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Main Reasons For Vietnam War Involvement

1911 words (8 pages) Essay in History

03/05/17 History Reference this

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The Vietnam War was considered a military conflict battled primarily in the Southern Vietnam between 1959 and 1975. It was the source of several conflicting social and political opinions, particularly in the years that were leading up to its own conclusion. Militarily speaking, the war was the result of the Vietcong and North Vietnam trying to overthrow the government of South Vietnam. The Vietnam War was like a continuation of the first Indochina war that was battled when the Vietnamese sought for independence from France after the World War II (Daum & Gardner, 2003). The country was then split into two parts – the northern and the southern – in 1954 in the Geneva Accords. During the Vietnam War, the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union, The Democratic Republic of North Vietnam and its allies involved in fight against the South Vietnam, whose allies had included the United States, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia.

There are several reasons why different parties were involved in the Vietnam War. For the United States the main reason would be that it had a containment policy where Communism was a highly concerned factor. Containment policy was the foreign policy strategy that was followed by the United States during the times of the Cold War. First laid out in 1947 by George F. Kennan, Containment stated that communism needed to be contained and then isolated, or it would easily spread to the neighboring countries. This spread would then give allowance to the Domino Theory to take control, meaning that if any one of the countries fell to communism, then each of the surrounding countries would also fall as well, like a row of dominoes. Adherence to the Containment policy and Domino Theory ultimately led to United States’ intervention in Vietnam, as well as in Grenada and Central America. Containment policy and Domino Theory as applied to the Southeast Asia: If communism were not contained in the North Vietnam, then South Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos would inevitably become as well communist.

Vietnam War was necessary as it was engaged to prevent the spread of communism into South Vietnam. In general, there was success in the venture. In fact, the North Vietnam army was fully ready to give up, until the United States’ media begun their campaign to weaken the many soldiers and the fighting that they were involved in that was largely incited by” Hanoi Jane” as she used the media to aid her goal of spreading communism around the world.

Vietnam War was generally the natural implementation of the United States foreign policy with regards to communism since the Nation Security Council (NSC) Directive 68 that was delivered to President Truman in 1950. The Directive basically had said four main things: Communism as it was often embodied by the Soviet Union would be considered to always seek a wide expansion by itself and then destroy the free societies so as to secure its own power base; that the United States policies at that particular time of the Marshall Plan, supporting of the anti-Communist regimes, and the keeping of the military forces that were stationed throughout the globe in the hot-zones to monitor Soviet activity ought to be maintained; an enormous buildup in the military power of the United States was necessary that would essentially constitute a large standing army even in peacetime that is something the United States had never had before; and the last thing basically dealt with again the question of containment of the Soviet Union, communism and the possible mechanisms the United States could employ to do so.

For the 1st half of the Cold War, containment policy worked very well. Iran, Greece, other various Latin American nations, and to some extent Korea too had all been kept communist free and the Soviet forces had been seen always backing down when it somehow appeared that the United States was really willing to battle. The main problem in this kind of theory was the people’s belief that communism is one of the international and united force, so when any communist insurgency broke out anywhere around the world, it meant that it had to be started by and even led by the Soviet Union that was not always the case. To be sure, the Soviet Union tried just as actively as the United States to find various supportive regimes or organizations in the 3rd World, but often, these communist movements began on their own and were locally supported. Such was the main case in Vietnam.

Another dangerous policy at that particular time was the belief in the infamous Domino Theory that stated that if one country in a region went communist then the others would quickly follow (Daum & Gardner, 2003). This is a theory that, while it has never been officially disproven (after all, nobody knows what would have happened had the United States never gone to Vietnam, is often disregarded nowadays as paranoia. Just because one of country becomes a communist, it was no guarantee that the other countries would then follow suite. Another basic flaw with this kind of belief was that it had an assumption that all the people in a given region were similar enough to an extent that they all take exactly a similar course of action; and that communism was exactly the same in wherever place it was found, and the local circumstances, culture, history and geography either had no true bearing or were negligible.

In terms of the strategic values of the parties of Vietnam War, if we assume that the Domino Theory was correct then the United States needed to maintain a strong presence in Asia so as to combat the forces of both Soviet superpowers: Russia and China. Were they allowed to run amok, they could seriously threaten the United States’ strategic allies, Australia, Taiwan, New Zealand and Japan whom they had promised to help in defense. After the known Korean War, South Korea then joined the American protection sphere. In addition, were the Southeast Asia to be involved in communism, this then would have led to creation of the risk of India, that is the second most populated nation in the world and a very potential economic giant, also finally turning communist. For some of these reasons and explanations, the necessity of Vietnam War is seen. Tropical products and indeed any of the natural resources that were located in these regions would be denied to markets in the United States and with India being seen also to becoming communist, the many communists would have then just opened up a full back door to the Middle East nation and its plenty oil reserves. Going to the south, Singapore, Myanmar and Indonesia all might fall giving the communists a powerful stranglehold over the Indian Ocean. If people believed the Domino Theory, then the Vietnam War had to be won.

The Vietnam War was important in that the will of the people finally won out over the United States’ government’s desire to maximize profits to the Military-Industrial complex that Eisenhower had warned the people about. The Vietnam War was necessary to a point. Vietnam War was a perfect example of getting in to do something for a good cause, but then losing the war with a bad military planning. America was right in there choice of taking action in Vietnam War. America had the full right to end completely communism when it was expanding (Daum & Gardner, 2003). Do not forget that this was during the Cold War when everybody was scared that at any moment the USSR could launch a nuclear bomb on America. So the Vietnam War was America chance to stop another potential USSR from launching their nuclear bomb in America. If America never got involved in the Vietnam War who knows what almost all of Asia vs. America could have turned to be. America would have been out numbered so Communism would then have the upper hand and people would rather not think what the world would be like now if the actual Communism invasion would have taken place.

So what made the war “necessary”? Lind says there was a variation on the domino theory that was commonly espoused at the time and she argues that the conflict between the parties involved had to be battled for reasons having very little to do with the fate of Vietnam and all things to do with the superpower battle between the United States and the Soviet Union with China playing a significant secondary role (Lind, 1999). This clash, at once strategic and ideological, was nothing less than a world war or a hegemonic war, in which the international system future governance was at stake, and also the great powers that were opposing the U.S. and its allies were considered as the moral equivalents of Nazi Germany.

Since the rivals’ major nuclear arsenals kept both sides from risking all-out confrontation, they then met alternatively in a series of proxy wars that were along the “symbolic border which had to run through the Berlin city and down to the center of the Taiwan Strait and then bisected the Vietnam and Korea’s national territories.” Precisely because Indochina was known to be a place with no “intrinsic strategic value” to the U.S., Lind says, it was a very good region to make a great stand. And also the need to make a stand grew up after the Soviet Union had gained their advantage in a series of contests in the early 1960’s, including the building of the Berlin wall, the Bay of Pigs, the “neutralization” of Laos and the Cuban missile crisis that resulted in a permanent Soviet presence in Havana, says Lind (Lind, 1999).

The Vietnam War was necessary not only because it had a prominent place in the United States history, but because Vietnam was a clear case of the emerging pattern of the modern warfare. In just weeks of the developments of history signaling the Cold War’s end, the spokespersons for the United States’ Army and United States Air Force announced new missions to combat “instability” in the 3rd World “trouble spots” although the “low-intensity conflict” such as counterinsurgency, guerrilla warfare, pacification, etc.), the surprise bombing raids (e.g., Libya) and rapid deployment forces (e.g., the invasion of Panama). Months later, close to half a million United States troops were preparing for battle in the Persian Gulf.

For many years, each new United States military intervention has been held up against the standard of Vietnam. In the year 1985, Secretary of State who was George Shultz said that Vietnam War was a suitable “analogy” for President Reagan administration’s policy in the Central America: “Our main goals in the Central America are similar to those that we had in Vietnam: economic progress, security and democracy against aggression. Communist dictatorship, broken promises, Refugees and Widened Soviet influence are this time near our very borders. Here is your parallel between Vietnam and Central America.” Many in the Congress did disagree profoundly with George Shultz’s claims. Since all the Americans from the President going down to the common persons agree that America as a nation cannot afford another Vietnam War as it clearly is time America examined that experience critically in order to learn what might be of value in making of the foreign policy decisions today.


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