At the time, we were in a war with that country's neighbor, concerned that more people might be enslaved the ideology we didn't like.
They went on to develop a nuclear arsenal that is today relatively modest by US & Russian standards, but nonetheless far more than Iran or North Korea are likely to have any time soon.
Our president, who hated the very bad ideology, did a very odd thing. He went and made friends with them even though we were still fighting in the neighboring country.
Those who wanted us to be very afraid of the very bad ideology were sure that the country with the nukes would attack us or at least infect us with the very bad ideology.
Today, we don't worry about that country nuking or even attacking us in the near future because we owe them too much money and we buy too much of the stuff they make since they seem to have become infected with our ideology even though we haven't been infected with theirs at all.
Likewise, the neighboring country we fought in so long to convince them not to adopt the very bad ideology tried it for a while and decided they'd rather be like us.
We don't get to pick those countries leaders or have troops there, but for some reason they like us anyway.
With the other bad idea, there were countries we made friends with, countries we were a little friendly with, and one or two we shunned.
The ones we became friends with changed quickly, the ones we were a little friendly with changed a little less quickly, and the ones we shunned didn't seem to change at all.
Now some of the same people who said to be afraid of the very bad ideology want us to be afraid of a different very bad ideology and say we must fight a very long war to convince them the ideology is a very bad idea and that one of those countries may get a nuclear bomb.
Which method is likely to get the quickest results? Kill a lot of people or make friends?
Sometimes in history, making friends doesn't work so well. Hitler and Stalin probably would have taken other people's land and killed a lot of people no matter what. But those countries were roughly our equals. Today, maybe two countries in the world are our peers, and the rest are fleas on our ass militarily. They might be difficult for us to invade and occupy, but they would have absolutely no chance of invading and occupying us.
Therefore, there is little danger in making friends (except to the people who wanted to steal stuff while we were fighting and invading).
Our elected leaders like to make up very simple stories that are easy for us to understand. Why don't they tell this one more often? Maybe because it has a happy ending for us--but not for the people who matter.
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