Derik Schneider Online

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Mike Gardner: Ronald Reagan vs Robert F. Kennedy in 1967: The Vietnam War

Ronald W. Reagan & Robert F. Kennedy
Not sure why a sitting United States Governor who had no foreign policy experience to this point, except for a brief time in World War II, would be debating a U.S. Senator. Who had clear foreign policy experience as a U.S. Senator and a member of the U.S .National Security Council for four years. Why they would be debating each other over foreign policy, especially our involvement in the Vietnam War. Other than they were both expected presidential candidates for 1968. Senator Robert Kennedy, was one of the strongest opponents against the Vietnam War in Congress. And Governor Reagan, was a proponent of the war.

In this debate you are talking about two very intelligent people with clear and different positions in politics including foreign policy. One representing the right as well as it can be and the other representing the what I call the Old-Left. The FDR coalition that included economic Progressives and liberal internationalist cold warriors. Which is exactly what Franklin Roosevelt was. And someone who represented progressivism in the most responsible and mainstream form. That you can be progressive, or social democratic even on economic policy, but you need to be tough when it comes to national security. Ao you can defend freedom at home and abroad, but that you also have to be smart as well.

And of course with Ron Reagan, you are talking about a Conservative Libertarian, or Classical Conservative. Who of course applied those beliefs to foreign policy as well and that America should defend freedom abroad. Where we can and make a positive difference. This debate here represents exactly what the United States would’ve done differently in the Vietnam War. In Bobby Kennedy’s case, we wouldn’t have gotten in at all, or certainly wouldn’t have been involved as much as we were and would’ve pulled out sooner. In Ron Reagan’s case, we would’ve taken the Barry Goldwater approach and gone in full-throttle. And tried to win the war much sooner and try to save lives that way instead of settling for a tie in the early 1970s.