Theories of War Vietnam Term Paper

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War: Vietnam

The concept of 'Realism' has been one of the most important and dominating theories that has come into force, especially after the World War II. The theory has not only been responsible for guiding international relations but has also been the predominant force behind the formulations of foreign policies. (Theories of International Relations) For most of its history, Vietnam has been under the domination of foreign rule, most of the time by the Chinese. It was in the year 1860 that the French entered the soil of Vietnam, and by the end of the nineteenth century, they had established colonies all over Vietnam, especially around the Gulf of Tonkin. This was the area that the Japanese took complete control over, during the Second World War, until the year 1945 when the Vietnamese took up a bold stand and threw them out.

Afterwards, until the year 1955, the French tried hard to re-conquer their lost territories, but it was of no avail. Their army was completely disorganized, perhaps because the world war had just gotten over, and the troops were barely determined to do their best. The efforts did not pay off, and the French had to accept defeat. The Communist General Vo Nguyen Giap was responsible for the defeat and the eventual withdrawal of the French troops from Vietnam, and left a buffer zone between the North and the South of Vietnam. The leader Ho Chi Minh set up his government in Hanoi, and dissatisfied North Vietnamese fled to South Vietnam where the leader was the notorious Ngo Dinh Diem, who had established the Republic of Vietnam by this time. There was serious in fighting between the north and the south of Vietnam, and from the years 1955 to 1960, the North Vietnamese with the southern Vietcong attacked and tried to take over the government under the President Ngo Dinh Diem, and in the year 1963 these troops succeeded in overthrowing and executing him. (The Vietnam War)

By the year 1964, the North Vietnamese with the help of Russia and China launched an attempt to capture and conquer the entire area of Vietnam. It was at this point that the United States of America, fearing that the Communists under Russia and China would be able to successfully take over Vietnam, began to keep an eye out for the developments in the region. Ho Chi Minh was emerging as a successful leader, and Vietcong was also gaining in popularity. Communism had become a world wide 'menace' and the United States of America had the idea of stopping it from spreading even further. This was the time when the Cold War too was at its peak, and the Americans feared that if they were to interfere in the matters of Vietnam, the communists would spread their wings further and manage to create more and more tensions between the people of China and the Russians, which would even lead to another world war. This was what prevented the United States from pursuing a more strict policy, and what eventually led to more tensions. (The Vietnam War)

Furthermore, the cultural differences between the U.S.A. And Vietnam were enormous and quite unbridgeable, because, for example, what was corrupt according to USA standards was not corrupt according to the standards being used by the South Vietnamese. USA was finding it quite a difficult proposition to term the South Vietnamese as being hardworking and honest when corruption was rampant, and dishonesty was the order of the day. What was even worse was that the leaders of South Vietnam were also demoralized, and whatever they did was more for personal gains than for anything else. The U.S.A. soon arrived at a decision seeing that there was nothing that would mobilize the troops and encourage them, and this was to take matters into their own hands. After this decision was made, the Americans started to send out so-called advisory troops into South Vietnam, and soon this became a huge commitment.

The then President Lyndon Johnson formed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that stated that the maintenance of peace and security and protecting the freedom of the peoples in the regions of Southeast Asia was the priority at the time for the Americans. The President did not want to halt the War, however, that was going on between the North and the South of Vietnam and since he did not want to go down in history as the first U.S. President to have lost a War, he handed over the responsibility to Richard M. Nixon, who also could not cope with all that the War entailed. The young men of the troops of America could not hope to survive in such an alien environment, and when it was obvious that the U.S.A. was highly demoralized, the decision was made to withdraw. Ceasefire was established in 1973, and soon the U.S. troops began to leave foe their own homelands. In the year 1975, North Vietnam captured South Vietnam, and the whole of Vietnam became united as one single entity, one single communist state. (The Vietnam War)

In essence, the events that led up to the Vietnam War are as follows: after the Second World War, the Communist Strategy had divided the four countries of China and Germany and Vietnam and Korea. Vietnam was in itself divided into two factions, the North and the South, the north being Communist, and the South being Republican. North Vietnam had fought for many years to overthrow the French government that was ruling it for several years before the world war. When the French were finally overthrown, and the Geneva Accord was signed authorizing the removal of French troops from Vietnamese soil, Vietnam became split up into North and South, and the United States of America sent out her troops to protect the world or at the very least, South Vietnam from being overwhelmed by a communist regime. The U.S.A. stationed her troops in South Vietnam, and this is how the U.S.A. entered the Vietnam War. (Background: www.bergen.org)

The term 'realism' is used so often and in so many different contexts that it is virtually impossible to define the term. However, theorists such as Waltz, Carr and Morgenthau state their own definitions of the word, but the problem here is that each person demonstrates their own focus on the particular issue. (Realism in International Relations) The term 'Realism' was coined by EH Carr in an attempt to analyze the underlying issues of the onset of the World War II. (Political Science 14 Notes) Realism is often considered to be an extremely complex and complicated theory by the scientists and the researchers who study them. At the core of the principle is the question of whether 'justice' must be applied, when carrying out international affairs.

A realist believes that moral principles such as justice must not be forced onto theories of War and the principles involved in maintaining international relations. A realist prefers to state that the issues of power and security must be given more importance that those of morals, and also that a given state must concentrate on developing its own self-interests, and that the world of international affairs is an arena in which to display their own power in a sort of anarchical regime. A realist also believes that the idea that War is in itself an anarchical thought since it involves the entire anarchical world system that relies on national self-interest, where once a war has begun, it is imperative that one must make all the necessary attempts to win the war. (War: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Therefore, during the war, all attempts must be made to keep up one's own self-interest, and all the other theories that purport justice or uphold theories of international law must be pushed into the background and ignored completely; it is this that would enable one to win the war, and winning the war is the ultimate goal of the war taking place. The fundamental interest in a war must lie in the upholding of one's own power and security, according to a realist. Some of the most popular realists down the ages are Thucydides, Hobbes, Henry Kissinger, and Kenneth Waltz. In the theory of realism, there are two distinct differences, one being that of descriptive realism, and the other being that of prescriptive realism. Descriptive realism is the theory that states that any state cannot or will not be able to behave in a moral manner, when there is a war. It cannot behave morally because of the severe competition involved in the fighting of a war, and it will not behave morally because it will not find sufficient motivation to do so.

Therefore, there cannot be any sort of moral discourses and discussions on the moral behavior of a state during the war, because it is not practical to do so. The concepts of morality and justice and so on will not matter or make the least bit of difference to…[continue]

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