A troubling pattern has developed over the decades in which foreign policy hawks smear their opponents and thereby seek to foreclose discussion of questionable U.S. policy initiatives.
The late Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his followers used that tactic to perfection during the Cold War. They branded anyone who suggested that Washington should consider adopting a less confrontational policy toward the Soviet Union or the People’s Republic of China as communist sympathizers or even outright traitors. Journalists and educators found themselves on blacklists, and dissenting officials found themselves in the ranks of the unemployed.
It was not until the late 1960s, when street protests erupted over the Vietnam War, that the atmosphere of intimidation began to weaken. When Richard Nixon’s administration pursued détente with Moscow and began to establish a normal relationship with China in the early 1970s, Americans could once again challenge U.S. policies without automatically being labeled as traitors. Läs artikel