Domino Theory

Domino Theory


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The domino theory was a Cold War policy that suggested a communist government in one nation would quickly lead to communist takeovers in neighboring states, each falling like a perfectly aligned row of dominos. In Southeast Asia, the U.S. government used the now-discredited domino theory to justify its involvement in the Vietnam War and its support for a non-communist dictator in South Vietnam. In fact, the American failure to prevent a communist victory in Vietnam had much less of an impact than had been assumed by proponents of the domino theory. With the exception of Laos and Cambodia, communism failed to spread throughout Southeast Asia.

North and South Vietnam

In September 1945, the Vietnamese nationalist leader Ho Chi Minh proclaimed Vietnam’s independence from France, beginning a war that pitted Ho’s communist-led Viet Minh regime in Hanoi (North Vietnam) against a French-backed regime in Saigon (South Vietnam).

Under President Harry Truman, the U.S. government provided covert military and financial aid to the French; the rationale was that a communist victory in Indochina would precipitate the spread of communism throughout Southeast Asia. Using this same logic, Truman would also give aid to Greece and Turkey during the late 1940s to help contain communism in Europe and the Middle East.

What Is the Domino Theory?

By 1950, makers of U.S. foreign policy had firmly embraced the idea that the fall of Indochina to communism would lead rapidly to the collapse of other nations in Southeast Asia. The National Security Council included the theory in a 1952 report on Indochina, and in April 1954, during the decisive battle between Viet Minh and French forces at Dien Bien Phu, President Dwight D. Eisenhower articulated it as the “falling domino” principle.

In Eisenhower’s view, the loss of Vietnam to communist control would lead to similar communist victories in neighboring countries in Southeast Asia (including Laos, Cambodia and Thailand) and elsewhere (India, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and even Australia and New Zealand). “The possible consequences of the loss [of Indochina],” Eisenhower said, “are just incalculable to the free world.”

After Eisenhower’s speech, the phrase “domino theory” began to be used as a shorthand expression of the strategic importance of South Vietnam to the United States, as well as the need to contain the spread of communism throughout the world.

U.S. Involvement in Vietnam Deepens

After the Geneva Conference ended the French-Viet Minh war and split Vietnam along the latitude known as the 17th parallel, the United States spearheaded the organization of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), a loose alliance of nations committed to taking action against “security threats” in the region.

John F. Kennedy, Eisenhower’s successor in the White House, would increase the commitment of U.S. resources in support of the Ngo Dinh Diem regime in South Vietnam and of non-communist forces fighting a civil war in Laos in 1961-62. In the fall of 1963, after serious domestic opposition to Diem arose, Kennedy backed away from support of Diem himself but publicly reaffirmed belief in the domino theory and the importance of containing communism in Southeast Asia.

Three weeks after Diem was murdered in a military coup in early November 1963, Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas; his successor Lyndon B. Johnson would continue to use the domino theory to justify the escalation of the U.S. military presence in Vietnam from a few thousand soldiers to more than 500,000 over the next five years.

Nations Are Not Dominoes

The domino theory is now largely discredited, having failed to take into account the character of the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong struggle in the Vietnam War.

By assuming Ho Chi Minh was a pawn of the communist giants Russia and China, American policymakers failed to see that the goal of Ho and his supporters was Vietnamese independence, not the spread of communism.

In the end, even though the American effort to block a communist takeover failed, and North Vietnamese forces marched into Saigon in 1975, communism did not spread throughout the rest of Southeast Asia. With the exception of Laos and Cambodia, the nations of the region remained out of communist control.


A Review Of The Domino Theory History Essay

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Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of AUEssays.com.

Domino Theory, a complex and interesting theory, is based on a simple rule of physics. That rule is inertia. Inertia is the tendency of matter to remain at rest or to continue in a fixed direction unless affected by some outside force. An example for Domino Theory would be making a line of dominoes and then pushing the first domino over, as each domino falls another will follow until, finally, every domino has fallen.

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As the process continues the dominoes will gain momentum. This analogy shows what could happen to the political make-up of any specific geographical area if any of the dominant political thought patterns are spread. The dominant political thought pattern that originally led to this theory was Communism. That is, that if one country in a region practices one particular type of government it could influence neighboring countries to adopt this type of government. Also, even though the process behind Domino Theory has technically been occurring since the dawn of humankind, it wasn’t classified by a specific title until 1954 by the then president Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower used this theory to explain what he thought to be an eminent spread of Communism throughout Southeast-Asia. He stated that you have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is it, with certainty, will fall over very quickly. He believed, as many others did at that time, that if one country in Southeast-Asia fell to Communism then the surrounding countries would fall one by one. He was deeply disturbed by the way that Communism took hold of Eastern Europe after WWII and by the way that Asia was taken over by Japan so easily. Through this fear he saw the potential for a repeat of history in Southeast-Asia during the late 50’s to the 70’s. A certain situation that the Domino Theory could be applied to is the rise of power of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the 1980’s. The Soviet Union during this period of time gained power by forcefully taking land, or entire countries, out from under other governments. This situation not only gave a backing for the Domino Theory, but also showed a socialist inclination towards world domination. The signs of this inclination can be found in many places including Nations and Men, an International Politics and Relations book, which says, “In the abundant communist writings of that period very little is found on the subject of future communist foreign policies beyond the hope that a unified communist commonwealth could emerge from inter-capitalist world wars” (Mazour 132). For that very reason Communism is a very important concept in understanding the Domino Theory.

There was also a revolution and that got the Tsar’s out of power and Lenin in power just like Hitler in Germany. That was the beginning of Communism in the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was a communist threat to the rest of the world for the next 70 years. The event for which I previously stated that the Domino Theory was named for, Communism in Southeast Asia, took place in the 1950’s-1970’s. In both cases China was supporting the aggressor. The cases were North Korea attacking South Korea, and North Vietnam attacking South Vietnam. In both cases America intervened with military action. We were not the only country though that saw this action as very dangerous, Australia did too. In September of 1954, Minister of Defense, Sir Philip McBride, said, It is a matter of vital importance to maintain the gap between Australia and the present high-water mark of the southward flow of Communism. Should this gap narrow, the nature and scale of attack on Australia would become intensified as distance shortened. Finally, should the tide of Communism lap on our shores, we would face an intolerable defense burden and a scale of attack which would be beyond our capacity to repel alone. There is, therefore, every reason strategically and economically why Australia should co-operate to keep aggressive Communism within its present boundaries, and to stem its onward flow. In April of the same year, Prime Minister of Australia, Robert Menzies, said, If communist forces again come on the march and a great war ensue, the farther north the lines of defense are drawn, the better for those communities of Viet Nam, and Laos, and Cambodia, and Thailand, and Burma, and Malaya, and the Philippines, and Indonesia and all the rest of us who wish to retain control of our own future and govern ourselves in our own way. Many people said and still say today that the conflict in Vietnam was an internal conflict or a civil war, and that the United States had no right to be there. I believe the United States had every reason and right in the world to be there. There are two major reasons for this, Communism and the Domino Theory. The North Vietnamese, or the Viet Cong (Vietnamese Communists), under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, were communist. They are supplied with artillery and ammunition through the Soviet-Chinese Communist bloc. Captured material shows that much it was fabricated by the Skoda Munitions Works in Czechoslovakia and transported across Russia and Siberia and then sent through China into Vietnam. Military supplies for the Communist armies have been pouring into Vietnam at a steadily increasing rate. Military and technical guidance is supplied by an estimated 2,000 Communist Chinese. They function with the forces of Ho Chi Minh in key positions-in staff sections of the higher command, at the division level and in specialized units. As it says in that quote, the two largest communist countries ever were funding and teaching the Viet Cong. Had we not intervened and the communists succeeded, an action could have occurred leading to a fully Communist Asia. It would have happened very easily and very quickly just like dominoes falling over. When we finally left, thousands and millions of people died as a result of not helping the Viet Cong. Those in power within the United States were afraid that the Communist theories could provide some resistance to their attempts at branching out the Democracy that is so often forced on the countries that policed by them.

This Domino Theory is essentially the entire reason that the United States participated in the Vietnam War. So, by extension, this Domino Theory is the reason that The Things They Carried was written and thus provides a background into the generally unwanted involvement in this war. O’Brien showed much of this discomfort in the chapter “On the Rainy River”. During the entire length of this chapter he fought with himself over the concept of going to war. This was generally something experienced by every person that went to Vietnam as many did not see the reason for going. Domino Theory provides a background for the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and shows why the participants may have been against it.

“Domino Theory (international Relations) — Britannica Online Encyclopedia.” Encyclopedia – Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 17 Feb. 2011.

Mazour, Anatole. Men and Nations: A World History. 2nd ed. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. 1971.

Winkler, Allan. The Cold War: a history in documents. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000

Domino Theory, a complex and interesting theory, is based on a simple rule of physics. That rule is inertia. Inertia is the tendency of matter to remain at rest or to continue in a fixed direction unless affected by some outside force. An example for Domino Theory would be making a line of dominoes and then pushing the first domino over, as each domino falls another will follow until, finally, every domino has fallen.

As the process continues the dominoes will gain momentum. This analogy shows what could happen to the political make-up of any specific geographical area if any of the dominant political thought patterns are spread. The dominant political thought pattern that originally led to this theory was Communism. That is, that if one country in a region practices one particular type of government it could influence neighboring countries to adopt this type of government. Also, even though the process behind Domino Theory has technically been occurring since the dawn of humankind, it wasn’t classified by a specific title until 1954 by the then president Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower used this theory to explain what he thought to be an eminent spread of Communism throughout Southeast-Asia. He stated that you have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is it, with certainty, will fall over very quickly. He believed, as many others did at that time, that if one country in Southeast-Asia fell to Communism then the surrounding countries would fall one by one. He was deeply disturbed by the way that Communism took hold of Eastern Europe after WWII and by the way that Asia was taken over by Japan so easily. Through this fear he saw the potential for a repeat of history in Southeast-Asia during the late 50’s to the 70’s. A certain situation that the Domino Theory could be applied to is the rise of power of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the 1980’s. The Soviet Union during this period of time gained power by forcefully taking land, or entire countries, out from under other governments. This situation not only gave a backing for the Domino Theory, but also showed a socialist inclination towards world domination. The signs of this inclination can be found in many places including Nations and Men, an International Politics and Relations book, which says, “In the abundant communist writings of that period very little is found on the subject of future communist foreign policies beyond the hope that a unified communist commonwealth could emerge from inter-capitalist world wars” (Mazour 132). For that very reason Communism is a very important concept in understanding the Domino Theory.

There was also a revolution and that got the Tsar’s out of power and Lenin in power just like Hitler in Germany. That was the beginning of Communism in the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was a communist threat to the rest of the world for the next 70 years. The event for which I previously stated that the Domino Theory was named for, Communism in Southeast Asia, took place in the 1950’s-1970’s. In both cases China was supporting the aggressor. The cases were North Korea attacking South Korea, and North Vietnam attacking South Vietnam. In both cases America intervened with military action. We were not the only country though that saw this action as very dangerous, Australia did too. In September of 1954, Minister of Defense, Sir Philip McBride, said, It is a matter of vital importance to maintain the gap between Australia and the present high-water mark of the southward flow of Communism. Should this gap narrow, the nature and scale of attack on Australia would become intensified as distance shortened. Finally, should the tide of Communism lap on our shores, we would face an intolerable defense burden and a scale of attack which would be beyond our capacity to repel alone. There is, therefore, every reason strategically and economically why Australia should co-operate to keep aggressive Communism within its present boundaries, and to stem its onward flow. In April of the same year, Prime Minister of Australia, Robert Menzies, said, If communist forces again come on the march and a great war ensue, the farther north the lines of defense are drawn, the better for those communities of Viet Nam, and Laos, and Cambodia, and Thailand, and Burma, and Malaya, and the Philippines, and Indonesia and all the rest of us who wish to retain control of our own future and govern ourselves in our own way. Many people said and still say today that the conflict in Vietnam was an internal conflict or a civil war, and that the United States had no right to be there. I believe the United States had every reason and right in the world to be there. There are two major reasons for this, Communism and the Domino Theory. The North Vietnamese, or the Viet Cong (Vietnamese Communists), under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, were communist. They are supplied with artillery and ammunition through the Soviet-Chinese Communist bloc. Captured material shows that much it was fabricated by the Skoda Munitions Works in Czechoslovakia and transported across Russia and Siberia and then sent through China into Vietnam. Military supplies for the Communist armies have been pouring into Vietnam at a steadily increasing rate. Military and technical guidance is supplied by an estimated 2,000 Communist Chinese. They function with the forces of Ho Chi Minh in key positions-in staff sections of the higher command, at the division level and in specialized units. As it says in that quote, the two largest communist countries ever were funding and teaching the Viet Cong. Had we not intervened and the communists succeeded, an action could have occurred leading to a fully Communist Asia. It would have happened very easily and very quickly just like dominoes falling over. When we finally left, thousands and millions of people died as a result of not helping the Viet Cong. Those in power within the United States were afraid that the Communist theories could provide some resistance to their attempts at branching out the Democracy that is so often forced on the countries that policed by them.

This Domino Theory is essentially the entire reason that the United States participated in the Vietnam War. So, by extension, this Domino Theory is the reason that The Things They Carried was written and thus provides a background into the generally unwanted involvement in this war. O’Brien showed much of this discomfort in the chapter “On the Rainy River”. During the entire length of this chapter he fought with himself over the concept of going to war. This was generally something experienced by every person that went to Vietnam as many did not see the reason for going. Domino Theory provides a background for the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and shows why the participants may have been against it.

“Domino Theory (international Relations) — Britannica Online Encyclopedia.” Encyclopedia – Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 17 Feb. 2011.

Mazour, Anatole. Men and Nations: A World History. 2nd ed. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. 1971.

Winkler, Allan. The Cold War: a history in documents. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000

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Contents

European-style dominoes are traditionally made of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony, with contrasting black or white pips (inlaid or painted). Some sets feature the top half thickness in MOP, ivory, or bone, with the lower half in ebony. Alternatively, domino sets have been made from many different natural materials: stone (e.g., marble, granite or soapstone) other woods (e.g., ash, oak, redwood, and cedar) metals (e.g., brass or pewter) ceramic clay, or even frosted glass or crystal. These sets have a more novel look, and the often heavier weight makes them feel more substantial also, such materials and the resulting products are usually much more expensive than polymer materials.

Modern commercial domino sets are usually made of synthetic materials, such as ABS or polystyrene plastics, or Bakelite and other phenolic resins many sets approximate the look and feel of ivory while others use colored or even translucent plastics to achieve a more contemporary look. Modern sets also commonly use a different color for the dots of each different end value (one-spots might have black pips while two-spots might be green, three red, etc.) to facilitate finding matching ends. Occasionally, one may find a domino set made of card stock like that for playing cards. Such sets are lightweight, compact, and inexpensive, and like cards are more susceptible to minor disturbances such as a sudden breeze. Sometimes, the tiles have a metal pin (called a spinner or pivot) in the middle. [6]

The traditional domino set contains one unique piece for each possible combination of two ends with zero to six spots, and is known as a double-six set because the highest-value piece has six pips on each end (the "double six"). The spots from one to six are generally arranged as they are on six-sided dice, but because blank ends having no spots are used, seven faces are possible, allowing 28 unique pieces in a double-six set.

However, this is a relatively small number especially when playing with more than four people, so many domino sets are "extended" by introducing ends with greater numbers of spots, which increases the number of unique combinations of ends and thus of pieces. Each progressively larger set increases the maximum number of pips on an end by three, so the common extended sets are double-nine (55 tiles), double-12 (91 tiles), double-15 (136 tiles), and double-18 (190 tiles), which is the maximum in practice. Larger sets such as double-21 (253 tiles) could theoretically exist, but they seem to be extremely rare if nonexistent, as that would be far more than is normally necessary for most domino games even with eight players. As the set becomes larger, identifying the number of pips on each domino becomes more difficult, so some large domino sets use more readable Arabic numerals instead of pips. [7]

The oldest confirmed written mention of dominoes in China comes from the Former Events in Wulin (i.e., the capital Hangzhou) written by the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) author Zhou Mi (1232–1298), who listed pupai (gambling plaques or tiles), as well as dice as items sold by peddlers during the reign of Emperor Xiaozong of Song (r. 1162–1189). [1] Andrew Lo asserts that Zhou Mi meant dominoes when referring to pupai, since the Ming author Lu Rong (1436–1494) explicitly defined pupai as dominoes (in regard to a story of a suitor who won a maiden's hand by drawing out four winning pupai from a set). [1]

The earliest known manual written about dominoes is the 《宣和牌譜》 (Manual of the Xuanhe Period) written by Qu You (1341–1437), [1] but some Chinese scholars believe this manual is a forgery from a later time. [8]

In the Encyclopedia of a Myriad of Treasures, Zhang Pu (1602–1641) described the game of laying out dominoes as pupai, although the character for pu had changed, yet retained the same pronunciation. [1] Traditional Chinese domino games include Tien Gow, Pai Gow, Che Deng, and others. The 32-piece Chinese domino set, made to represent each possible face of two thrown dice and thus have no blank faces, differs from the 28-piece domino set found in the West during the mid 18th century. [9] Chinese dominoes with blank faces were known during the 17th century. [10]

Many different domino sets have been used for centuries in various parts of the world to play a variety of domino games. Each domino originally represented one of the 21 results of throwing two six-sided dice (2d6). One half of each domino is set with the pips from one die and the other half contains the pips from the second die. Chinese sets also introduce duplicates of some throws and divide the tiles into two suits: military and civil. [11] Chinese dominoes are also longer than typical European ones.

The early 18th century saw the "game of domino" surfacing in Europe, appearing first in Italy, before rapidly spreading to Austria, southern Germany and France. From France, the game was introduced to England by the late 1700s, [a] purportedly brought in French prisoners-of-war. [14] It appears in American literature by the 1860s and variants soon spring up. In 1889, it was described as having spread worldwide, "but nowhere is it more popular than in the cafés of France and Belgium. [15] From the outset, the European game was different from the Chinese one. European domino sets contain neither the military-civilian suit distinctions of Chinese dominoes nor the duplicates that went with them. Moreover, according to Dummett, in the Chinese games it is only the identity of the tile that matters there is no concept of matching. [16] Instead, the basic set of 28 unique tiles contains seven additional pieces, six of them representing the values that result from throwing a single die with the other half of the tile left blank, and the seventh domino representing the blank-blank (0–0) combination. Subsequently 45-piece (double eight) sets appeared in Austria and, in recent times, 55-piece (double nine) and 91-piece (double twelve) sets have been produced.

The earliest game rules in Europe describe a simple block game for two or four players. Later French rules add the variant of Domino à la Pêche ("Fishing Domino"), an early draw game as well as a three-hand game with a pool. [17] The first scoring game to be recorded was Fives, All Fives or Cribbage Dominoes which appeared in 1863 and borrowed the features of scoring for combinations as well as the cribbage board from the card game of Cribbage. In 1864, The American Hoyle describes three new variants: Muggins, simply Fives with the addition of another Cribbage feature, the 'muggins rule' Bergen and Rounce alongside the Block Game and Draw Game. [18] All are still played today alongside games that have sprung up in the last 60 years such as Five Up, Mexican Train and Chicken Foot, the last two taking advantage of the larger domino sets available. [19]

Dominoes (also known as bones, cards, men, pieces or tiles), are normally twice as long as they are wide, which makes it easier to re-stack pieces after use. A domino usually features a line in the middle to divide it visually into two squares, also called ends. The value of either side is the number of spots or pips. In the most common variant (double-six), the values range from six pips down to none or blank. [20] The sum of the two values, i.e. the total number of pips, may be referred to as the rank or weight of a tile a tile may be described as "heavier" than a "lighter" one that has fewer (or no) pips.

Tiles are generally named after their two values. For instance, the following are descriptions of a tile bearing the values two and five:

A tile that has the same pips-value on each end is called a double, and is typically referred to as double-zero, double-one, and so on. [20] Conversely, a tile bearing different values is called a single. [21]

Every tile which features a given number is a member of the suit of that number. A single tile is a member of two suits: for example, 0-3 belongs both to the suit of threes and the suit of blanks, or 0 suit.

In some versions the doubles can be treated as an additional suit of doubles. In these versions, the double-six belongs both to the suit of sixes and the suit of doubles. However, the dominant approach is that each double belongs to only one suit. [20]

The most common domino sets commercially available are double six (with 28 tiles) and double nine (with 55 tiles). Larger sets exist and are popular for games involving several players or for players looking for long domino games.

The number of tiles in a double-n set obeys the following formula: [22]

The total number of pips in a double-n set is found by:

e.g. a 6-6 set has (7 x 8) / 2 = 56/2 = 28 tiles, the average number of pips per tile is 6 (range is from 0 to 12), giving a total pip count of 6 x 28 = 168

The most popular type of play are layout games, which fall into two main categories, blocking games and scoring games.

  • Most domino games are blocking games, i.e. the objective is to empty one's hand while blocking the opponent's. In the end, a score may be determined by counting the pips in the losing players' hands.
  • In scoring games, the scoring is different and happens mostly during game play, making it the principal objective. [21]
  • A popular version played predominantly in Singapore, referenced as Hector's Rules, allows for playing double tiles on opponents' hands and awards a bonus play of an additional tile immediately after playing a double tile.
  • If an opponent lays all their tiles on their turn, the game is a tie.

Blocking game Edit

The most basic domino variant is for two players and requires a double-six set. The 28 tiles are shuffled face down and form the stock or boneyard. Each player draws seven tiles from the stock. Once the players begin drawing tiles, they are typically placed on-edge in front of the players, so each player can see their own tiles, but none can see the value of other players' tiles. Every player can thus see how many tiles remain in the opponent's hands at all times during gameplay.

One player begins by downing (playing the first tile) one of their tiles. This tile starts the line of play, in which values of adjacent pairs of tile ends must match. The players alternately extend the line of play with one tile at one of its two ends if a player is unable to place a valid tile, they must continue drawing tiles from the stock until they are able to place a tile. The game ends when one player wins by playing their last tile, or when the game is blocked because neither player can play. If that occurs, whoever caused the block receives all of the remaining player points not counting their own. [20]

Scoring game Edit

Players accrue points during game play for certain configurations, moves, or emptying one's hand. Most scoring games use variations of the draw game. If a player does not call "domino" before the tile is laid on the table, and another player says domino after the tile is laid, the first player must pick up an extra domino. [ citation needed ]

Draw game Edit

In a draw game (blocking or scoring), players are additionally allowed to draw as many tiles as desired from the stock before playing a tile, and they are not allowed to pass before the stock is (nearly) empty. [20] The score of a game is the number of pips in the losing player's hand plus the number of pips in the stock. Most rules prescribe that two tiles need to remain in the stock. [21] The draw game is often referred to as simply "dominoes". [23]

Adaptations of both games can accommodate more than two players, who may play individually or in teams. [20]

Line of play Edit

The line of play is the configuration of played tiles on the table. It starts with a single tile and typically grows in two opposite directions when players add matching tiles. In practice, players often play tiles at right angles when the line of play gets too close to the edge of the table.

The rules for the line of play often differ from one variant to another. In many rules, the doubles serve as spinners, i.e., they can be played on all four sides, causing the line of play to branch. Sometimes, the first tile is required to be a double, which serves as the only spinner. [21] In some games such as Chicken Foot, all sides of a spinner must be occupied before anybody is allowed to play elsewhere. Matador has unusual rules for matching. Bendomino uses curved tiles, so one side of the line of play (or both) may be blocked for geometrical reasons.

In Mexican Train and other train games, the game starts with a spinner from which various trains branch off. Most trains are owned by a player and in most situations players are allowed to extend only their own train.

Scoring Edit

In blocking games, scoring happens at the end of the game. After a player has emptied their hand, thereby winning the game for the team, the score consists of the total pip count of the losing team's hands. In some rules, the pip count of the remaining stock is added. If a game is blocked because no player can move, the winner is often determined by adding the pips in players' hands. [21]

In scoring games, each individual can potentially add to the score. For example, in Bergen, players score two points whenever they cause a configuration in which both open ends have the same value and three points if additionally one open end is formed by a double. [24] [25] In Muggins, players score by ensuring the total pip count of the open ends is a multiple of a certain number. In variants of Muggins, the line of play may branch due to spinners.

In British public houses and social clubs, a scoring version of "5s-and-3s" is used. The game is normally played in pairs (two against two) and is played as a series of "ends". In each "end", the objective is for players to attach a domino from their hand to one end of those already played so that the sum of the end tiles is divisible by five or three. One point is scored for each time five or three can be divided into the sum of the two tiles, i.e. four at one end and five at the other makes nine, which is divisible by three three times, resulting in three points. Double five at one end and five at the other makes 15, which is divisible by three five times (five points) and divisible by five three times (three points) for a total of eight points.

An "end" stops when one of the players is out, i.e., has played all of their tiles. In the event no player is able to empty their hand, then the player with the lowest domino left in hand is deemed to be out and scores one point. A game consists of any number of ends with points scored in the ends accumulating towards a total. The game ends when one of the pair's total score exceeds a set number of points. A running total score is often kept on a cribbage board. 5s-and-3s is played in a number of competitive leagues in the British Isles.

Card games using domino sets Edit

Apart from the usual blocking and scoring games, also domino games of a very different character are played, such as solitaire or trick-taking games. Most of these are adaptations of card games and were once popular in certain areas to circumvent religious proscriptions against playing cards. [26] A very simple example is a Concentration variant played with a double-six set two tiles are considered to match if their total pip count is 12.

A popular domino game in Texas is 42. The game is similar to the card game spades. It is played with four players paired into teams. Each player draws seven tiles, and the tiles are played into tricks. Each trick counts as one point, and any domino with a multiple of five dots counts toward the total of the hand. These 35 points of "five count" and seven tricks equals 42 points, hence the name.

Dominoes is played at a professional level, similar to poker. Numerous organisations and clubs of amateur domino players exist around the world. Some organizations organize international competitions.

Besides playing games, another use of domino tiles is the domino show, which involves standing them on end in long lines so that when the first tile is toppled, it topples the second, which topples the third, etc., resulting in all of the tiles falling. By analogy, the phenomenon of small events causing similar events leading to eventual catastrophe is called the domino effect.

Arrangements of millions of tiles have been made that have taken many minutes, even hours to fall. For large and elaborate arrangements, special blockages (also known as firebreaks) are employed at regular distances to prevent a premature toppling from undoing more than a section of the tiles while still being able to be removed without damage.

The phenomenon also has some theoretical relevance (amplifier, digital signal, information processing), [27] and this amounts to the theoretical possibility of building domino computers. [28] Dominoes are also commonly used as components in Rube Goldberg machines.

The Netherlands has hosted an annual domino-toppling exhibition called Domino Day since 1986. The event held on 18 November 2005 knocked over 4 million dominoes by a team from Weijers Domino Productions. On Domino Day 2008 (14 November 2008), the Weijers Domino Productions team attempted to set 10 records: [29]

  1. Longest domino spiral (200 m)
  2. Highest domino climb (12 m)
  3. Smallest domino tile (7 mm)
  4. Largest domino tile (4.8 m)
  5. Longest domino wall (16 m)
  6. Largest domino structure (25,000 tiles)
  7. Fastest topple of 30 metres of domino tiles (4.21 sec, time by Churandy Martina: 3.81 sec)
  8. Largest number of domino tiles resting on a single domino (1002 tiles) for more than 1 hour
  9. Largest rectangular level domino field (1 million tiles)
  10. A new record of 4,345,027 tiles [clarification needed]

This record attempt was held in the WTC Expo hall in Leeuwarden. The artist who toppled the first stone was the Finnish acrobat Salima Peippo.

At one time, Pressman Toys manufactured a product called Domino Rally that contained tiles and mechanical devices for setting up toppling exhibits.

In Berlin on 9 November 2009, giant domino tiles were toppled in a 20th-anniversary commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Former Polish president and Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa set the toppling in motion.

A 2-1 tile is used in the logo of pizza retailer Domino's Pizza.

Since April 2008, [30] the character encoding standard Unicode includes characters that represent the double-six domino tiles. While a complete domino set has only 28 tiles, the Unicode set has "reversed" versions of the 21 tiles with different numbers on each end, a "back" image, and everything duplicated as horizontal and vertical orientations, for a total of 100 glyphs. Few fonts are known to support these glyphs. [31]


How the Domino Effect Has Shaped History

When younger generations hear the word ɽominoes,' they usually associate it with the famous board game, while others–especially food lovers–might connect it with a delicious pizza . For those who are more politically aware, the word probably brings thoughts of the Cold War and the threat of the spread of communism. In addition, most economists today love to use the word when referring to the debt crisis in the Eurozone.

The first time we meet the word historically, according to the Probert Encyclopaedia , it is connected to religious purposes:

"A domino is a kind of hood worn by the canons of a cathedral church. Later the name was given to a mourning-veil for women and later still to half-masks worn by women when travelling or at a masquerade, for disguise. A domino was a masquerade-dress worn for disguise by ladies and gentlemen, and consisting of an ample cloak or mantle with wide sleeves and a hood removable at pleasure. It was usually made of black silk, but sometimes of other colours and materials."

How exactly the widely-known board game that we meet in Italy during the 18th century connects to any of the above definitions, we don't know, but it's speculated that Italian missionaries who traveled to China probably saw a similar type of game and brought it back to Italy. Once in Italy, it mixed with local elements and the combination gave us what we know as dominoes today.

The domino effect, which usually takes place in that specific game, is of particular interest. It is a chain reaction (in linear order) caused when one small piece falls. This effect was the inspiration for former president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, when he gave his famous "domino theory" speech on April 7, 1954,

Finally, you have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the "falling domino" principle. You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So, you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences.

Most historians agree that the specific theory was firstly proposed by another American president, Harry S. Truman . Almost immediately after the end of WWII, the Cold War began. The idea that the conversion of a free, noncommunist nation into a communist state would trigger a chain reaction in neighboring countries became the official U.S. foreign policy at the time. For this reason, Truman sent military forces and aid to Greece and Turkey in order to prevent the expansion of communism into these countries from the increasingly communist Balkan states. The Domino Theory, or Effect as it is also known, was created in the late 1940s, but became widely known only a few years later with Eisenhower's speech in 1954.

It would reach its peak in the early 1960s when Eisenhower–who originally claimed that he would do almost anything to avoid turning his chair and country over to Kennedy–managed to convince him (Kennedy) about the disastrous effects that the domino theory could have for the U.S. and the western world as a whole. It was he who advised Kennedy that the "fall" of Laos to the communists-hence of Vietnam-would cause a chain reaction and the fall of the whole of Southeast Asia, something that would cause a serious security threat for the western world.

The specific theory, however, was proven in the aftermath of the Vietnam War to be incorrect as the alteration of Vietnam into a communist state did not cause a chain reaction or allow the communists to "conquer" the whole of Southeast Asia. While in the game, the fall of a single domino may cause a chain reaction, in reality, that political theory had failed miserably.

Despite the lessons learned from Vietnam, in the early 1980s, the domino theory was used again to justify the Reagan administration's interventions in Central America and the Caribbean. This time, people around the world were more politically aware and suspicious and openly challenged the American government's decisions by implying that the government was using the domino theory to hide other political and financial interests.

For many years after the Reagan administration, the use of the domino theory was restricted to the game—at least in the western world. However, it was used again during the Eurozone crisis in 2009. This time, it was used by the world's biggest banks and the governments of the world's most economically powerful nations. This crisis was preceded by the U.S. and European banking system predicament, which mutated into the debt storm that brought citizens of weaker Eurozone economies, such as Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, to the brink of bankruptcy.

During these crises, the governments of all the involved states tried to solve the problem by using memorandums and propping up failed entities, but recession after recession occurred across the globe, and unemployment and poverty rates exploded. The governments tried to justify the political economic policies by pointing out the high-risk of a chain reaction from one country's economy to another- a new domino theory, which could cause a global, systemic perfect storm of economic collapse.

Whether or not this is correct and whether the policies that have resulted are good or bad no doubt are topics that will have many books written on them in the coming years, and even after decades the full ramifications of the policies will likely not yet be fully known. Of course, the overarching idea here is to eventually fix the flawed system after applying the Band-Aid to stop the supposed Domino Effect. But even if there really would be a Domino Effect in this case and the policies ultimately work in the short term, humans tend to be reactionary. As the bleeding slows from the Band-Aid, we tend to get comfortable and forget about putting real effort into actually fixing what really caused the last downturn. Thus, stock crashes, oil crises, and other seemingly cyclical major economic catastrophes continue to happen over and over again, often for the exact same reasons as the times before.

Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.


More Comments:

Philip B. Plowe - 5/9/2007

"In foreign policy over the past century the Democrats have always been wrong, and the Republicans right."

It seems unlikely that a Republican president would have managed America's forces much differently before or during World War II.

And I'm sure that there are other examples, but one that immediately comes to mind is trading arms in exchange for hostages. Maybe it's just me, but that doesn't seem like very smart foreign policy.

Lawrence Brooks Hughes - 4/17/2007

The previous poster forgot the Vietnamese "boat people," of whom there were about 1.5 million, many of whom became American citizens and will be happy to tell you about it. Add to them the 2 million Cambodians clubbed to death, and you can make a humanitarian case that the U.S. should have stayed on--or at least should have not have cut off support for the South Vietnamese. How do we know Singapore would not have fallen to the communists if we had not drawn the line in Indo-China? We don't. The Asian economic "Tigers" do not include Vietnam, by the way. That's an economic backwater compared to Taiwan, South Korea or Singapore.
..It is a mistake to mix Eisenhower's name with our debacle in Vietnam, too. Eisenhower cleaned up the mess Truman left in Korea. It was Kennedy and Johnson who sent the U.S. troops to Vietnam, after Eisenhower declined to. Nixon merely inherited the bad situation created by Kennedy and LBJ and tried to extricate us with honor, but was sabotaged by the Democratic controlled Congress. In foreign policy over the past century the Democrats have always been wrong, and the Republicans right.

Joseph Smith - 4/16/2007

"Dominoes are back. The old, scuffed political theory of one domino falling and knocking down others turned up recently in President Bush's call for support from Congress for a surge in U.S. troops in Iraq."

And that is how the article started.


Yet another lovely article supporting our commander-in-chief, I thought. I certainly knew what this guy was out to prove. Yet another more-than-likely-futile attempt to convince me that everything Bush does is evil, that the Iraq War is evil, that America is evil, always was and always will be, and that we must surrender to the terrorists and retreat from Iraq…like… yesterday or something.

But I attempted to avoid the example of so many of my fiery liberal friends and read with an open mind.

First off, what is the domino theory? The phrase “domino theory” was coined by President Eisenhower. Describing the situation in the Vietnam area, he said, “You have a row of dominoes set up. You knock over the first one and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. . . you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences.” Ok, so technically he never said, “DOMINO THEORY.” But he thought up the general idea.

Eisenhower supposedly thought this whole idea up in order to justify his invasion of Indochina. Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon also used the domino effect to rationalize the escalation of the Vietnam War. President Johnson said, “We have chosen to fight a limited war… in an attempt to prevent a larger war - a war almost certain to follow, I believe, if the Communists succeed in overrunning and taking over South Vietnam by aggression and by force.”

The author then goes on to show that this is exactly what President Bush is doing. When Bush said that, “If American forces were to step back from Baghdad before it is more secure, a contagion of violence could spill out across the entire country. In time, this violence could engulf the region. For the safety of the American people, we cannot allow this to happen,” he was essentially, the article claims, invoking the Domino Theory to convince people that it is vital to stay and finish the job we started.

The whole crux of the author’s argument is this: “The domino theory, however, contains inherent flaws. It conflates present or past events with projection into the future. More symbolic than analytical, it predicts that outcomes will be worse unless new actions are taken. This reinforces an argument for sustained or escalated military involvement.”

He brings up a random irrelevant point about how President Eisenhower said that if the first domino falls, the last will “certainly” fall, and at the same time said that it was a “possible” sequence of events. Then he shows how President Bush did the same thing by saying that the “contagion of violence could spill out,” while at the same time calling the war “decisive.”

Now to me, this shows that neither Eisenhower nor Bush was particularly sure of the reliability of the Domino Theory, or at least they, as presidents, were not willing to say something for absolute certain. HOWEVER. It does not, in any way, have anything to do with the effectiveness of the Domino Theory.

But that’s ok. We can just ignore that and move on to the author’s assertion that the Domino Theory failed in Vietnam. Sure, says Nichols, we took some beatings. “To be sure, America's departure from South Vietnam was horrific. U.S. allies there suffered terribly. So did the United States as a whole. Global prestige plummeted. A chastened America became less likely to engage in hot wars. Cambodia and Laos turned communist.”

Let me add to this that North Vietnam immediately reinvaded South Vietnam after the US left and instituted a Communist government there. This resulted in making the 58,209 Americans, 5,000 Japanese, 512 Australians, and 37 New Zealanders die for absolutely no reason. Then there are the 166,890 people who were wounded for absolutely no reason. And THEN there are the 5,635,300 Vietnamese causalities, all because America left without completing the job.

But that didn’t have much to do with the domino effect. So lets try this.

In addition to the aforementioned affects…

* North Vietnam invaded what is now Cambodia and killed as many as 2 million in the Kmer Rouge Genocide.
* Then the Vietnamese began to repress their Chinese citizens, forcing thousands to flee the country, and resulting in the Third Indochina War.


Despite all this, many still say that the Domino Effect did not occur. As the author states, “Nonetheless, the domino theory failed by the standard of its own predictions. Communism never took hold in Indonesia, Thailand, or more importantly, in any of the other large countries in the region, most notably, India. There was no cascade effect triggered by the U.S. departure from South Vietnam. The United States continued as an economic and military power. And now, America and Vietnam are trading partners, which President Bush should know as he visited that nation last year. Southeast Asia is a vibrant engine of global commerce and the region has closer ties to the United States now than at any time in the past.”

Why did Thailand and India not fall to communism? In fact, a very convincing argument can be made that they didn’t turn communist because of the war. The war bought enough time for these less developed countries to build up their economy and their government.

We can look at it from a different angle. Imagine that in World War II, America suddenly decides, just after D-Day, that the war is simply to costly, that too many people have died. After all, it's Europe! We have a huge ocean between us! And anyway this war is pointless. So then we set up a timetable and pull out of Europe.

What we are saying here is that, sure the rest of Europe would fall, but.

a) that is ok (“The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq is likely to have horrendous consequences on the ground… Yet when seen in a longer historical view, such an event might not be nearly as tragic as predicted.)

b) there would be no other consequences after that. Hitler will NOT take over the rest of the world. He will not proceed to conquer the rest of Asia after repelling the Soviet Union. He will NOT eventually take over the rest of the world either.

Obviously, not only is the Domino Theory plausible, it seems like common sense. Not all cases are as extreme as the World War II. But if we pull our troops out of Iraq now, there is absolutely nothing keeping a “contagion of violence” from spilling out into the region.

William J. Stepp - 4/9/2007

"Cambodia and Laos turned communist", as you note now they along with Vietnam are turning capitalist.

Bush should indeed put the dominoes
back in the box, and get back into his sandbox.


The United States plans an invasion of Japanese-occupied Korea in 1948 following the victory in Europe but before it is able to, the Soviet Union invades the area and backs a guerrilla group of Communists called the Jucheists. This event essentially sparks the Cold War between the USA and the Soviet Union. Following this, newly Communist China invades Japanese-occupied Vietnam to assist its allies in defeating Imperial Japan. This halts the US invasion of Vietnam and the Vietminh are able to take control of the entire country, leading to the "Domino Theory" that one country becoming communist leads to the surrounding countries to becoming communist to be proven correct, with Japan's fall to Communism occurring in 1950. In the 1970s, a group of Bengali communists known as the Tiger Force rise to power following a revolution that unites India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan into a Marxist-Maoist superstate.

In 1989, the Soviets are able to fight off Iranian-backed Mujahideen and dissolve the country of Afghanistan into the Union, but the Union eventually crumbles in 1995, a few years after the inevitable collapse of the Berlin Wall following further US involvement in Europe's affairs which caused decline in popularity of the Soviet government. The US neglects Guam in this period as it no longer becomes useful to fight a losing battle against Communists in Asia, and so it to falls to a Communist dictatorship.


World War II, Race, and the Southeast Asian Origins of the Domino Theory

Wen-Qing Ngoei deciphers how Japan’s invasion of Southeast Asia and Euro-American attitudes about race shaped Eisenhower’s domino theory.

Above all else, Japan’s invasion of Southeast Asia and Euro-American attitudes about race shaped Eisenhower’s domino theory

On April 7, 1954, US President Dwight Eisenhower used the image of “falling dominoes” to answer a reporter’s question about the “strategic importance of Indochina to the free world.”

Implying that Indochina stood at the head of a “row of dominoes,” Eisenhower explained that should communists “knock over the first one,” the last would “go over very quickly.” The following month, after the Vietnamese communists defeated French forces at Dien Bien Phu, Eisenhower revisited his “theory of dominoes” at another journalist’s request, stating that the “free world” must not “write off” Indochina but instead “build that row of dominoes so that they can stand the fall of one.”

Whether US leaders’ uncritical belief in the domino theory led to America’s ill-fated war in Vietnam, or whether Washington used the theory merely to justify the expansion of US influence in Southeast Asia, scholars tend to agree that US decision-makers imposed the theory’s platitudes upon the region in willful ignorance of the unique internal dynamics of each Southeast Asian country.

Perhaps this explains why most studies of the domino logic have located its origins far from the very region to which Eisenhower first applied the analogy. One scholar has argued that the domino theory arose from President Woodrow Wilson’s determination to shape America’s global influence and its credibility in world opinion. Some see traces of the theory in the West’s appeasement of Hitler in 1938, which presumably emboldened the Nazi’s expansionist tendencies. Still others insist that the theory arose as US analysts watched the Soviet Union encroach upon Eastern Europe, Iran, Greece, and Turkey after 1945.

But why not look for the domino theory’s origins in Southeast Asia, in the allies’ war against Japan?

In effect, Southeast Asia’s capitulation to Japan pre-plotted the southward path of Eisenhower’s falling dominoes. Between 1940 and 1942, Japan co-opted the regimes of Thailand and Vichy-ruled Indochina, and then drove the remaining western powers from their colonies, one by one.

Beaten back by Japanese forces, Britain retreated rapidly from Malaya. When British officials surrendered Singapore in February 1942, Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared the loss of this “impregnable fortress” island the “darkest moment of the war.” Like dominoes, Indonesia and the Philippines went over to Japan very quickly. By mid-1942, Japan had strung the entire region together in interconnected insecurity. The formative domino logic arose from the colonial order’s stunning and rapid collapse.

Thereafter, the western allies invariably perceived the Cold War for Southeast Asia through the prism of Japan’s World War II victories. Well into the early 1950s, Britain’s defense policy envisioned an external aggressor (this time, communist-led China) toppling Vietnam and Thailand, then Malaya and Singapore in succession. British officials seeking US aid wanted their American ally to see “the Southeast Asian picture correctly,” and learned to their delight that the Americans held similar views. All through 1950, US fact-finding missions that President Harry Truman dispatched to Southeast Asia also concluded that China’s “enemy land forces” must reprise Japan’s “overland invasion of Malaya” like in the “last war.”

When US officials from these missions visited UK Commissioner-General for Southeast Asia Malcolm MacDonald in Malaya and Singapore, he encouraged them to see Indochina as the “highway to the rest of South East Asia.” If Indochina fell to the Chinese and the Vietnamese communists, MacDonald explained, Thailand “wouldn’t resist at all,” laying bare the rest of the region for conquest.

US records show that American officials needed no convincing. Their reports to Washington underscore that they, too, expected any Chinese “movement southward” to “practically annihilate” French forces in northern Indochina and precipitate the second coming of what Churchill had dubbed the “darkest moment of the war.”

Crucially, locating the origins of the domino logic within Southeast Asian history also illuminates the racial character of the theory that scholars have overlooked. Indeed, London and Washington feared that the ten million ethnic Chinese who lived in Southeast Asia would readily serve Beijing’s hegemonic ambitions and emulate the Japanese campaign. Western leaders had long suspected that Southeast Asia’s Chinese remained “racially, culturally and politically…bound to the mother country.”

Anglo-American anxieties intensified as Beijing began cultivating the Chinese of Indonesia, giving rhetorical (but little material) support to the guerrillas of the mostly Chinese Malayan Communist Party, and pouring communist propaganda into Singapore’s Chinese-language middle-schools. If Japan’s fifth columns in Southeast Asia had proven effective, millions of Chinese across the region promised only worse. The Eisenhower administration, to block Beijing’s influence, labored for years to have anticommunist Taiwan win over Malaya and Singapore’s Chinese.

Thus, when Eisenhower coined the domino theory, he was not so much invoking strategic lessons from far-flung regions of the world. Rather, he was re-inscribing western perceptions of Southeast Asia’s particular interconnected insecurity that had stood in plain sight since the Pacific War.

This essay is adapted from material in The Arc of Containment: Britain, Malaya, Singapore and the Rise of American Hegemony in Southeast Asia, 1941-1976 (Cornell University Press, forthcoming fall 2019) and “The Domino Logic of the Darkest Moment,” Journal of American-East Asian Relations 21, no. 3 (2014).


Today in History: CIA Reject The Domino Theory (1964)

The Domino Theory was a very influential theory during the Cold War. It was to decisively influence American foreign policy during the 1960&rsquos and the 1970&rsquos. America was very concerned at the rapid expansion of Soviet influence in many areas of the world and the growing number of Communist revolutions around the world. The Domino Theory, that was developed by right-wing American intellectuals, stated that if one country fell to Communism, then this would lead to other countries in the surrounding region becoming communist.

AMERICAN SOLDIERS SEARCHING FOR COMMUNISTS (1966)

This theory was very influential during the American involvement in Vietnam. This theory stated that if South Vietnam fell to the communists, the rest of Southeast Asia would also fall &ldquolike dominoes,&rdquo and the theory had been used to warrant much of the American War effort in Vietnam. The theory greatly alarmed the Americans and this led them to commit hundreds of thousands of troops to prevent Communist North Vietnam from conquering South Vietnam. President Johnson was very much influenced by the Domino Theory in his handling of the situation in Vietnam.

B-52 BOMBER OVER VIETNAM


Modernity and Power

Modernity and Power provides a fresh conceptual overview of twentieth-century United States foreign policy, from the Roosevelt and Taft administrations through the presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson. Beginning with Woodrow Wilson, American leaders gradually abandoned the idea of international relations as a game of geopolitical interplays, basing their diplomacy instead on a symbolic opposition between "world public opinion" and the forces of destruction and chaos. Frank Ninkovich provocatively links this policy shift to the rise of a distinctly modernist view of history.

To emphasize the central role of symbolism and ideological assumptions in twentieth-century American statesmanship, Ninkovich focuses on the domino theory—a theory that departed radically from classic principles of political realism by sanctioning intervention in world regions with few financial or geographic claims on the national interest. Ninkovich insightfully traces the development of this global strategy from its first appearance early in the century through the Vietnam war.


More Comments:

Philip B. Plowe - 5/9/2007

"In foreign policy over the past century the Democrats have always been wrong, and the Republicans right."

It seems unlikely that a Republican president would have managed America's forces much differently before or during World War II.

And I'm sure that there are other examples, but one that immediately comes to mind is trading arms in exchange for hostages. Maybe it's just me, but that doesn't seem like very smart foreign policy.

Lawrence Brooks Hughes - 4/17/2007

The previous poster forgot the Vietnamese "boat people," of whom there were about 1.5 million, many of whom became American citizens and will be happy to tell you about it. Add to them the 2 million Cambodians clubbed to death, and you can make a humanitarian case that the U.S. should have stayed on--or at least should have not have cut off support for the South Vietnamese. How do we know Singapore would not have fallen to the communists if we had not drawn the line in Indo-China? We don't. The Asian economic "Tigers" do not include Vietnam, by the way. That's an economic backwater compared to Taiwan, South Korea or Singapore.
..It is a mistake to mix Eisenhower's name with our debacle in Vietnam, too. Eisenhower cleaned up the mess Truman left in Korea. It was Kennedy and Johnson who sent the U.S. troops to Vietnam, after Eisenhower declined to. Nixon merely inherited the bad situation created by Kennedy and LBJ and tried to extricate us with honor, but was sabotaged by the Democratic controlled Congress. In foreign policy over the past century the Democrats have always been wrong, and the Republicans right.

Joseph Smith - 4/16/2007

"Dominoes are back. The old, scuffed political theory of one domino falling and knocking down others turned up recently in President Bush's call for support from Congress for a surge in U.S. troops in Iraq."

And that is how the article started.


Yet another lovely article supporting our commander-in-chief, I thought. I certainly knew what this guy was out to prove. Yet another more-than-likely-futile attempt to convince me that everything Bush does is evil, that the Iraq War is evil, that America is evil, always was and always will be, and that we must surrender to the terrorists and retreat from Iraq…like… yesterday or something.

But I attempted to avoid the example of so many of my fiery liberal friends and read with an open mind.

First off, what is the domino theory? The phrase “domino theory” was coined by President Eisenhower. Describing the situation in the Vietnam area, he said, “You have a row of dominoes set up. You knock over the first one and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. . . you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences.” Ok, so technically he never said, “DOMINO THEORY.” But he thought up the general idea.

Eisenhower supposedly thought this whole idea up in order to justify his invasion of Indochina. Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon also used the domino effect to rationalize the escalation of the Vietnam War. President Johnson said, “We have chosen to fight a limited war… in an attempt to prevent a larger war - a war almost certain to follow, I believe, if the Communists succeed in overrunning and taking over South Vietnam by aggression and by force.”

The author then goes on to show that this is exactly what President Bush is doing. When Bush said that, “If American forces were to step back from Baghdad before it is more secure, a contagion of violence could spill out across the entire country. In time, this violence could engulf the region. For the safety of the American people, we cannot allow this to happen,” he was essentially, the article claims, invoking the Domino Theory to convince people that it is vital to stay and finish the job we started.

The whole crux of the author’s argument is this: “The domino theory, however, contains inherent flaws. It conflates present or past events with projection into the future. More symbolic than analytical, it predicts that outcomes will be worse unless new actions are taken. This reinforces an argument for sustained or escalated military involvement.”

He brings up a random irrelevant point about how President Eisenhower said that if the first domino falls, the last will “certainly” fall, and at the same time said that it was a “possible” sequence of events. Then he shows how President Bush did the same thing by saying that the “contagion of violence could spill out,” while at the same time calling the war “decisive.”

Now to me, this shows that neither Eisenhower nor Bush was particularly sure of the reliability of the Domino Theory, or at least they, as presidents, were not willing to say something for absolute certain. HOWEVER. It does not, in any way, have anything to do with the effectiveness of the Domino Theory.

But that’s ok. We can just ignore that and move on to the author’s assertion that the Domino Theory failed in Vietnam. Sure, says Nichols, we took some beatings. “To be sure, America's departure from South Vietnam was horrific. U.S. allies there suffered terribly. So did the United States as a whole. Global prestige plummeted. A chastened America became less likely to engage in hot wars. Cambodia and Laos turned communist.”

Let me add to this that North Vietnam immediately reinvaded South Vietnam after the US left and instituted a Communist government there. This resulted in making the 58,209 Americans, 5,000 Japanese, 512 Australians, and 37 New Zealanders die for absolutely no reason. Then there are the 166,890 people who were wounded for absolutely no reason. And THEN there are the 5,635,300 Vietnamese causalities, all because America left without completing the job.

But that didn’t have much to do with the domino effect. So lets try this.

In addition to the aforementioned affects…

* North Vietnam invaded what is now Cambodia and killed as many as 2 million in the Kmer Rouge Genocide.
* Then the Vietnamese began to repress their Chinese citizens, forcing thousands to flee the country, and resulting in the Third Indochina War.


Despite all this, many still say that the Domino Effect did not occur. As the author states, “Nonetheless, the domino theory failed by the standard of its own predictions. Communism never took hold in Indonesia, Thailand, or more importantly, in any of the other large countries in the region, most notably, India. There was no cascade effect triggered by the U.S. departure from South Vietnam. The United States continued as an economic and military power. And now, America and Vietnam are trading partners, which President Bush should know as he visited that nation last year. Southeast Asia is a vibrant engine of global commerce and the region has closer ties to the United States now than at any time in the past.”

Why did Thailand and India not fall to communism? In fact, a very convincing argument can be made that they didn’t turn communist because of the war. The war bought enough time for these less developed countries to build up their economy and their government.

We can look at it from a different angle. Imagine that in World War II, America suddenly decides, just after D-Day, that the war is simply to costly, that too many people have died. After all, it's Europe! We have a huge ocean between us! And anyway this war is pointless. So then we set up a timetable and pull out of Europe.

What we are saying here is that, sure the rest of Europe would fall, but.

a) that is ok (“The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq is likely to have horrendous consequences on the ground… Yet when seen in a longer historical view, such an event might not be nearly as tragic as predicted.)

b) there would be no other consequences after that. Hitler will NOT take over the rest of the world. He will not proceed to conquer the rest of Asia after repelling the Soviet Union. He will NOT eventually take over the rest of the world either.

Obviously, not only is the Domino Theory plausible, it seems like common sense. Not all cases are as extreme as the World War II. But if we pull our troops out of Iraq now, there is absolutely nothing keeping a “contagion of violence” from spilling out into the region.

William J. Stepp - 4/9/2007

"Cambodia and Laos turned communist", as you note now they along with Vietnam are turning capitalist.

Bush should indeed put the dominoes
back in the box, and get back into his sandbox.


Watch the video: Drawn History: What is Domino Theory? History