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"We have a basic misunderstanding of what revolution means in the contemporary world," said Hans J. Morganthau, prominent theoretician in international relations, at the Lowell Lecture Hall last night.
Morganthau, Director of the Institute for the Study of American Political and Military Policy at the University of Chicago, spoke with H. Stuart Hughes, professor of History, and Stanley Millet, professor of Government at Adelphi University, in a panel discussion on the war in Vietnam. The speakers attracted large crowds to both Lowell and Burr lecture halls.
All three lecturers focused on the war in Vietnam as symptomatic of a general malignancy in U.S. foreign policy. This was a dramatic change from the act-filled Teach-ins of last year.
Military intervention, Morgenthau contended, doesn't solve the revolutionary problem, but is simply the easy way out. The only sound policy, he said, would be to compete with the Communists within a revolutionary framework, but this policy would be hard to sell to the U.S. Congress.
Morgenthau explained that President Johnson's offer to negotiate was meaningless because he refused to talk with the National Liberation Front until July 28, 1965. Acting under the assumption that the Viet Cong is an instrument of North Vietnam has forced them closer to Hanoi than was initially necessary, he added.
New Approach to Communism
Morgenthau insisted that the U.S. approach to Communism can no longer be monolithic (as was possible ten years ago) but should confront Communism as it appears in its various forms today.
Our short term military success, Morgenthau said, would give the Chinese an excuse to expand as liberators of American Colonialism. The threat of Communism, he concluded, has blinded the U.S. to the possibility of directing revolutions instead of fighting them.
Hughes compared the Vietnamese war with the Korean war of '50-'53, which he found more justified than the present conflict.
"The current revolutionary movement is a predictable protest against intolerable conditions." We must learn to live with these new revolutions, Hughes continued, instead of living in the Communist vs. non-Communist bipolar world of the past.
Hughes suggested that opposition, to a policy of war should be established this year as an American tradition; it is not treason but rather something to be proud of. A militant, anti-war position must be established.
Millet concluded with a story from a Vietnamese friend who told him that he admired American intentions but "God help any small country you undertake to save from Communism."
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