May 6, 2016
Les Gelb, a former Brookings fellow and co-author of the 1979 book The Irony of Vietnam: The System Worked –which is being released this month as a Brookings Press Classic – discusses the influence the Vietnam War has had on how the U.S handles wars and the need for American pragmatism in foreign policy decision-making today. “What made this country great was Americans using their pragmatism, solving problems, and realizing there were certain problems they couldn’t solve--at least, not solve them right away,” Gelb says.
In the podcast, Gelb also explains the “domino theory” that guided U.S. policymakers during the Vietnam conflict. “Vietnam was the essential domino and if it fell to communism, if it fell to the Soviet Union and China, in effect, [then] all of Asia would fall right behind it.”