Over the past three weeks, PLP has taken the class through a route of historical events. Not just any historical event/topic, only ones which were societal turning points worldwide; Ones too significant to forget. From 9/11 to the Cuban Missile Crisis, we touched on influential events that always end up revealing quite a bit about society, human nature, and power.
To give some context, the specific events we touched on were the New Deal, the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK Assassination, the Introduction to Birth Control, Watergate, the Fall of Saigon, Iran Hostage Crisis, 9/11, and the Creation of the iPhone. We learned, discussed, and studied these turning points looking for answers to our questions. Questions like how did these events and the decisions and actions in them significantly transform people’s lives? How did they narrow or eliminate choices for people? To find answers to these and form new questions, we had to research in-between and surrounding topics that stemmed from the original topic. One google search wasn’t ever sufficient—multiple sources, deep thinking, questions, and writing down our perceptions and concepts in our Zettlekasten were vital.
So, what? Why am I telling you this? Well, I’ve had a train of thought since day 1 of this quarter. It may seem ridiculous, or maybe even ignorant, but that doesn’t stop me from asking it.
Why doesn’t America mind its own business?
Bold, I know. Let me explain.
This question began during the Cuban Missile Crisis class lecture. This terrifying six-day portion of the Cold War all stemmed from the Bay of Pigs. The Bay of Pigs was essentially caused by America feeling vulnerable due to Cuba’s new Prime Minister Fidel Castro’s anti-Americanism. This lead to the Cuban Missile Crisis, which caused an almost nuclear war. It’s a long story and too little time to explain, but the concept I got out of it all is what matters. Why did America care so much? Yes, there are actual valid reasons why America cared. For example…
1) Castros goal of removing American power from Cuba
2) Cuba’s close relationship with America’s enemy, the Soviet Union
3) Simply the fear America felt about Cuba, a country so close to them becoming communist and it possibly spreading
Even with solid explanations of why America did what they did, I still find myself asking, was it worth all of this? Was America’s fear of Castro, Cuba, and communism really worth an almost nuclear war? In my opinion, no. Why did they feel the need to budge their heads into something they could have just ignored? Yes, there are negatives to ignoring something like the whole Castro/Cuba situation, but in this situation I think America should have minded their own business.
You may disagree with me, but I have more examples to hopefully convince you with.
This second topic came from our lecture on the Fall of Saigon, the case being The Vietnam/American War. Quick overview of this War—America felt once again vulnerable to a country using their power in a way they disagree with (communism). The U.S. believed that if one state fell into communism, the rest would follow. A sort of domino theory perspective. While yes, this theory was correct to a point (neighbouring countries of Vietnam becoming communist), it never affected the U.S. There was no global catastrophe like LBJ (President of America at the time) predicted. America’s alliances never became communists, and the world moved on. The only catastrophe was the 2 million American and Vietnamese lives lost in this war.
See what I’m getting at here? The question of, was this war really necessary? Did America really need to get involved in one countries decision of how to handle power and nation control? Was this fear of communism worth this all? In my opinion, no. Also, don’t even get me started on the political aspect of this war and how that influenced LBJ’s decisions. America is so dramatic. I mean, every country is, but in these historical topics, I notice it most in America.
I can provide so many more connections and evidence to support this question of “why doesn’t America mind its own business,” including topics connected to 9/11, the Iran Hostage Crisis, Birth Control, and more! However, this post can only share so much, and I feel the points I made can hopefully represent the point I was trying to get across.
To end it off, the last point I want to make is that no, America has not learned from this all and started minding their own business. There are, to this day, still troops in Afghanistan fighting for something completely unrelated to America.
Side note: Why I told you so much info initially that may have seemed irrelevant is because it is the basis of a lot of my future posts on here. Every week or so, I will be documenting some connection, interest, or knowledge I’ve gained through the week—most relating to those big topics I mentioned. The future posts will be shorter and easier to glide through; this one is just an intro on this quarter + discussing my question. See you all next week!