- Republican politicians taunted Democrats as appeasers
- Americans by and large believed that the Chinese people wanted nothing so much as to live in an American-style democracy. (In fact, the Chinese generally regarded Americans as part of the western colonialism that had exploited their nation for over a hundred years.)
- American politicians backed Chiang Kai-Shek, whom -- like Chalabi in Iraq -- they mistakenly believed to represent the mass of Chinese people
- MacArthur's desire to invade the north and his certainty that the Chinese would not intervene resulted in cooked intelligence to support his position
- The utter failure of American decision-makers in both parties to understand the nature of their Communist adversaries in Moscow and Beijing, who were motivated as much or more by nationalism than ideology
Halberstam also digs up the roots of post-War conservative foreign policy. It was driven, of course, by a rabid anti-Communism coupled with a by-and-large successful effort to paint Democrats as soft appeasers. It's a fascinating look at a political movement that has become hoist on its own petard.
Modern conservatives have attempted to redirect the politics of fear against terrorists and immigrants, but it has proved self-defeating: Hispanic voters turned against Republicans, and the application of militarism has failed dismally in Iraq and Afghanistan. The door is open to the enlightened internationalism advocated by Barack Obama...
Hendrik Hertzberg ("...a real jerk," sez Newtie) flays Bill-o wide open and leaves him out to dry in the hot sun...