Woodrow Wilson gets very mixed reviews as a US president. He was elected on the slogan “He kept Us Out of War” (WWI) and then got us promptly into war. He presided over the establishment of the Federal Reserve, which is basically a bunch of private bankers running the US economy. Gee, what could go wrong?
But Wilson fans like his Fourteen Points, his position for the the Versailles conference at war’s end.
“What we demand in this war, therefore, is nothing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world as against force and selfish aggression.”
Sounds good so far.
A skinny young man from a foreign-occupied nation who had been living in France particularly liked Point Five: “A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight …” The young man was also a big fan of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, that part about all men are born equal in rights and that part about a people having the right to self-determination.
If only he could talk to Wilson! He got dressed up and went to where they were meeting. He asked for an appointment. He was thrown out.
Who did this skinny Asian kid think he was? Well, who do you think he was?
He was Ho Chi Minh.
The Vietnam War cost millions of lives, billions of dollars and split the USA in pieces. It might have been avoided at many points in time.
Maybe even on that day when a skinny kid got dressed up to go plead his case to the man who wrote the Fourteen Points.