The Random Ruminations and Observations of a Curmudgeon

26 August 2005

Domino Delivers

Atrios is discussing the domino theory of communism, which had play yesterday by Kevin Drum.  As a living remnant of the Viet Nam era, the theory was alive and well throughout the times.  Atrios notes its use to justify intervention in Central America.  

Proper use of the domino theory is important.  The implicit presumption during Viet Nam was that it was a military issue, not a philosophical issue.  If Viet Nam fell, Cambodia was next because of the military pressure from its neighbor.  Obviously, communism is less useful as a philosophical domino, since philosophies can jump borders (cf. Cuba).  Yet, in fact, communism was far more a philosophical domino because (look it up) it was the structure most useful to revolutionaries.  Find a personality cult revolution and you often find a communist.  

Lenin, Mao Tse Tung, Ho Chi Minh, Castro.  

Admittedly the Soviet Union coddled revolutionaries in its quest for friends and allies.  

The most interesting aspect of the domino theory is its use today..implicitly.  The Bush administration had hoped for the verification of a domino theory of democracy in the Middle East enforced, in Iraq, by arms then spreading (due to its intrinsically good qualities) to the rest of the area.  Along with many of their other hopes, it seems to have been dashed.  Perhaps we should study the domino theory of fundamentalism.  

The domino theory is far from dead.  Its name is simply retired.