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Reblogged: A DIM History of American Foreign Policy, Part 5: M1 Johns

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There were two major mis-integrating theses at the heart of America’s mis-conduct during the Cold War.

The first was an M2 thesis: America must be the grand champion of “world peace,” everywhere supporting “self-determination.”

The second was an M1 thesis: America must protect world peace, yes, but this means containing in a practical way, i.e. by the use of force, the this-worldly evil of communism.

At no point in the history of the Cold War did any American president advocate an I policy of rational self-defense. Since America was congenitally incapable of a completely altruistic foreign policy, there was a continual overlap between the mis-integrations of its presidents’ foreign policy and what would look to a rational observer as a policy of self-defense. A stopped clock seems to indicate the right time twice a day, and a mis-integrating doctrine will at times approximate the functioning of a proper foreign policy. In his daily conduct, a mis-integrating president will regularly be forced to enact the business of government in ways that are not consistent with his abstract convictions, even if he is an idealist like Truman or JFK. Reality just refuses to go away; even the philosopher king must eat, sleep, and defecate, no matter how much he resents being a lowly animal creature caged in a lower dimension.

The M2s gave the fundamental impulse and set the tone to the Cold War. The M1s made the practical adjustments, without changing the ultimate trajectory. And the Ds stepped in to make things all the messier for everyone else, treating foreign policy like some kind of chess game played on six overlapping boards at varying angles with nine sets of pieces, and patting themselves on the back for being so smart to see how reality is so complex. (I’m intently reading about a team of two neurotic Ds right now. What torture! More on that in Part 6.)

Lyndon Johnson was the second M1 to inherit a mess created by an M2 predecessor.

JFK had almost blown up the world, and then, as part of his penance no doubt, surreptitiously sent more and more Americans to Vietnam to die for others.

With Vietnam getting messy, M1 Johnson positioned himself to be the necessary integrator of the campaign. Not wanting to fight an I war — because no one in their right mind could justify sending American troops to Vietnam from a perspective of rational self-defense — Johnson would have to dispense with the constitutional mechanisms that were set by I thinkers to try to impose and I mode of conduct on future generations. By the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 1964, Johnson was able to bypass Congress, and take control of the war he intended to fight against communist barbarism, like a modern-day Marcus Aurelius confronting the Parthians and Germans at the far reaches of his overextended empire.

The most telling quote from Johnson about Vietnam, was his apocalyptic expectation: “If we allow Vietnam to fall, tomorrow we’ll be fighting in Hawaii, and next week in San Francisco.

Is it possible or necessary to read a mode into this? I think it’s not only possible, but instructive. The whole point of taking a DIM view of the world is to see if you can detect how someone’s mode conditions their conclusions, choices and actions.

Why did Johnson believe that America would be surrounded by commies and under siege in no time, if the hole in ground called Vietnam would succumb to the insanity of Leninism with Vietnamese characteristics?

M1s, like M2s, believe in a higher dimension and a lower dimension. This world, the lower one, is the world that Plato’s demiurge could not make right. It is flawed. It is the domain of evil. Ms all accept what Ayn Rand called the “malevolent universe premise” in some form or another. It’s a metaphysical baseline for them.

This is this premise that fueled the paranoia of a communist takeover of the world, even though the prospect of such a takeover and the danger it represented would have been laughable, especially if had America had a policy of rational self-interest.

I sometimes wonder how history could have gone differently. What if America had allowed the Russians to move on the Middle East, for instance Iran, while explaining to the world: “America has standards. We are not a foreign policy slut. We don’t save just anyone. You wanna have your Islamic way of life? Fine. We won’t stop you. But we ain’t lifting a finger for you either. Oh, you want to try Marxism, Latin America? Go ahead! We are benevolent enough to say: you need to learn that lesson for yourself. Just know this: if you so much as twitch the wrong way, Salvador Allende, we won’t waste our time with the CIA, we’ll bomb you into the Stone Age. The Americas are the most imminent sphere of our rights-protecting mandate of, by, and for Americans. We don’t like to lose sleep about our criminal neighbors. Got that? And just so you understand, watch this…,” a massive continual bombardment of the communist government in Cuba into rubble, followed the imposition of a republican constitution on Cuba, because commies 50 miles from Miami is simply not acceptable.

When I think about Communism and Islamism locked in a massive clash of “civilizations,” with a rational America watching from afar, I weep to think of how wrongly things have gone. Life could be so much better. Most people can’t see it. They just see what’s in front of them and what history has fed them, but when you have a modoscopic lense attached to a historiscope, you can see the world as it could and ought to have been.

Anyways, to dispense with what actually happened…Here are Johnson’s final, modally revealing, thoughts about Vietnam, as mis-integrated into the sum of his world view:

“I knew from the start that I was bound to be crucified either way I moved. If I left the woman I really loved–the Great Society–in order to get involved in that bitch of a war on the other side of the world, then I would lose everything at home. All my programs…. But if I left that war and let the Communists take over South Vietnam, then I would be seen as a coward and my nation would be seen as an appeaser and we would both find it impossible to accomplish anything for anybody anywhere on the entire globe.”

Never has there been a more eloquent statement of the tortured M1 soul caught between two worlds.

So M had its day. From 1945 to 69, continually. It would resurface again here and there, but its bankruptcy was revealed by Vietnam — a debacle that proved to be a trigger for a modal coup by D.

Perhaps coup is not the right concept. The truth is D had been lying in wait ever since Teddy Roosevelt. One thing that interests me is the idea that I fell to M, but it fell BECAUSE of D. Once we’re done with the story of foreign policy from Truman to the present, we’ll go back to the story of the fall of I and see how that went. I don’t yet have an HD picture of it in my mind, other than I am sure that Teddy is the most evil son of a bitch in the history of the American presidency–yes, even more evil than the one you’re thinking of. Evil — because like Kant himself, the anti-Aristotle, he seduced unsuspecting, modally ill-equipped, philosophically light-weight Is to the dark side by complexifying the entire conceptual manifold of foreign affairs to the point where only an Ayn Rand-like president will ever really be able to clean up the mess he made.

I don’t think that will ever happen. I am on record as saying that M2 will almost certainly win, and that either you or your children will live in a totalitarian America, or you will have had the foresight to get out.

Probably Epicurus masquerading as Ayn Rand will keep you where you are.

Plus, the normalcy bias is a powerful force limiting those who can’t take ownership of history for themselves.

On the other hand, maybe a pat down by a TSA VIPR team as you get off the subway tomorrow on the way to work will convince to start making objective preparations for the future.

Actually, I’m thinking of designing a course on the theme of “objective preparation,” but before you get all excited about that prospect, keep in mind that the hierarchical foundations of such a course, and thus your ability to take full advantage of it will depend on whether or not you have integrated what is presented in “History is Dead. Long Live History!” (Have you registered yet?)

In the mean time, on with the story…

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