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International Diplomatic Relations

Today, in contrast, I see an era in which the U.S. will face a complex and evolving world, with relatively more limited resources, and probably less domestic consensus as well. In this environment, it is our diplomats and foreignservice officers, not the Strategic Air Command, who will be America's true first line of defense in the world. It is this consideration which has led me deeper and deeper into an interest in and study of international relations, and which leads me to wish to make my personal contribution in that area.

Winston Churchill called for Britain, facing its darkest hour in World War II, to display "in victory, magnanimity; in defeat, defiance." Fortunately for us all, Britain and its allies won that war, and the U.S., in taking over Britain's leadership role afterwards, showed great magniminity.

Yet often it is defeat, not victory, that most tests a nation or a person. The deepest tragedy of World War I may be that it led a defeated Germany to embrace Hitler. Working in a Grand Army of the Republic (Civil War) museum, as I did one summer, I found many poignant reminders that good, brave men fought on the other side, in a cause that was both defeated and stained by its association with slavery.

I have been particularly moved to reflect on keeping dignity and moral honesty when the going gets unbearably rough by reading Neil Sheehan's book, A Bright Shining Lie, an account of an American expert on Vietnam, John Paul Vann. As an advisor during the early years of American involvement in Vietnam, Vann argued forcefully against the option of military escalation. With his great, groundlevel experience of Vietnam, Vann became convinced not only that a conventional military intervention could not succeed, but that it was inherently corrupting  dragging Americans in Vietnam into a sort of ne


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International Diplomatic Relations. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:40, September 20, 2017, from
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