The Japanese did not see their attack on Pearl Harbor as foolish at all. What in retrospect seems suicidal did not necessarily seem so at the time. In hindsight, the wiser Japanese course would have been to absorb the orphaned colonial Far Eastern possessions of France, the Netherlands and Great Britain that were largely defenseless after June 1941.
Vilified and ridiculed throughout the second half of his long life—he died in 1964 at the age of ninety—Herbert Hoover was a great and good man. Statesmen often find themselves required to kill, earning their reputations in part by fighting and winning wars. Hoover’s statesmanship consisted first of all in saving lives, literally by the millions.
In 1902 Theodore Roosevelt intervened in a strike by Pennsylvania coal miners, exceeding his Constitutional authority as president. When this was pointed out to him by Republican House whip James E. Watson, Roosevelt allegedly yelled, “To hell with the Constitution when the people want coal!”
Anyone who thinks “western values” are an arrogant fiction created to perpetuate the dominance of market democracies or whitewash their crimes should read A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, a heartbreakingly poignant novel about the wars in Chechnya.