Basically, what if in 1960 We the People had had Constitutional representation? And what if one of those Representatives had read Graham Greene’s 1955 The Quiet American? And what if Vietnam never happened?
An excerpt from Foresight:
Phenomenon one: CIA
‘What is he? O.S.S?’
‘The initial letters are not very important. I think now they are different.’
Graham Greene is writing of American involvement in Vietnam in the early 1950s, before the social upheaval of the 60s. The “initial letters” (CIA) are not the focus of this pamphlet; it is only noted that in 1955 a successful British author published a work showing the American seeding of the war known as Vietnam.
The old saying, “takes one to know one” comes to mind; Greene was a spy as well, recruited into MI6 by his sister: he worked for the British during WWII.
An excerpt from Hindsight:
Phenomenon five: Opium
In March 1961, two months into his presidency, JFK gave a news conference on Laos and Vietnam. There was a map showing Laos, North Vietnam and some of “Communist” China; the map had an area shaded black that was in North Vietnam and bordered the other two: Lai Chau, part of the Golden Triangle.
Fowler, Greene’s British war correspondent, is an opium smoker throughout the book. He usually smokes in the evening, and at the beginning of the book, as the police are questioning him about Pyle’s death, he is on opium and writes of what that is like. Later in the book Fowler “visits” (from the air) the Golden Triangle while on a French bombing mission.
Vietnam offered questions of being and becoming; for the American Pyle, it was about subjects and objects and truths: being.
For the British Fowler, it was about transformations; first from French colonialism to Japanese occupation, back to French colonialism and then, seemingly, to communism or America’s Third Force: becoming.
Neither is or would have been clearly correct; understanding the co-dependence of both was entirely clear and correct.
*Next Up: 21 December and Gus Kotka and Johnny Reb begin the winter series, On Our Way Republican Values.
Posted by Bryan W. Brickner