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Posted: November 16th, 2022

American Involvement in Vietnam

American Involvement in Vietnam
Please write a 3 (double spaced) page essay addressing the following:

What do you think was more important in shaping American involvement in Vietnam, external foreign policy concerns or domestic political considerations? Why? Provide a clear thesis and defend it with historical information drawn from the course materials.

course materials ( include majority of these specific points)

-McGeorge Burdy

-Robert McNamara

– President John F Kennedy

– Ho Chi Minh Trail

-Henry Cabot Lodge

-Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962

-Viet Cong

-Dean Dusk

-William C Westmoreland

-Vo Nguyen Giap

The involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War may be viewed as either domestic political considerations or foreign policy concerns. From the literature available on the topic, the United States involvement in the war was mainly shaped and driven by the foreign policy considerations. The paper argues this point out by giving it support from the understanding of how American got involved in the war. It then followed by analysis to support the argument: American got involved in Vietnam mainly for foreign policy considerations.
American involvement in Vietnam War
The involvement of American in Vietnam is traced back to 1950s under the presidency of President Harry Truman when the United States provided aids and arms to Vietnam for helping the French to regain the Vietnam as their empire (Leitch, 2009; Addington, 2000). However, French got defeated in 1954 at Dien Bein Phu (Leitch, 2009). There was then the division of Vietnam into South and North at the seventeenth parallel. The as per the 1954 Geneva agreement, Vietnam was supposed to hold an election in 1956, but the leader of the South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem refused the election issue. Soon afterward, the National Liberation Front (NLF), commonly known as the Vietcong emerged in the South and initiated the attacks (Leitch, 2009). The administration of President Dwight Eisenhower provided supported to the Army of the Republic Vietnam (ARVN) by sending a small American Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG).
Upon taking the office in 1961, President John F. Kennedy he continued the fight against communism in Vietnam. President John F. Kennedy furthered the war in many ways. He ordered the Department of Defense to make arrangement for saving Vietnam. The plan became approved in May 1961. And, in November 1963, the president committed 7,000 troops for the provision of base security (Leitch, 2009). President Kennedy stood for a struggle against the communism. In the same era, the United States was involved in issues such as the Berlin Wall Crisis of 1961, and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 (Leitch, 2009). In this point of view, it is clear that the United States was concerned with the foreign policies rather than domestic politics. There were fighting the North Vietnam and the South so that the North could recognize the South as an independent government. Therefore, the United States stood for internationalism and anticommunism, and these are President Kennedy symbolized.
After the assassination of President Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson took the office of president and inherited the Vietnam dilemma. The American policy defined the Vietnam War as North Vietnamese aggression against the South Vietnamese (Addington, 2000). The North Vietnam managed to infiltrate their troops to the South Vietnam through a long tunnel known as Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. Defense Robert S. McNamara and Secretary of State, and Dean Rusk among other White House aides have convinced the assaults on South Vietnam instigated in the ambitious designs of Hanoi-backed by Beijing (Langguth, 2000).
The American failed to achieve the mission of saving South Vietnam that is, fighting against communism. The mission ended with a lot of casualties. The Paris Peace Agreements was signed on 27th January 1973 by the United States, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and a provisional revolutionary government which represented the Vietcong to mark the end of the war. The United States then withdrew their soldiers from Vietnam. The reasons for the argument are discussed below.
Support from many Presidents along different party lines: As from the time of involvement Harry Truman was the president (Democratic Party). Truman offered support for French to acquire Vietnam. The successor of Truman, President Eisenhower (Republican Party), upon the division of the Vietnam after the failure of French, offered his support to the South by sending few American soldiers to train those of South Vietnamese for counterinsurgency. It is argued that Eisenhower never sent a big team to Vietnam to fight because he had commanded the soldiers and knew that Vietnam was a hostile environment and American soldiers would not manage the fight. President Kennedy and President Lyndon supported the same involvement after taking their office. If the involvement were about domestic politics, then at least one of these presidents would have rejected the move. But because it was primarily about the foreign policy, American remained in the involvement for a long time before giving up due to the high level of casualties.
Democracy: the United States holds the idea of democracy dear. So when the South Vietnam showed signs of following the ways of American, the American chose to defend the South Vietnamese from the Communist North Vietnam. Furthermore, it not ONLY Vietnam where the American got involved, they were involved in Cuba and retreated after the threat of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
Therefore, it is deducible that the though some politics consideration were portrayed in the involvement of American in Vietnam, the United States were fully committed to developing the foreign policy in Vietnam. It is probably why the mission was inherited by many presidencies.
Leitch, V. B. (2009). American literary criticism since the 1930s. Routledge.
Addington, L. H. (2000). America’s war in Vietnam: a short narrative history. Indiana University Press.
Langguth, A. J. (2000). Our Vietnam: the war 1954-1975. Simon and Schuster.

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