Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Legacies of Vietnam How should we think about the war?

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Legacies of Vietnam How should we think about the war?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Legacies of Vietnam How should we think about the war?

2 Why the collapse? 1.) Nixon’s resignation; Watergate’s effect on presidential authority 1.) Nixon’s resignation; Watergate’s effect on presidential authority 2.) Congressional cutbacks in aid to South Vietnam – refusal to pass emergency legislation 2.) Congressional cutbacks in aid to South Vietnam – refusal to pass emergency legislation 3.) South Vietnamese weakness, disunity, poor strategic decisions 3.) South Vietnamese weakness, disunity, poor strategic decisions 4.) Cambodia – weakness and corruption of government; displacement through bombing; sideshow of Vietnam, as with Laos 4.) Cambodia – weakness and corruption of government; displacement through bombing; sideshow of Vietnam, as with Laos

3 The Indochina Dominos

4 Vietnam – Reeducation camps 1.) 500,000 to 1 million in camps (out of population of 20 million) – death toll uncertain – 1.) 500,000 to 1 million in camps (out of population of 20 million) – death toll uncertain –

5 Laos 1.) 300,000 out of population of 3 million fled – crossing Mekong into Thailand; 30 percent of Hmong (about 100,000) – 90 percent of all intellectuals and professionals 1.) 300,000 out of population of 3 million fled – crossing Mekong into Thailand; 30 percent of Hmong (about 100,000) – 90 percent of all intellectuals and professionals

6 Cambodia – Year Zero Khmer Rouge

7 Cambodia – American Responsibility? Letter to US Ambassador to Cambodia John Gunther Dean: "Dear Excellency and Friend, I thank you very sincerely for your letter and your offer to transport me towards freedom. I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion. As for you, and in particular for your great country, I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people, which has chosen liberty. You have refused us your protection, and we can do nothing about it. You leave, and my wish is that you and your country will find happiness under this sky. But, mark it well, that if I shall die here on the spot and in my country that I love, it is too bad, because we are all born and must die one day. I have committed this mistake of believing in you, the Americans. Please accept, Excellency, my dear friend, my faithful and friendly sentiments. Prince Sirik Matak. Letter to US Ambassador to Cambodia John Gunther Dean: "Dear Excellency and Friend, I thank you very sincerely for your letter and your offer to transport me towards freedom. I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion. As for you, and in particular for your great country, I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people, which has chosen liberty. You have refused us your protection, and we can do nothing about it. You leave, and my wish is that you and your country will find happiness under this sky. But, mark it well, that if I shall die here on the spot and in my country that I love, it is too bad, because we are all born and must die one day. I have committed this mistake of believing in you, the Americans. Please accept, Excellency, my dear friend, my faithful and friendly sentiments. Prince Sirik Matak.

8 Genocide – the Killing Fields

9 Subsequent Events, ) Vietnam officially reunifies 1976 – Southerners pushed aside; Khmer Rouge pursues genocide in Cambodia 2.) Vietnam invades Cambodia and topples Khmer Rouge government, December 1978 – continuing guerilla war 3.) China attacks Vietnam January 1979 – fights for two months in North Vietnam and withdraws 4.) Vietnam becomes Soviet ally – US demands accounting of POWs and MIAs – exodus of the “boat people” estimates between 1 to 1.5 million 5.) Vietnam adopts economic reforms “doi moi” in 1986 – loses aid with collapse of Soviet Union and Eastern bloc ) US and Vietnam restore diplomatic relations in ) Cambodian civil war ends, ) Clinton visits Vietnam, November 2000 – US largest trade partner, de facto military alliance despite human rights concerns

10 Impact on the US 1.) Vietnam Syndrome – the reluctance to use or even consider the use of military force 2.) War Powers Act, Church Committee on the CIA, Ban on covert action in Angola 3.) Strong Influence on Carter – reaction to Iran Hostage Crisis 4.) Change with Reagan – Vietnam as a Noble Endeavor – dedication of the Vietnam Memorial 1982 – Reagan still reluctant to use force – in El Salvador, Nicaragua,Lebanon – uses force against Grenada, Libya 5.) Bush in Gulf War – “We’ve kicked the Vietnam Syndrome” 6.) Clinton in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo 7.) September 11, 2001 – end of the Vietnam Syndrome; now an “Iraq Syndrome”

11 A Historian’s Perspective - George Herring on Lessons of Vietnam 1.) Centrality of local forces as opposed to international politics 2.) Limits of Power – the “poisonous tangle of local politics” 3.) Need for debate and discussion about foreign policy Problems with all three “lessons”

12 Kissinger’s Lessons of Vietnam “Today we find that -like most other nations in history - we can neither escape from the world nor dominate it. Today we must conduct diplomacy with subtlety, flexibility, maneuver, and imagination in the pursuit of our interests. We must be thoughtful in defining our interests. We must prepare against the worst contingency and not only plan for the best. We must pursue limited objectives and many objectives simultaneously.” “Today we find that -like most other nations in history - we can neither escape from the world nor dominate it. Today we must conduct diplomacy with subtlety, flexibility, maneuver, and imagination in the pursuit of our interests. We must be thoughtful in defining our interests. We must prepare against the worst contingency and not only plan for the best. We must pursue limited objectives and many objectives simultaneously.”

13 The Limits of Power “For Americans, then, the question is not whether our values should affect our foreign policy but how. The issue is whether we have the courage to face complexity and the inner conviction to deal with ambiguity, whether we look behind easy slogans and recognize that great goals can only be reached by patience and in imperfect stages.” “For Americans, then, the question is not whether our values should affect our foreign policy but how. The issue is whether we have the courage to face complexity and the inner conviction to deal with ambiguity, whether we look behind easy slogans and recognize that great goals can only be reached by patience and in imperfect stages.”

14 Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan 1.) Problems of local forces vs. global network 1.) Problems of local forces vs. global network 2.) Effectiveness of counterinsurgency 2.) Effectiveness of counterinsurgency 3.) US public opinion and the political dynamics of war 3.) US public opinion and the political dynamics of war 4.) Role of the US in the World – the Wilsonian temptation 4.) Role of the US in the World – the Wilsonian temptation


Download ppt "Legacies of Vietnam How should we think about the war?"

Similar presentations


Ads by Google