:
Well I intend to take Politics out of History and just look at what is merely undisputable fact. I look at history as an observer.

This is like doing astronomy without using telescopes.

Avnger:

Samtemdo8:

Agema:

Really? I think history is extremely political. Facts about what goes on in the world are nearly always viewed through the political lens of the observer, and historians are no exception.

Well I intend to take Politics out of History and just look at what is merely undisputable fact. I look at history as an observer.

That's not really possible. In order to look at history as just an observer, you would need to omniscient about everything going on in the world. Otherwise, you are inherently limited to what you experience, and everything you experience is filtered through your personal biases. You could, of course, try to get around that by using others' experiences that are documented to fill the gaps in your knowledge, but then your new knowledge is being influenced by the biases of your sources as well as by which sources you picked and which source even exist.

So everything in life is political and I have to take a stance on something?

Samtemdo8:

Avnger:

Samtemdo8:

Well I intend to take Politics out of History and just look at what is merely undisputable fact. I look at history as an observer.

That's not really possible. In order to look at history as just an observer, you would need to omniscient about everything going on in the world. Otherwise, you are inherently limited to what you experience, and everything you experience is filtered through your personal biases. You could, of course, try to get around that by using others' experiences that are documented to fill the gaps in your knowledge, but then your new knowledge is being influenced by the biases of your sources as well as by which sources you picked and which source even exist.

So everything in life is political and I have to take a stance on something?

In short, yes.

In a bit longer form, you don't have to take a stance on something; you already have by experiencing it. If you were to then document it in some form such as writing, you're taking another stance on it.

However, biases are not, inherently, a bad thing. Biases only become a bad thing when we fail to recognize them and how experiences are influenced by them.

A quote that I like is: "Trust those who seek the truth but doubt those who say they have found it."

Samtemdo8:

Avnger:

Samtemdo8:

Well I intend to take Politics out of History and just look at what is merely undisputable fact. I look at history as an observer.

That's not really possible. In order to look at history as just an observer, you would need to omniscient about everything going on in the world. Otherwise, you are inherently limited to what you experience, and everything you experience is filtered through your personal biases. You could, of course, try to get around that by using others' experiences that are documented to fill the gaps in your knowledge, but then your new knowledge is being influenced by the biases of your sources as well as by which sources you picked and which source even exist.

So everything in life is political and I have to take a stance on something?

Being 100% neutral is still a stance. It involves the rejection of all other politics, no matter the value they add to the context, giving you the same degree of understanding of the world and history as being on the a far side in the political spectrum (and that's not good).

Thaluikhain:

Catnip1024:
I disagree. Modern history has proven that insurgencies and civil unrest are far harder to quell than conventional military forces. You have 300 million people in the US. It would likely take at least a million personnel to attempt to pacify the US, even with the best equipment going. Lot's of open space for IEDs, urban spaces where you either inflict massive collateral damage or get shot at for free.

Given you've already dealt with a million or so of the US's military (at a minimum), a million occupying soldiers of your own isn't that big a deal.

Also, when you say "modern history" do you mean "times the US tried in the last 70 years and didn't really care about the results"? The Axis powers/buffer states next to the USSR got occupied right, starting just after WW2, because it was important that they were. The US could do Vietnam and Iraq as badly as it wanted.

No, the USSR learnt a thing or two in Afghanistan as well.

The difference between Afghanistan and the Eastern European states was, the Eastern European states at the time were, at the very least, split on the whole Soviet thing. There was no united opposition. There was no organised unrest using modern asymmetric methods, rather Prague-esque uprisings which gave the Soviets something to easily suppress. There was no native government to supplant, rather a replacement of a previous occupying force.

As for "didn't care about the results", that is incredibly revisionist. The amount of time, money and lives that the US poured into the Vietnam war, the willingness to commit warcrimes, suggests that it did care incredibly strongly. It was an idealogical battle to the leaders at the time, rather in the same way Afghanistan was to the Mujaheddin (not how I would spell it, spellcheck, but you're the boss).

Avnger:

Samtemdo8:

Well I intend to take Politics out of History and just look at what is merely undisputable fact. I look at history as an observer.

That's not really possible. In order to look at history as just an observer, you would need to omniscient about everything going on in the world. Otherwise, you are inherently limited to what you experience, and everything you experience is filtered through your personal biases. You could, of course, try to get around that by using others' experiences that are documented to fill the gaps in your knowledge, but then your new knowledge is being influenced by the biases of your sources as well as by which sources you picked and which source even exist.

Huh? Observation (or 'just' observation) most definitely does not require omniscience nor is it clear to me that omniscience would help. In fact, those two things might even be incompatible. Nor is it clear to me that omniscience makes one free of politics. Nor should the political be equated with biases. A bias as I understand it is a systematically skewed or mistaken interpretation of certain things. Politics need not be skewed or mistaken and they need not skew further interpretation in all cases. They might, but previous historical views might do so just as well, regardless of specific politics.

Agema:

Samtemdo8:

And just so you know, I am getting rather weary with politics, which is why I am going to be switching majors from Political Science to World History this (a major I wanted from the beginning mind you), much more neutral to look at the world in a historical lense than a political.

Really? I think history is extremely political. Facts about what goes on in the world are nearly always viewed through the political lens of the observer, and historians are no exception.

Almost anything can be looked at through a political lense but in much the same way almost all things can be looked at through the phycisists lense. In most cases neither lense is all that unavoidable and neither lense is always particularly applicable or useful. There are specific reasons why history is a fairly political subject, more so than most subjects and these vague and misleading generalities have fairly little to do with those.

Pseudonym:

Almost anything can be looked at through a political lense but in much the same way almost all things can be looked at through the phycisists lense. In most cases neither lense is all that unavoidable and neither lense is always particularly applicable or useful. There are specific reasons why history is a fairly political subject, more so than most subjects and these vague and misleading generalities have fairly little to do with those.

Bearing in mind the physicist's lens will mostly require controlled, replicable experiments and history is a series of unique events with many factors unknowable and no controls available, I'd suggest that a physicist's lens is spectacularly inappropriate to history.

Frankly I think it's is close to impossible to be a 'dispassionate observer of history'. In studying history you will not be just writing narrative. You will be tackling the hows and the whys, or in some cases, even when. When making an argument, you will have to judge sources, explain why this source supports your argument while this one is a crock of shit or this one makes some good points but the author's obsession with this detail skews his argument in the wrong direction.

You will be judging things about the author of sources, who they were, when they lived, what their relationship is to the people they are writing about, especially the further back you go where the standards of modern history didn't apply. This will greatly affect what you think about particular sources and their validity to your argument.

Ultimately you're going to have to make a statement and support that statement. Even when writing narrative history, you will probably come across conflicting accounts, and you will have to judge what parts are correct and what are not and make an argument as to why that is.

Agema:

Pseudonym:

Almost anything can be looked at through a political lense but in much the same way almost all things can be looked at through the phycisists lense. In most cases neither lense is all that unavoidable and neither lense is always particularly applicable or useful. There are specific reasons why history is a fairly political subject, more so than most subjects and these vague and misleading generalities have fairly little to do with those.

Bearing in mind the physicist's lens will mostly require controlled, replicable experiments and history is a series of unique events with many factors unknowable and no controls available, I'd suggest that a physicist's lens is spectacularly inappropriate to history.

History through the physicist's lens is history that doesn't even have available to it the concepts of "person", "human", or even "living thing". The history of earth through the physicist's lens doesn't even manage to be a buzzing, blooming confusion, as it's still stuck on the particles that make up things that might be said to buzz or bloom.

Catnip1024:
No, the USSR learnt a thing or two in Afghanistan as well.

True.

Catnip1024:
As for "didn't care about the results", that is incredibly revisionist. The amount of time, money and lives that the US poured into the Vietnam war, the willingness to commit warcrimes, suggests that it did care incredibly strongly. It was an idealogical battle to the leaders at the time, rather in the same way Afghanistan was to the Mujaheddin (not how I would spell it, spellcheck, but you're the boss).

The US prosecuted the war in a half-hearted way, got tired and left. It's not true that they didn't care at all, but they certainly didn't care about the result enough to actually win the way they did in WW2 (mind you, there was a fear they'd run out of care before the Japanese were defeated).

Any number of people and factions were more interested with their own politics then winning the war. The debacle over the introduction of the M16, changes to rations, the US Army refusing to play together with the US Air Force or Marines, the US refusing to play well with allies, the end of defoliant use because farmers at home wanted to use the chemicals etc. Not to mention, the US up and left, because it knew it didn't matter.

Also, "willingness to commit war crimes" is not evidence in any way that the US was invested in the war. It's par for the course.

Thaluikhain:
The US prosecuted the war in a half-hearted way, got tired and left. It's not true that they didn't care at all, but they certainly didn't care about the result enough to actually win the way they did in WW2 (mind you, there was a fear they'd run out of care before the Japanese were defeated).

It wasn't a war to win in the same way. An invasion of North Vietnam would have turned a proxy war into a full blown global conflict, or at the very least drawn in far heavier opposition as in Korea. Nuclear weapons were off the board - and let's be honest, if they'd had to invade Japan without them they might have given up on that eventually too.

Fundamentally, though, they were never going to win by propping up a corrupt regime and pissing off the local population.

Samtemdo8:

Well I intend to take Politics out of History and just look at what is merely undisputable fact. I look at history as an observer.

Speaking as somebody who studied History in higher education, this is impossible. Reporting what is already undisputed will contribute nothing of value to the field, and you'll be expected to do more (and rightly so) in order to graduate-- you'll be expected to analyse, and judge.

Catnip1024:

As for "didn't care about the results", that is incredibly revisionist. The amount of time, money and lives that the US poured into the Vietnam war, the willingness to commit warcrimes, suggests that it did care incredibly strongly. It was an idealogical battle to the leaders at the time, rather in the same way Afghanistan was to the Mujaheddin (not how I would spell it, spellcheck, but you're the boss).

The US had armed forces in Vietnam for over a decade (1963-1975, hundreds of military advisers before that) and performed their own combat actions between 1965 and 1973. That's a long time. What happened was that the US went into Vietnam with a lot of zeal to stop the spread of communism in the early 60's, with Kennedy and Johnson driving up the involvement as much as they could to show the world that the US would not let communism spread.

As the 60's waned, Khrushchev was ousted as First Secretary by Brezhnev, who pushed heavily for a detente between the USSR and the US, thus de-escalating the tension of the cold war. The Sino-Soviet split also intensified around this time and was a fact in 1966, when the Soviet Union and PRC pretty much stopped talking. This along with minor events like the killing of Che Guevara proved to the USA that Communism was not this unstoppable, international, monolithic, juggernaut that Kennedy and his cabinet had been so afraid of in the early 60's.

So as Communism fractured and started suffering international setbacks and with both the USSR and PRC approaching the USA separately to find some form of mutual understanding and co-existence, the driving motivation behind the Vietnam war (stop Communism's spread at all costs!) waned significantly. So by the early 70's US troops were fighting a war based on a geopolitical reading that had proven wrong and the consensus among US leadership was that diplomacy with the USSR and PRC was better than fighting proxy wars and unilateral military interventions. Nixon's cabinet also had the idea of Vietnamization, which in essence meant training and arming the ARVN and letting them fight their own war.

So when the US started their major withdrawal in 1973 it was partially because the public was fed up but mostly because US geopolitical considerations had changed and there was no longer any reason to throwing thousands of US men to their deaths while spending billions of dollars per year on a war that dragged on and where victory, even if it could be achieved, would serve no political purpose.

Now, ask yourself, if this happened on US soil, do you really think the President would look at it and go "Not worth the effort" or would he channel the spirit of General Sherman and re-create the March to the Sea? Because a civil war or insurrection on domestic soil is something far, far different from a limited military intervention in a country on the other side of the world. Which is why we can't look at Iraq, Afghanistan or Vietnam and come to any meaningful conclusions as to the US military's ability or willingness to fight an insurrection on domestic soil. What we do know is that a significant portion of the US seceded 150 years ago and they were beaten so bad that their part of the USA remains economically impaired 1,5 century later.

Samtemdo8:
Well I intend to take Politics out of History and just look at what is merely undisputable fact. I look at history as an observer.

Well, you could do that, but it's rather pointless. You'd end up with endless lists of kings and battles and dates, without anything to stick them together. Apparently, that's still how they teach it in France, though, according to a French uni student I know.

Catnip1024:
It wasn't a war to win in the same way. An invasion of North Vietnam would have turned a proxy war into a full blown global conflict, or at the very least drawn in far heavier opposition as in Korea. Nuclear weapons were off the board - and let's be honest, if they'd had to invade Japan without them they might have given up on that eventually too.

Certainly, I meant that in, say, WW2, the US was war economy-ing it's war out of the Great Depression, you could watch Sherlock Holmes fight Nazis spies at the movies, followed by Bugs Bunny telling you to buy war bonds, it was the result of Japan attacking Pearl Harbour and Germany declaring war a few days later, a big international fight against an expansionist and genocidal threat.

In Vietnam, US soldiers are being sent to somewhere most US citizens couldn't find on a map, to fight people posing no threat to the US because dominoes or something? Much more important things are going on at home, the civil rights movement and the space race come to mind. Vietnam just isn't as big an issue, consequently it wasn't prosecuted thoroughly.

Agema:
Really? I think history is extremely political. Facts about what goes on in the world are nearly always viewed through the political lens of the observer, and historians are no exception.

The difference is that historians are expected to filter out the bias, not just tolerate it. 90% of historical discussion is arguing about the credibility of any given historical source based on what we know of its motivations and the circumstances behind its creation. The hope is that if you can identify potential political bias in a historical account, you can compensate for them.

For example, Procopius' Secret History is largely useless as a source for the private life of Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora, because it postulates that Justinian was a demon whose head could vanish at will and that Theodora was fond of having geese eat seeds off of her vulva. It's the ancient Byzantine version of Infowars, essentially. But you can ask why Procopius was motivated to make those claims, and from that glean information about Justinian and Theodora's political enemies at the time.

History is political in the sense that everything is political. It's better to say that it's phenomenological; history depends on the interpretation of what few concrete facts can be ascertained, and then the construction of a historical narrative that is (ideally) as close to the truth as is possible, similar to how our brain constructs a vision out of what bits of reflected light are picked up our eyes and calls that "real." You have to apply a level of personal judgment to discern what sources you consider credible and which ones you think are old-timey Fox News, but the subjectivity of all that is why historians often rely on more concrete, inarguable facts - archaeological evidence, geological evidence, well-corroborated accounts. They use those facts as lynchpins to hold up the subjective, "soft" history.

Seanchaidh:
I'd say that economics, history, and sociology are all more politicized than political science. And in that order.

Of course you'd say that. You're a Marxist.

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