Beyond Vietnam to Ukraine

By Rick Sterling

Global Research, January 16, 2023

Region: AsiaEurope

Theme: HistoryLaw and JusticeUS NATO War Agenda

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In April 1967,  Martin Luther King Jr. delivered an eloquent and stirring denunciation of the Vietnam war and US militarism. The speech titled “Beyond Vietnam” is relevant to today’s war in Ukraine. 

In the speech at Riverside Church, King talked about how the US had supported France in trying to re-colonize Vietnam. He noted, “Before the end of the war we were meeting 80% of the French war costs.”

Click here to access complete text and audio

When France began to despair in the war, “We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war.”


King went on to recall that after the French finally left Vietnam, the United States prevented the implementation of the Geneva Accord which would have allowed Ho Chi Minh to unite the divided country. Instead, the US supported its preferred South Vietnamese dictator.

The U.S. has played a similar role in blocking compromise solutions and international agreements to the Ukraine conflict.

Following Ukraine protests in February 2014, the European Union negotiated an agreement between President Yanukovich and the opposition to have early new elections. The attitude of lead US official Victoria Nuland was crystallized in her secretly recorded comment,  “F*** the EU!”  Despite the agreement, a violent bloody coup led by ultra-nationalist Ukrainians was “midwifed”.

The ultra-nationalist coup government immediately started implementing policies hostile to the Russian speaking citizens of Ukraine. The coup and the new policies provoked the conflicts and resistance which have led to the situation today. The coup and policies were abhorred by a majority of Ukrainians, especially in eastern Ukraine.  The Russian speaking Ukrainian citizens of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and re-unify with Russia.

The Minsk Accords of 2014 and 2015 were intended to resolve the conflict by granting some autonomy to the the Russian speaking sections in the eastern Donbass but keeping them within Ukraine.  Thanks to the admissions of two prominent former European leaders, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande, we know that the West and their Ukrainian government puppet never intended to implement the Minsk Agreement.

Like the 1954 Geneva Accords regarding Vietnam, the 2014 and 2015 Minsk Agreements on Ukraine were never implemented because Washington did not want a compromise.

When Ukraine President Zelensky had negotiations with Russians in Turkey at the end of March 2022, UK PM Boris Johnson hurried to Kyiv to dissuade Zelensky from continuing serious negotiations to end the war.

Similarly, the US is providing the big majority of  weapons, military supplies and financial aid to Ukraine just as they did to France and then the puppet government of South Vietnam. And similarly the US and allies do not want a resolution to the conflict which might in any way be seen as win for Russia.

Rationalization vs Reality of  Wars in Vietnam and Ukraine

In April 1965, U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) explained why he was escalating US involvement in Vietnam. With an Orwellian touch, he titled the speech “Peace without Conquest” as he announced the beginning of US air attacks on Vietnam.  He explained that

“We must fight if we are to live in a world where every country can shape its own destiny and only in such a world will our own freedom be secure… we have made a national pledge to help South Vietnam defend its independence and I intend to keep that promise. To dishonor that pledge, to abandon the small and brave nation to its enemies and the terror must follow would be an unforgivable wrong…We are also there to strengthen world order… To leave Vietnam to its fate would shake the confidence of all these people in the value of an American commitment and in the value of America’s words.”

Click Link to access video and audio of LBJ’s John Hopkins Speech

President Biden and administration leaders  sound similar to LBJ  in the early stage of the Vietnam War. In his remarks to Congress asking for additional funding for Ukraine, Biden said,

“We need this bill to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom…. The cost of this fight is not cheap, but caving to aggression is going to be more costly if we allow it to happen…Investing in Ukraine’s freedom and security is a small price to pay to punish Russian aggression, to lessen the risk of future conflicts.”

Both Russia and the US now acknowledge that the conflict in Ukraine is between Russia and NATO (led the US). Ukraine is a proxy for the US which promoted the 2014 coup and has been pumping weapons into Ukraine ever since. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has been explicit: “We want to see Russia weakened.” The Ukrainian Defense Chief says they are fighting “to fulfill NATO’s mission.”

These wars are unnecessary

Just as the US could have lived with Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh leadership without the war, the US could live with Ukraine being a neutral country and bridge between east and west, Russia and western Europe.

However, as ML King observed 54 years ago, that was not (and still is not)  US policy.

“The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit.” He went on to name many other countries which are victims of  US intervention and aggression. He said, “And if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves … marching …and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam…”

Incrementally Increasing Conflict toward Total War

In 1965, when President Johnson announced the beginning of US air attacks on Vietnam, the war had been going on for many years.  The US kept incrementally increasing its commitment – from political support to advisors and trainers and special operations. In spring 1965 “only” about 400 US soldiers had died in the conflict. The war was not yet  widely unpopular. Americans who protested against the Vietnam War were a small minority.

We may be at a similar or earlier point in the conflict with Russia via Ukraine. While many tens of BILLIONS of dollars has been committed to Ukraine, plus advisors, trainers and other support, the US military has not yet been openly and actively deployed.

The incremental buildup in Vietnam ultimately led to over 58,000 Americans and three million Vietnamese civilians and soldiers being killed.  US prestige and influence was severely damaged.

Martin Luther King Jr said in his 1967 speech [exactly two years after LBG hi,

“We have no honorable intentions in Vietnam …. The world demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people.”

If the incremental buildup toward war with Russia is not stopped, it will be immeasurably worse than Vietnam. Already we are seeing tremendous destruction with Ukrainians and Russians dying by the thousands.  As with Vietnam in 1965, this could be just the beginning.

The costs of war and militarism

Dr King described the negative impact of the Vietnam war at home. He said

“A few years ago there was a shining moment …. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor, both black and white, through the Poverty Program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the build-up in Vietnam and I watched this program broken and eviscerated … I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.”

Today, with nearly 60% of the federal discretionary budget going to the military, so called intelligence and nuclear weapon modernization, the situation is even more stark.  While US infrastructure corrodes, homelessness, personal debt, suicides and addictions increase. Instead of spending resources improving the lives of ordinary people, the government is pouring borrowed billions into another unnecessary war.

Western Media Distortions

Western media portrayed  the US and South Vietnam winning the war in South East Asia until the 1968 Tet offensive exposed the lies and reality. Similarly,  western media portrays Ukrainians winning the war midst overwhelming Ukrainian public support. In reality, Russia and the  secessionist areas control large areas and will advance in the near future. Ukrainian losses are already huge.

The idea that all Ukrainians love the West and hate Russia is false. As an indication of the  mixed sentiments, the country having received the MOST emigrants from Ukraine is Russia. While a small number continue from Russia to west European countries, the big majority stay in Russia with many awaiting the end of warfare.

Just as South Vietnamese puppet leaders were built up the US for political reasons, so is Ukrainian President Zelensky. His speeches are written by Washington insiders. Largely censored from the media, Zelensky has overseen the imprisonment, torture and killing of opponents. The largest opposition party has been banned.  Many Ukrainians oppose his policy and continuation of the war.

Ukrainians have become cannon fodder for the US geopolitical goals, just as the South Vietnamese were.

Will the US and allies continue to escalate the conflict in Ukraine, to “double down” on an intervention half way around the world with the goal of hurting Russia? Have we learned nothing from Vietnam and subsequent US/Western foreign policy disasters of the past 40 years?

ML King’s Hopes and Death

In his profound speech, Dr King said:

“We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values…When machines and computer, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered… A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death …..The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just… Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out in a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism and militarism.”

Exactly one year after delivering the speech at Riverside Church, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. 

The Vietnam war continued for another seven years until the Vietnamese finally defeated and expelled the US military and their puppets. The disaster of the Vietnam War will be small compared to the disaster which may befall us all if US policy of attacking Russia through Ukraine is not stopped.

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Rick Sterling is an independent journalist based in the SF Bay Area. He can contacted at rsterling1@protonmail.com. He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

Featured image: U.S. tanks use flamethrowers in a field during the Vietnam War in 1970. /CFP

The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Rick Sterling, Global Research, 2023


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Grandson of Charles de Gaulle, an Old CIA Nemesis, Condemns West’s Policy in Ukraine

https://www.globalresearch.ca/grandson-charles-de-gaulle-old-cia-nemesis-condemns-west-policy-ukraine/5804286

Says the U.S. and NATO triggered the conflict and are making Europeans suffer

By Jeremy Kuzmarov

Global Research, January 11, 2023

CovertAction Magazine

Region: EuropeRussia and FSUUSA

Theme: Intelligence

In-depth Report: UKRAINE REPORT

Pierre de Gaulle, a grandson of former French President Charles de Gaulle, has said the U.S. is making Europeans suffer by fueling the Ukraine conflict and waging a pre-planned economic war against Russia.

A corporate consultant and bank manager, Pierre told The Franco-Russian Dialogue Association on December 26:

“I revolt and protest this intellectual dishonesty in the Ukraine crisis because the triggers of the war are the Americans and NATO. The United States unfortunately continues the military escalation, making not only the Ukrainian population suffer, but the European population as well.”

Pierre continued:

“The scale and the number of sanctions show that all of this was organized a long time in advance. It is an economic war, from which the Americans are the beneficiaries. The Americans sell their gas to Europeans for a price four to seven times higher than they do in their own country.”

According to Pierre,

“public opinion in France is beginning to understand what the evil game of the Americans is today. By using lies, . . .the United States has managed to use the Ukrainian crisis to destabilize Europe. The Americans, as it were, cut off Europe from Russia, set the Europeans against the Russians. Why would they do that? Because Europe in alliance with Russia could be a strong bloc both politically and economically, culturally and socially…Ever since the Vietnam War and the economic crises that followed, Americans have always tried by force, cunning and other dishonest means to make up for the loss of their economic and political influence, although it is inevitable. In particular, Americans are trying to slow down the dollar’s loss of its status as the only…world exchange currency. And this policy continues.”

Target of the CIA

Charles de Gaulle was a hero of the French resistance against the Nazi occupation during World War II who went on to serve as French president from 1959 to 1969.

The CIA has declassified documents revealing that the Agency was involved in a plot in 1965 to kill de Gaulle, who had angered the Johnson administration by opposing the Vietnam War and throwing U.S. servicemen off French military bases.

De Gaulle had also pursued a progressive policy toward the Soviet Union, withdrawing French forces from NATO in 1966 and opening up negotiations with Soviet leaders, visiting Moscow numerous times and signing a trade agreement with the Soviets.

After a failed assassination attempt in 1961, right-wing military officers who hated de Gaulle for relinquishing French control over Algeria, approached the CIA and developed an assassination plot that involved infiltrating an agent wearing a poisoned ring into a group of old soldiers attending a reception at which de Gaulle would appear.

When de Gaulle gestured to shake his hand, the general would fall to the ground while the assassin strolled calmly off into the crowd.

Restoring Grandpa Charles’s Vision

In a speech on the national day of the Russian Federation in June at the Russian embassy in Paris, Pierre de Gaulle noted how Russia had been seen by his grandfather as an indispensable ally whose friendship would contribute to the stability of Europe.

“The General [his grandfather] even said ‘Napoleon’s disastrous decision to attack [Czar] Alexander I is the biggest mistake he ever made. Nothing forced him to do so. It was contrary to our interests, to our traditions, to our genius. It is from the war between Napoleon and the Russians that our decadence dates.’”

France’s greatest folly: Napoleon’s army retreating in the Russian snow. [Source: kanopy.com]

Emphasizing how the Russian and French people were linked together “by long years of friendship and by the blood shed against the Nazis,” Pierre stated that he had come here to “affirm once again, loud and clear, that it is in France’s interest to maintain good relations with Russia and to say that we must work together in order to help the union and security of our continent, as well as the balance, progress, and peace of the entire world.”

In Pierre’s view, the “systematic and blind policy of confiscation and discrimination directed against the entire Russian people” [reference to sanctions] was “scandalous.” French elites had betrayed his grandfather’s legacy by siding with the U.S. and NATO and the “reckless” and “condemnable policy of the Ukrainian government towards the Russian-speaking population of Donbas, [which involved] discrimination, plundering, embargoes and bombings.”

The West, according to Pierre, has “allowed Zelensky, his oligarchs and the neo-Nazi military groups to be trapped in a spiral of war,” with their “blindness having serious consequences for the Ukrainian people. But let’s make no mistake. What do the Americans want, if not to provoke a new East-West confrontation, whose only goal is to weaken and divide Europe in order to impose their directive, their economy, and their system.”

Pierre further noted that the Americans have “never accepted, nor the West with them, that after the difficult transition of 1991 and the reconstruction that followed, Russia would not fit into their unipolar world…nor that Russia should transform itself according to the Western model—in its own way. Because of this, and from the beginning, President Putin was perceived as a dictator, whereas he is a great leader for his country!”

The United States, Pierre continued, “has also never accepted the loss of the role of the dollar as the dominant currency in the settlement of international trade in the world.”

Pierre’s words are heretical to American ears and those of the French ruling elite; however, they present a wonderful and realistic vision that progressive movements should embrace.

Pierre ended his speech by noting that his grandfather loved Russia and “always supported and defended the imperative need, even in the most difficult moments of history, to build and preserve a strong and shared relationship with Russia. Allow me to quote General de Gaulle once again: ‘In France, we have never considered Russia an enemy. I am for the development of Franco-Russian friendship; and I have never sent and I will never send arms to people who would have fought against Soviet Russia.’”

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Note to readers: Please click the share buttons above. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to our Telegram Channel. Feel free to repost and share widely Global Research articles.

Jeremy Kuzmarov is Managing Editor of CovertAction Magazine. He is the author of four books on U.S. foreign policy, including Obama’s Unending Wars (Clarity Press, 2019) and The Russians Are Coming, Again, with John Marciano (Monthly Review Press, 2018). He can be reached at: jkuzmarov2@gmail.com.