The Cold War was born out of the quest for military and ideological supremacy between the United States and Soviet Union at the conclusion of the Second World War. The Vietnam War was a hot conflict which saw the United States exercise their containment strategy which was effectively in place to halt the spread of communism. However at the time of the Vietnam War, the policy of containment had been in place for almost two decades as a result had changed somewhat through different U.S. administrations and made to fit circumstances. However the containment strategy was not the only reason for United States involvement in Vietnam as there was also a general trend in U.S. foreign policy and which led to the fact that the war in Vietnam was a logical outcome not only from containment.
The idea for containment was constructed in 1947 when President Truman requested congressional support for the U.S. to provide military and economic aide to Greece and Turkey. As Truman stated in his speech, it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures. This basically meant that the U.S. would support free people threatened by communist aggression or subversion. The Marshall Plan of the same year bolstered this policy by providing economic stability to European countries on the west of the containment line. From this is can be seen that U.S.
... modern world and the enemy.The U.S. policy of containment during the Cold War stated that the United States would support any free people threatened ... can interact peacefully.U.S. foreign policy since 9-11 has certainly changed since the Cold War. The United States is facing a seemingly ... policy in the Cold War and after 9-11. Thus the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan can be compared with that of Vietnam ...
involvement in Vietnam could be justified under the auspices of containment. However according to George Kennan and Walter Lippman, Presidents Kennedy and Johnson failed to distinguish between vital and peripheral interests. In failing to recognize Vietnam as a peripheral interest, there was a severe misallocation of resources to the area, mainly military. Whereby Kennan sought to maintain the balance of power through political, economic, military and psychological leverage in care fully selected areasJohnson was relying almost exclusively on the use of military force in a theatre chosen by adversaries. From this it can be ascertained that the Vietnam War was a logical outcome of U.S. containment policy, albeit veering from the intended application of the strategy and acting on incorrect perceptions about the country. As the geopolitical importance of Vietnam was exaggerated, longer-term trends in U.S. foreign policy were brought to the fore.
The Kennedy and Johnson administrations thought that the defense of Southeast Asia was crucial to the maintenance of world order. The domino theory was created out of this thinking and was a major justification for sending combat troops to Vietnam. This could be seen as a trend which evolved in U.S. foreign policy as it formed part of the flexible response as opposed to the previous massive retaliation which was from the Eisenhower administration. The flexible response could also be used as a deterrence when fighting the communist nationals as an enemy engages once of our combat units, he I fully aware that he had automatically engaged the entire power of the U.S., meaning that deterrence through flexible response was a trend in foreign policy. There were also other U.S.
foreign policies which could be considered as being longer-term trends. It was necessary for the United States to win the War in order to maintain U.S. credibility. Commitments, once made, could not be abandoned as the communists would draw conclusion s that would lead to our [the United States] ruin and almost certainly to catastrophic war as Dean Rusk wrote in response to abandoning its SEATO treaty obligation. Furthermore, there was the zero-sum game view of the world which meant that any communist victory would be a loss for the U.S. Similarly, Under-Secretary of Defense John McNaughton pointed out that a communist victory would be humiliating for the United States and in turn challenge global stability.
U.S. Foreign Policy After the War in Vietnam The direction of U.S. foreign policy was affected further by the onset of the Cold War, the post-1945 struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union. In March 1947, when President Harry S. Truman announced that the United States would lead a global effort to combat Communism, both Congress and the American public rallied to his support. Trumans ...
This again relates back to a misevaluation as to the importance of Vietnam in the scheme of the Cold War, but it also illustrates a change in thinking in U.S. foreign policy about the spread of communism. It was the implementation of these strategies policies which led to the incremental increases of U.S. troops to Vietnam. The objective of these pressures was to avoid a massive military involvement as token commitments demon stated resolve, alleviating the need for larger commitments later. However once the conflict escalated, large military commitments were unavoidable, and as was illustrated, the U.S.
does not back down from a commitment, which again illustrates the change in foreign policies. The application of the containment strategy to Vietnam was a major reason for entering the conflict, even though the interest of the U.S. was misjudged and the application of the means to enact the strategy not inline with the original doctrine. However this was not the only reason as longer-term changes in U.S. foreign policy became apparent during the Vietnam conflict. These policies viewed the consequences of the perceived threats and as major and thus a war in Vietnam was a logical outcome of both containment and longer-term trends in U.S.
foreign policy. Word count: 836 Bibliography Diem, Bui. Epilogue, In the Jaws of History (Boston 1987) Gaddis, John Lewis. Implementing Flexible Response: Vietnam as a Test Case, in Strategies of Containment: A critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security Policy (Oxford 1982) Hunt, Michael, H. The Origins of the Cold War, 1943-1952, in Crises in U.S. Foreign Policy: An International History Reader (Yale 1996) Keys, Barbara. The Vietnam Wars (University of Melbourne, Lecture 8, 2006).
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as the 36th U.S. President. He is the fourth President coping with the Vietnam War. President Johnson declares he will not "lose Vietnam" during a meeting in Washington.Johnson came to office convinced that the United States had to honor its commitments to South Vietnam and resist the ...