When Vietnam went south, the intellectual climate at Harvard (where Bundy served as a dean) and The New York Times (which had initially backed the war) changed because Harvard and The New York Times had missions that transcended any particular perspective on American foreign policy. By contrast, hawkish nationalism is so intrinsic to the identity of places like Fox, the Standard, and AEI that abandoning it would threaten their reason for existence.
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When Democrats took America into Vietnam, protesters rioted in the streets at the party’s 1968 convention. Academics like McGeorge Bundy and Walt Rostow became such pariahs after serving in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations that they could not return to their old universities. Prominent pro-war columnists like Joseph Alsop became laughingstocks. Former Vietnam hawks like Zbigniew Brzezinski had to intellectually reinvent themselves to secure government jobs when the Democrats returned to power under Jimmy Carter. The Iraq-era GOP, by contrast, has constructed an intellectual cocoon so hermetically sealed that it has remained uncontaminated by the greatest foreign-policy disaster of the past 30 years.
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