Looking back from that perspective to today, uh, what do you think Vietnam would have been, what's been the fallout?
Well, I never was under any illusions about what would happen in Vietnam it in fact the communists did come to power there. It never seemed to me that the Viet Cong were agrarian reformers or that the political and economic system in North Vietnam was something which, uh, would be in the interests of South Vietnam. Uh, and so I can't say that I've been, uh, very surprised by what's happened in Vietnam since.
The real question for the United States was whether we could justify the loss of blood and treasure, the sacrifice of 50,000 American lives and the expenditure of uh, hundreds of billions of dollars, uh to prevent a communist victory in that part of the world when there, in fact, were no vital American interests at stake.
The argument, of course, was made at the time that if Vietnam fell all of the other dominoes in Southeast Asia
would fall as well but I think that history has demonstrated quite clearly that that has not been the case. Indonesia
, uh, the biggest domino of them all is today far more staunchly anti-communist uh, than it was, uh, when we first began to hear talk about the domino theory in the first place. And the, uh, ASEAN group of nations, uh, has emerged as a viable politically and economically, uh, anti communist association of nations in Southeast Asia
In tact, I think the American position in Southeast Asia
in many respects is stronger today than it's been uh, in any time in the last decade. And while I'm i... what has happened in Vietnam is a tremendous tragedy, uh, for the people of Vietnam first and foremost and also for the people of Cambodia
who are in effect under Vietnamese occupation.
I can't say looking back on that experience that, uh, we should have put in more men and more money in order to prevent it because I don't think it was an objective that we could have achieved given the limitations on what we were prepared to do while at the same time, uh, the price we were paying was far too high to justify raising the stakes even further.