Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Wise Men

In late March, Johnson summoned his Senior Advisory Group on Vietnam, a blue-chip Establishment group. These were the great names of the Cold War: McCloy, Acheson, Arthur Dean, Mac Bundy, Douglass Dillon, Robert Murphy. And over a period of two days they quietly let him know that the Establishment -- yes, Wall Street -- had turned on the war; it was hurting us more than it was helping us, it had all gotten out of hand, and it was time to bring it back to proportion. It was hurting the economy, dividing the country, turning the youth against the country's best traditions. Great universities, their universities, were being destroyed. It was time to turn it around, to restore some balance....The switch in this group, which was saying in effect that the war had to be de-escalated, had a profound effect on the President....He had in late March given particularly belligerent speeches, but now he was caught and he knew it. The Wise Men, as they were called, were telling him what the polls and the newspapers had told him; that the country had turned on the war.

David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest, pp. 653-654.


The possibility of a similar intervention today? Unlikely, to say the least. For all the protest marches and public opinion polls in the news recently, today's discontent is worlds away from the disruptive social virulence of forty years ago. And consumerism is stronger than ever. Also, during the Johnson administration the cost of the war in Vietnam became a major concern of policymakers who, in contrast to their successors today, maintained at least a veneer of responsibility. The inflation that would rage in the 1970's and into the early 1980's was an issue as early as 1966 (and just as Carter and Reagan were confronted by economic problems rooted in Johnson's spending on Vietnam, the worst of the economic fallout from Bush/Iraq won't be felt for several years). So far we've seen no compunction about the cost of Iraq from today's policymakers, and the most common words used (by Administration mouthpieces or financial industry apologists, usually) to describe the economy are "goldilocks" and "nirvana." Right now, too many influential interests -- Wall Street, oil companies, large corporations and their stock-selling insiders --are making too much money either from the war itself or, more importantly, from the concurrent monetary policy the war demands. See Exxon's latest earnings statement or a chart of the AMEX Broker/Dealer index if in doubt.

If that changes, the Wise Men will assemble and plan another intervention. Until then, it's not happening.

22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post .

Keep the Wise Men happy and the agenda can move forward. Record Wall Street bonuses outweigh the auto industry’s problems. Let the fat cats sell their paper certificates into regular worker’s 401k accounts and keep the borders open to let the cheap labor in. Push the war costs ‘off budget’ and announce how the deficit is going down because nobody is watching the national debt.

2/04/2007 1:24 PM  
Anonymous rapier said...

This week Bush visited the NYSE and was treated like a rock star and demigod. The major Wall Street firms distributed $36 billion in bonuses this year. Rest assured there will be no message from the money wing of the establishment about Iraq or the middle east. They could care less.

The failure of government is in fact the goal and aim of the money men, the pig men as we call them, and that is going splendidly. The bigger the disaster in Iraq and Iran the better it is for the financial world.

Also remember this. Buy death.

2/04/2007 6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.vivelecanada.ca/article.php/20070202223429322

2/04/2007 7:50 PM  
Blogger maeldon said...

For the wise it is just business.....
For us it is life or death.

would that the two should be linked

2/04/2007 10:30 PM  
Anonymous George said...

Rest assured there will be no message from the money wing of the establishment about Iraq or the middle east. They could care less.

Not quite.. Some of them WANT the US to invade Iran. Wes Clark got slapped around for mentioning this.

2/04/2007 11:09 PM  
Blogger Rueful said...

If that changes, the Wise Men will assemble and plan another intervention. Until then, it's not happening.

You're right: the economic tipping point has to be recalibrated for the type of economic structure that the US has today versus in the 1960s. Nonetheless, a tipping point still exists.

Also, it may be a false assumption that the Wise Men will be US or Western corporatists. They may well be representatives of Chinese and Southeast Asian central banks.

2/04/2007 11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=10469

2/05/2007 2:24 AM  
Anonymous rapier said...

The ISG were the Wise Men this time and they were mamby pamby about de escalation and now have half heartedly gone with the augmentation.

By 67 or 68 when those wise men met it was obvious that the domino theory was silly and our strategic interests in SE asia were minimal.

The Middle East is different. The Cheney's of the world think we have to control the oil states to get the oil till it runs out in 60 or 70 years. The threat of a cutoff is something they cannot and won't tolerate. Then too is the terror threat, augmented by all that oil money. No wonder Condi and Rumi talked about long term and generational time periods.

At the end of the day nobody in our political or economic elites will ever be willing to abondon our military foothold in the region. Suppose we withdrew and then the next significant terror attack happend here. From a political standpoint it will always pay to be on the ground over there to punnish somebody, anybody. It must be said that the lack of another attack here has been a political disaster for Bush.

It's obvious the insertion of our military into the region was Bush's job one and 911 provided the means politically.

One can aruge that the military isn't the solution to the oil/terror problems but it can never be proven. One can argue the military makes the threats worth, and it can't be proven. No, the best course politically is to attack.

2/05/2007 6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What rueful said. Rapier's argument illustrates the cynicism of the US/UK money elite but fails to account for present financial foundations and obligations. My hope is the bond holders aren't going to be so gung ho on watching their investments burned up by 'off the books' inflation and unsustainable military adventurism.

2/05/2007 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, but Johnson didn't have a Cheney, Bush (and his family) are very tightly interwoven with the the money elites (and the WSJ editorial board seems to love Bush), and Bush has a a tendancy to equate changing one's mind with weakness. So the chances of the "wise men" saying something is little and the chance of him taking them seriously if they did offer adivice is slim to none.

2/05/2007 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Davebo said...

Well, to be fair there are several reasons why Wall Street might not turn against the war.

A heck of a lotta folks on Wall Street are doing well investing in companies who profit greatly from continuing the war.

Much more so than in Vietnam.

2/05/2007 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

How sad that our Union, the greatest living product of the Age of Enlightenment, has fallen so far from grace. An economy based on war is the model of Tyranny against which our Fathers rebelled and asserted Independence. We have become that which we most abhor: a soulless, cynical technocracy presided over by the criminally insane.

The Constitution contains remedies for this sorry state. The sooner these remedies are employed the better.

2/05/2007 8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but there was slavery even under the constitution for quite some time...maybe how written laws/codes are applied by people is more significant...

http://reformed-theology.org/ice/books/conspiracy/html/6.htm

2/05/2007 10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember RFK.

2/06/2007 3:39 PM  
Anonymous BuyLevitra said...

Thanks for article!

8/17/2007 3:19 PM  
Anonymous Phentermine said...

Thanks for interesting article.

8/18/2007 1:45 AM  
Anonymous Viagra said...

Glad to read articles like this. Thanks to author!

8/28/2007 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Wayne Nichols said...

Very interesting article, I have long sought. It is in front of me. I agree with you!

9/06/2007 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonimous said...

Excellent website. Good work. Very useful. I will bookmark!

9/09/2007 2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonimous said...

Hello! Interesting article, thanks to author!

9/11/2007 8:44 AM  
Anonymous philippine resort said...

companies marketing mineral makeups and also get the best bargains in mineral makeup you can imagine,
find aout how to consolidate your students loans or just how to lower your actual rates.,
looking for breast enlargements? in Rochester,
homeopathy for eczema learn about it.,
Allergies, information about lipitor,
save big with great bargains in mineral makeup,

change edition interviewing motivational people preparing second
,

interviewing motivational people preparing second time
,

interviewing people motivational preparing for a second time
,

black mold exposure
,

black mold exposure symptoms
,

black mold symptoms of exposure
,

free job interview questions
,

free job interview answers
,

interview answers to get a job
,

lookfor hair styles for fine thin hair
,

search hair styles for fine thin hair
,

hair styles for fine thin hair
,

beach resort in the philippines
,

great beach resort in the philippines
,

luxury beach resort in the philippines
,
iron garden gates, here,
iron garden gates,
wrought iron garden gates
, here
,
wrought iron garden gates
,
You: The Owner's Manual: An Insider's Guide to the Body That Will Make You Healthier and Younger
,
eat eating mindless more than think we we why
,


texturizer,
texturizers here,
black hair texturizer,
find aout how care curly hair,
find about how to care curly hair,
care curly hair,
lipitor rash,
lipitor reactions,
new house ventura california,
the house new houston tx,
new house washington dc,
new house pa philadelphia,
san antonio tx house new,
house new pa philadelphia,
new house washington dc,
new house ventura california,
the house new houston tx,
house new san antonio tx,
the house new houston tx, that you are looking for,
new house ventura california, you need to buy,
new house washington dc,
house new pa philadelphia,
new house san antonio tx,

hair surgery transplant
,

air filter allergy
,

refurbished dell laptop computers
,

hair surgery transplant
,

air filter allergy
,

refurbished dell laptop computers
,

hair surgery transplant
,

air filter allergy
,

refurbished dell laptop computers
,

chocolate esophagus heartburn study
,

chocolate esophagus heartburn study
be informed,

digestion healing healthy heartburn natural preventing way
,

digestion healing healthy heartburn natural preventing way
,
sew skirts, 16simple styles you can make!,
sew what skirts 16 simple styles you,
rebates and discounts on sunsetter awnings,
sunsetter awnings discounts and rebates,
discount on sunsetter awnings


truck and bus tires 12r 22.5, get the best price,
tires truck and bus 12r 22.5 best price,
tires truck bus tires12r 22.5 best price,
plush car seat strap covers,
car seat strap covers,plush,
car seat strap, plush covers,
oscoda voip phone systems, the best!,
oscoda voip the phone system,
oscoda voip phone systems,
exterior iron gates,
oriental wrought iron gates,
powder coated iron garden fencing,

2/19/2008 5:28 AM  
Anonymous iphone said...

black mold exposure,
black mold symptoms of exposure,

wrought iron garden gates,
your nest iron garden gates, here,

hair styles for fine thin hair,
search hair styles for fine thin hair,

night vision binoculars,
buy, night vision binoculars,

lipitor reactions,
lipitor reactions,


luxury beach resort in the philippines,
beach resort in the philippines,

homeopathy for baby eczema.,
homeopathy for baby eczema.,

save big with great mineral makeup bargains,
companies marketing mineral makeups,

prodam iphone praha,
Apple prodam iphone praha,

iphone clone cect manual,
manual for iphone clone cect,

fero 52 binoculars night vision,
fero 52 night vision,

best night vision binoculars,
buy, best night vision binoculars,

computer programs to make photo albums,
computer programs, make photo albums,

3/20/2008 4:33 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home