MIT OpenCourseWare


Included below are quotes from Dr. Van Evera's lectures.

"I love 'em! I loves my weapons!" - Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction, 6 December 2001.

"The ACLU is not going to like what we do. Human Rights Watch won't approve." - On a possible American response to WMD use on US soil, 6 December 2001.

"Who needs them!" - De Klerk on nuclear arms, 6 December 2001.

"I'd like to pay 'X' minus 'a lot'." - President Teddy Roosevelt to the Columbians regarding the Panama canal, 4 December 2001.

"They did break your arms and legs, and they did shoot you if you really annoyed them." - Allowing that the Shah of Iran's secret police were rough, even if they weren't exactly in the same league as the KGB, 4 December 2001.

"People are going to vote for the guy with the biggest gun aimed at their brains." - Elections during civil wars, 29 November 2001.

"They were all wearing leisure suits, going to discos, watching Star Trek. The Vietnam War just faded away." - The American public's response to Communist victory in Vietnam after US troops came home, 29 November 2001.

"They don't know the language, they don't know the culture. Where they go, people are going to string them up! 'Hey, foreigners!'" - Vietnamese communist agents abroad in Southeast Asia, 29 November 2001.

"Hey, we can't count on Uncle Sugar so much. Maybe we'd better band together more tightly, defend ourselves." - The other possible reaction of our European allies to US military failures abroad, 27 November 2001.

"Hey, blow off! If you want trouble with America, do it on your own time. We're just going to hang around here and basically be commie. You know . . . Have fun, be commie, make people march around like little worker bees, collectivize agriculture, do what commies do-- crush people." - What the Vietnamese would have said to the USSR if they were not a Soviet satellite, 27 November 2001.

"He's autocratic, doesn't make friends, doesn't play well with others." - On Ngo Dinh Diem, 27 November 2001.

"The French will be saying 'comrade' and eating borscht." - What would have happened if not for US presence in Europe after World War II.

"Free trade: everyone gets rich on it." - Summarizing Ricardo, 8 November 2001.

"At the end of the day, I've got a Toyota. And they're living in a matchbox. They've got a piece of paper, but I've got a Toyota." - An unconventionally optimistic view of trade deficits, 8 November 2001.

"'Hey! We're incompetent! Protect us!' That's not quite how they put it." - Explaining his theory of the Incompetent Industrial Complex, 8 November 2001.

"That's just me. What do I know?" - Forecasting economic hard times to come, 8 November 2001.

"Hey! Open your damn markets! Grr!" - How the US has dealt with the Third World, 8 November 2001.

"And then it's days of milk and honey. You can really roll in the gravy." - It's good to be the monopolist, 8 November 2001.

"He's not a guy who likes to hold hands, form a human chain, and sing Kumbaya." - Speaking of the University of Chicago's Prof. John Mearsheimer, 6 November 2001.

"If you were the Soviets, wouldn't you be afraid of a rain of hydrogen bombs coming down on your head?" - Begging the question of why massive retaliation did not work as a national security strategy, 6 November 2001.

"Germans . . . They've caused some problems for us in the past." - Would the US trade Boston for Bonn? 6 November 2001.

"You can make a real mess of an army by nuking them. It's really hard for them to keep rocking and rolling when the nukes are falling." - On tactical nuclear weapons, 6 November 2001.

"We have been to this movie before" - Post-WWII West Germans considering the possibility of another war in which the great powers converge on Germany to slug it out, 6 November 2001.

"Can anyone think of a reason why the French would be nervous about Germany having nuclear weapons? Yes, we have the correct answer: history. The 20th Century, this is the reason why. " - Giving short shrift to the 19th Century, 6 November 2001.

"Never been clear what that means. A light show? Pop a few up in the air and have a really big Forth of July?" - On the demonstrative use of nuclear weapons, 6 November 2001.

"You want a piece of me?" - To a TA getting out of line, 1 November 2001.

"You really only need to bounce it once." - What US military planners should know about how many times you need to make the rubble bounce, 1 November 2001.

"Truth is, the Himalayas are between you two, and China's never coming over the Himalayas. Chill out." - A response to India's claim that nuclear weapons are needed to deter Chinese aggression, 1 November 2001.

"You can't expect us to stand here naked." - The reasoning behind Pakistan's development of a nuclear deterrent force, 1 November 2001.

"Your day would be ruined." - What would happen if even one MIRVed missile got through, 1 November 2001.

"He lives in la-la land." - An assessment of Saddam Hussein, 1 November 2001.

"Who died and made you pope?" - The collective attitude of the rest of the world towards the nuclear powers, particularly the US, 1 November 2001.

"There ought to be a norm in the world. Joe, before you steal something, check with us. And we don't want to play word games with you - you know what's verboten. So don't try any Philadelphia lawyer tricks with us and say it's not aggression." - On America's wish to be consulted by the Soviets prior to any and all land grabs, 30 October 2001.

"Who's got the longer vita." - What should never be the deciding factor on a public policy question, 30 October 2001.

"Come to their borders, threaten their safety, put a knife to their throat. Then you'll see them get wild and crazy." - Why the US advance toward the Yalu river provoked a bellicose response from China, 30 October 2001.

"If you intend to annihilate another country, and you could annihilate them, then you can break diplomatic relations, because you're just going to wipe them out anyway." - Laying out the only conditions under which it makes sense to sever diplomatic relations, 30 October 2001.

"Let me explain to you why and how we're going to blow your head off." - The function of an ambassador in a time of international crisis is to deliver this message, 30 October 2001.

"You don't have to trust this fellow. You just have to believe he's capable of taking notes." - Why the US should have paid attention to the warning of the Indian ambassador in the fall of 1950, 30 October 2001.

"Commies have been taking a lot of countries lately; this is a chance for us to get a 'W' on the board." - What the Republicans in Congress thought about going north of the 38th parallel, 30 October 2001.

"You guys get in my face, you die." - Paraphrasing Stalin to the Ukraine after the experiment in farm collectivization, 25 October 2001.

"From Stalin's point of view, this is just the way great powers behave. You've got a carcass in front of you, carve it up! You take a piece, I'll take a piece." - On Stalin's post-WWII territorial ambitions, 25 October 2001.

"We can win, we can slam 'em. We can get the 'W' if we do it now, so let's just do it." - American hawks, ready for World War III in the late forties, 25 October 2001.

"Read this and have a few nightmares." - Handing out info regarding the insecurity of Russian nuclear weapons, 23 October 2001.

"These aren't nice guys either, but they could count." - Speaking of the Germany military establishment in the 1930s and their fears that Hitler would drag them into an unwinnable war, 23 October 2001.

"Gentlemen, ladies, do a dance with France, throw with us." - What a tighter US alliance with France would have said to the Germans after World War I, 23 October 2001.

"It's the 800 pound gorilla. It should have the full and undivided attention of everyone in Europe, because it's 800 pounds!" - On the US negotiating position vis-a-vis Europe during World War I, 16 October 2001.

"You can say they were idiots, but, yeah, I think you're right." - On Germany disregarding US power in 1917, 16 October 2001.

"Hey you guys! Put a collar on the Serbs! They're out there shooting Archdukes!" - What the French and British didn't say to the Russians, 16 October 2001.

"You guys pay me the big bucks to do the teaching." - The way things work, 11 October 2001.

"They would have marched through Paris, drunk some French wine, relaxed a little on the Riviera, got tired of French teenagers throwing rocks at them and gone home with their tails between their legs, having realized that empires are silly." - What might have happened if the Germans had won World War I, 11 October 2001.

"Look here, Buster-- give us a smile, okay?" - The newly powerful USA to the world at the turn of the century, 11 October 2001.

"This guy thought he was the smartest thing since sliced bread." - On Woodrow Wilson, 11 October 2001.

"Who started the war? I'll cut to the chase-- the Germans. The Germans started the war. They pay me money for telling you that." - Causes of WWI, 11 October 2001.

"The Americans come in with the Sunday punch, and down go the Germans." - The End of WWI, 11 October 2001.

"Write that down! It might be on a quiz!" - After defining the acronyms WMD and NBC, 4 October 2001.

"Leg bone connected to the neck bone, head bone connected to the neck bone, then you get a row of dominoes!" - Describing the thinking of US policymakers on Communist expansion during the Cold War, 2 October 2001.

"This wasn't a bunch of politically correct folks who'd grown up learning tolerance." - On Soviet military advisors to the Third World, 2 October 2001.

"Forget you! Talk to the hand!" - Paraphrasing what Tito said to Stalin, 2 October 2001.

"Don't ever assume that the grownups are figuring everything out." - On the irresponsibility of scholars in not addressing fundamental policy questions during the Cold War, 2 October 2001.

"You've read too much! You're too learned! You're bringing us to a higher level where we don't need to be!" - In jest rebuking a student with a tough question, 2 October 2001.

"Get those fingers around the neck and strangle that baby in the crib!" - On preemptive destruction of potential enemies, 2 October 2001.

"Those Germans don't like living in their own country. They, you know, like to march. They like to go on long walks." - Why Maggie Thatcher didn't want to see Germany reunified, 2 October 2001.

"It's the Germans, who are always going around blowing things up and getting their head smashed." - On which country has been the most blunder-prone in the 20th Century, 27 September 2001.

"Forgive me for speaking truth in a classroom." - Asking forgiveness after informing the class that the Moonies own the Washington Times, 27 September 2001.

"Oh, join me in the game! I enjoy it myself! The screams of dying Russians is music to my ears." - Speculating on what Stalin might have said if threatened with nuclear attack, 27 September 2001.

"At Harvard, they don't bend widgets very much, so they don't have these problems." - On the mysterious noises emanating from the hall outside the classroom, 20 September 2001.

"Section! Go to section! It's your duty! Help us! Be a part of the community! ... Be brave! Go! Be naked before the rest of the section!" - On the imperative need to attend discussion sections, 18 September 2001.

"America's not always been the sweetie-pie of the world." - On what one might learn from the Ojibwa, 18 September 2001.

"He thought he could get his fingers in the candy jar." - On why Hitler went on a rampage, 18 September 2001.

"It's not the Spanish wine-- it's the Pyrenees!" - On possible reasons why Spain has been involved in so few wars in recent history, 18 September 2001.

"Where would we put Hollywood if we didn't have Los Angeles to put it in?" - On possible geographic motivations for America to have made war against Mexico, 18 September 2001.

"The neighborhood guys are going to form a gang and stomp your head." - What will happen if you attempt to conquer Europe, 18 September 2001.

"Under democratic principles, we all agree-- there shouldn't be a leader!" - On the non-competitive nature of democracy as a worldwide ideology, 18 September 2001.

"Usually, it's good for someone on a suicidal death ride to realize it, so they don't do it." - Advice for anti-Americans everywhere, 13 September 2001.

"I'm hanging out with my molecules. Leave me alone." - On the social nature of hard-science types at MIT, 6 September 2001.