From Corbyn’s rise to Brexit and the collapse of trust in Westminster, this is Britain’s Vietnam: a conflict without end
“You can tell a true war story by the way it never seems to end,” wrote Tim O’Brien in his novel about Vietnam, The Things They Carried. “Not then, not ever. In a true war story, if there’s a moral at all, it’s like the thread that makes the cloth. You can’t tease it out. You can’t extract the meaning without unravelling the deeper meaning.”
For all the ways in which US politics remain unpredictable, the presence of the Vietnam war as an episodic inflection point remains constant. Only last week, after Donald Trump declared a ban on some transgender people serving in the military, it was pointed out that he avoided serving in Vietnam thanks to five deferments, the last for “bone spurs in his heels”. (When asked which heel a few years ago he couldn’t remember.) More than 40 years after the fall of Saigon, it continues to influence how Americans view politics at home.