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COMMENTARY IN THIS ISSUE:

Herman J. Cohen, an old 'Congo hand' and former assistant secretary of state for Africa, observes that "in a continent that is lagging further and further behind the rest of the world in economic development, this latest tragedy makes one wonder how and when Africa will finally hit bottom and start moving upward again."
(Agony in the Congo)

On the basis of his personal experience in wartime Vietnam, J. R. Bullington, argues that, contrary to popular belief, (a) the war was winnable and (b) the antiwar protests were largely responsible for bringing it to an end.
(Mythed Opportunities: Comments on Vietnam from Personal Experience)

Harvery Sicherman, president of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, assesses the Syrian leader over the three decades he exercised power. Dr. Sicherman argues that Assad was strategically slow to act.
(Hafez al-Assad: The Man Who Waited Too Long)

A retired senior Foreign Service officer with many years of experience in the Middle East, Curtis Jones concludes that President Asad had more success, at least in military affairs, than some of the other Arab leaders in the region. He notes nonetheless that Syria’s future under a new leader — like that of her neighbors — remains unpredictable.
(Governing Syria After Asad).

 

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In this issue:

Mythed Opportunities: Comments on Vietnam from Personal Experience
By J. R. BULLINGTON

Assigned to a year of mid-career training at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, I saw the antiwar movement up close and personal. Like the majority of Americans at the time, I didn’t like what I saw. . . . I found the protesters to be woefully ill informed and, worse, unwilling even to hear views that questioned the slogans they substituted for facts and analysis. They burned books, disrupted classes, and shouted down any opposition. They insulted veterans. (How many babies did you kill while you were there?’)” [FULL TEXT]

The Agony of the Congo
By HERMAN J. COHEN

Events in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since early June have added to the general despair for Africa’s future. Uganda and Rwanda, two governments closely allied with the United States, have gone to war against each other in the middle of [their neighbors territory.] Kisangani, the Congo’s second largest city, has been essentially destroyed by this fraternal’ warfare, with thousands of innocent civilians killed or wounded. . . . Does anybody remember a guy named Mobutu Sese Seko?” [FULL TEXT]

Governing Syria After Asad
By CURTIS F. JONES

Asad ruled with an iron hand for thirty years. This clearly was a noteworthy achievement for a member of a disdained community that numbered only ten percent of the population, in a country that had experienced some twelve violent changes of leadership since the French were forced out in 1945.” [FULL TEXT]

Whatever Happened to Diplomacy?
By ANTHONY C. E. QUAINTON

The Foreign Service’s morale has been squandered [and] the profession of diplomacy has been demeaned, reduced in the public’s mind to a board game played by effete, elegant, and unrepresentative individuals more knowledgeable about champagne and caviar than the real concerns of Main Street America. The result has been a false sense that America’s world leadership can be had on the cheap. Like the armed forces, the Foreign Service needs better training, better treatment, and better pay.” [FULL TEXT]

Hafez al-Assad: The Man Who Waited Too Long
By HARVEY SICHERMAN

The demate over whether Hafez al-Assad of Syria would ever make peace with Israel has now been settled: not in his lifetime. Assad’s death removes from the scene a stubborn enemy of the Jewish state and also a persistent foe of American policy. Curiously enough, he died following yet one more attempt to construct a new line to the United States — although, as always, on Assad’s own peculiar terms. He leaves his son Bashar a machine for holding power but no obvious way out of dead-ends at home or abroad.” [FULL TEXT]

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American Diplomacy                Vol. V, No. 3                Summer 2000
Copyright © 2000 American Diplomacy Publishers, Durham NC
http://www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/amdipl_16
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