The Vietnam war and its legacy

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The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam. By Max Boot. Liveright; 768 pages; $35. Head of Zeus; £30.

BECAUSE the Vietnam war was the first that the United States unequivocally lost, American treatments of it are often couched as might-have-beens. Liberals look for moments when America might have avoided the war; conservatives search for ways that it could have been won. The latter temptation grew after the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, when America again became mired in guerrilla conflicts. In the late 2000s, neo-conservative authors began arguing that America could have triumphed in Vietnam (and, by extension, could win in Afghanistan and Iraq) by committing to so-called “counter-insurgency” strategies, which involve political nation-building rather than relying solely on firepower. Practitioners of counter-insurgency (including H.R. McMaster, who later became Donald Trump’s national-security adviser) rose to the top of…Continue reading

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The growth of Marvel’s universe through “Black Panther” is welcome

COSMOLOGISTS, Eastern and Western, ancient and modern, have on occasion mooted the possibility of an ekpyrotic universe, one which expands, then contracts into fire, then expands again. Like most big cosmic ideas, this one has almost certainly been purloined, ornamented and abused more than once in the vast works of …

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By abandoning the Olympics, the NHL has done Russia a favour

EVER since 1998, when North America’s National Hockey League (NHL) began putting its season on hold to allow its players to participate in the Olympics, men’s ice hockey has been a signature sport at the winter games. Elite squads from Canada, the home country of nearly half of the players …

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The Prada Foundation will transform Milan’s contemporary art offering

COMPARED with other major European cities, Milan’s contemporary art offering is slight. The Gallerie d’Arte Moderna, housed in a venerable palazzo, contains some important late-19th-century work, but little of note from the 20th century and nothing from the 21st. The Museo del Novecento, despite its name, is meant to consider …