Category Archives: Indochina

The Domino Theory

Dalrymple explains that according to the theory,

all the countries of Southeast Asia (and beyond) would fall to communism if one of them did so. It was therefore vital to prevent any of them from falling.

He asks:

Who can say what would have happened in Southeast Asia if the Americans had acted differently, according to some other geopolitical theory? It is not even possible definitively to decide whether the policy followed was a success or a failure. Even at a cost of hundreds of thousands of lives and untold destruction, to say nothing of the economic cost to America itself, it did not prevent the spread of communism in Indochina.

On the other hand, communism

spread no further, nor did it last indefinitely.

Whether its durance was longer or shorter because of the war

will remain forever a matter of speculation.

Dalrymple notes that the Domino Theory seemed to have held in Eastern Europe, though in reverse.

Brezhnev enunciated a doctrine of his own, namely that a country, once communist, could not return to capitalism.

This, Dalrymple points out, was

the Marxist equivalent of the Islamic doctrine that once Islamic, a country could not revert, which is one of the reasons why Spain, or al-Andalus, looms so large in the minds of fanatics.

But

it was obvious that once an Eastern European country had seceded from communism, the holdouts — Rumania and Albania — could not long survive.

Postcards from Laos

Dalrymple wishes to be sent to Luang Prabang to write, under a palm tree, about Henry Vaughan, whose Silex Scintillans came out in 1650

Dalrymple wishes to be sent, in luxurious conditions, to Luang Prabang to write, possibly under a palm tree, about the Welsh poet Henry Vaughan, whose Silex Scintillans came out in 1650

The Dalrympian Shangri-La

In the 13th century, writes Dalrymple,

when the world climate was much warmer than it is now, there were vineyards in the far north of England, a precedent that must give some hope of gainful employment to the chronically unemployed there.

He points out that

working oneself up into a fury of indignation is one of the great consolations of human existence, which is otherwise apt to be so tedious and unsatisfactory.

Hence the appeal of rioting to European spoilt-brat radicals who love the planet and its biosphere. But Dalrymple cannot work himself up into a state of righteous indignation over wastage and extravagance

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.52.10because I have in my time done a fair bit of travelling at other people’s expense to no very obvious benefit to anyone except myself. These days I don’t go anywhere only because I’m not asked, or not often. If someone tomorrow were to offer me a free trip in luxurious conditions to Laos (a country I have long wanted to visit, my Shangri-La) to discuss, say, the works of Henry Vaughan, the 17th-century religious poet of mid-Wales, I should of course at once accept, even if by doing so I added my mite to the downfall of the planet and the destruction of the coral reefs in the Pacific.

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.44.24 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.45.32 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.47.18 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.48.17 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.49.30 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.50.27 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.54.52Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.48.17 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.45.56 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.55.51 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.50.00 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.46.53 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.42.55 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.43.15 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.53.55 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.54.13 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.53.09 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.43.35 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.54.30 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.55.38 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.41.11 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.45.13 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.56.14 Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.56.51