Analyzing U S Diplomacy and the Cold War Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

President Nixon and his philosophy of sending weapons to countries fighting off communism without sending them troops.

Vietnam War

The second Indo-China War in 1954-1975, was the outcome of the long-standing conflict between Vietnam and France. Under the command of General Vo Nguyen Giap, nationalist forces trounced the allied French troops at the Dien Bien Phu remote mountain outpost located in the northwest part of Vietnam (Brigham). This defeat made the French to realize that they could not sustain their Indochinese colonies, which led to the call for peace by Paris. As both sides gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, international happenings were shaping Vietnam's future revolution.

The secret discussions started in the spring of 1968 in Paris and it soon became public knowledge that America and Vietnam were discussing how to bring the long and expensive war to an end. In spite of the progress made so far in Paris, the Democratic Party in the U.S. could not wrest the presidency from Republican candidate Richard Nixon who said he was planning to end the war secretly. But, it turned out that Nixon's secret plan was a continuance of strategic move from the last year Lyndon Johnson spent in office. The new president sustained a process known as Vietnamization, a terrible term that claimed that Vietnamese were neither fighting nor dying in Southeast Asia jungles. This strategy brought home the American troops while heightening the air war over DRV and depending more on the ARVN for Brigham ground attacks. Also, the Nixon years, witnessed the spread of the war to next door neighbors Cambodia and Laos, thereby violating the international rights these countries had in secret campaigns, as the White House desperately tried to oust the Communist sanctuaries and supply routes.

The strong bombing campaigns and incursion into Cambodia in late April 1970 evoked serious campus protests all over America. National Guardsmen, who were invited to maintain order on campus after several days of anti-Nixon protests, killed four students in Kent State in Ohio. There were shocks all over the nation as several students at the Jackson State in Mississippi were shot and killed for political reasons invoking the public wrath, such as a mother cry out saying that their babies were being killed in Vietnam and even at their backyard.

Diplomatic Doctrine

The 1969 Nixon Doctrine brought in a new approach where the United States tried to place a limit of military commitments, especially of the ground deployed forces in Asia. Nakasone Yasuhiro seized this departure as an opportunity to clamor for autonomous defense that puts the Mutual Security Treaty of 1960 at risk. Nevertheless, Premier Sat? viewed the treaty as the cornerstone for the relationship between Japan and the United States and very instrumental in ensuring the security of Japan and Northeast Asia. These divergent views affected the security relationship between Japan and the United States (Hoey, 2012). Conversely, America sought to coerce and put pressure on Japan to take charge of more of the burden of defense, while on the other hands, the elite in Japan resisted this pressure for fear of alienating and distressing both the Japanese public and their neighbors. The combined effect of Nakasone's posturing and Nixon Doctrine on autonomous defense posed a major threat on both the postwar consensus on defense and the ties Japan had with the United States. Eventually, however, they were unable to undermine the consensus, to linger on for long (even after the Cold War ended).

The Effects

On July 25, during a stopover in Guam, the president made an announcement that was later known as the Nixon Doctrine, a pillar for his foreign policies. According to him, the United States would lend support to any democratic third world nation by giving them both military and financial aid, but no troops. In October, same year, Nixon ordered a ceasefire in Vietnam and a unilateral withdrawal of American troops. His overture was refused by Hanoi, but Nixon went ahead with his Vietnamization-giving support to south Vietnam with both money and equipment while pulling out American troops from the war gradually (Foreign Affairs. Nixon. WGBH American Experience). In February 1969, Nixon began to woo China by sending secret signals of approach through the third party nations like Romania and Pakistan. Publicly, less dramatic approaches were taken by residents, and asked William Rogers, the then Secretary of States to pronounce that the United States were in support of increased scientific and cultural exchanges with the People's Republic of China.

At first, the president's moves did not yield much success, but he persisted with the doctrine. During 1969 spring and summer, Chinese and Soviet troops repeatedly clashed along the border between these two nations. Kissinger was of the opinion that the Chinese were afraid of the Soviets, and that there were possibilities of pushing China towards the United States with the clashes and may help restrain the Soviet Union. Nixon and Kissinger were simply playing global power politics (Foreign Affairs. Nixon. WGBH American Experience).

Effectually, they were trying to balance China against the U.S.S.R. while intimidating the two. However, Nixon understood that he needed to make concessions if he was to get China to accede to his policies.

Earlier on, he took calculated steps to reduce the anti-China gimmicks emanating from the White House, simplified visa and trade restrictions between the United States and China, and started withdrawing troops from both Vietnam and the towns close to China.

Since 1949, the meeting between American and Chinese athletes marked the first most remarkable cultural exchange between the two countries, the ping-pong diplomacy seemed exciting to Americans, and increased Nixon's chances of convincing voters believe that America had better relations with China. Perhaps, more significantly, the warm relationship and growing proximity between the United States and China forced the Soviets warm up their relationship with U.S. From 1949 when the soviets developed their own atomic bomb, they engaged with the United States in the quest for nuclear superiority (Foreign Affairs. Nixon. WGBH American Experience).

John F. Kennedy, in 1963, sealed an agreement with Great Britain and Russia to reduce atmospheric testing of all nuclear weapons, but no other significant treaty had been signed. As an alternative to this arm race, Nixon made a proposal to the Soviets that the two countries settle for a strategic parity in nuclear arms. If each side had enough arms to destroy the other side, none of them would avoid starting a war, and the peace would be maintained. Since Nixon's administration began, however, there has been very slow progress in the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). Working through the back channels most times, and mostly through Kissinger, Nixon repeatedly tried to have a kind of agreement with the Soviets-with very little success. However, with better United States-China relationship, the Soviets became apprehensive of the threat posed by the combined might as an outcome of Sino-American treaty. About a month subsequent to this ping-pong diplomacy, Nixon proclaimed another triumph -- the Soviets had consented to working out a treaty related to antiballistic missiles within a year.

At this time when the United States armed forces are overburdened due to their multiple engagements elsewhere, could a modern version of the Nixon Doctrine help resolve some of the most strategic problems America is facing now? The Cold War context from the Nixon Doctrine is long gone, but some circumstances confronting the U.S. today makes comparing 1969 and 2009 seem disconcertingly appropriate (Gholz, 2009). Some experts and pundits have, unerringly, drawn parallels between the lingering, politically contentious counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Vietnam struggle during the Nixon era.


The Nixon Doctrine has a few disadvantages. The Nixon Doctrine fails to give explanation to how America's partners should contribute to the security of America, except they do so indirectly by sharing their defense burdens. Neither does this doctrine reveal to American leaders how they are to choose their partners, except by giving an indirect description of the situations in which the United States will play no role in making provision for the defense of its partners. Nonetheless, as a group of guidelines for American alliance diplomacy, the Nixon Doctrine provides a rational way forward, with some lessons for the United States regarding relationships with South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Iraq, Western Europe, and for that matter, even Afghanistan (which has even made less progress in terms of making provision for stability and peace than Iraq) (Gholz, 2009). The doctrine makes the most realistic recommendations for making adjustments in the relationship between the United States and former nations, but sadly, the most pressing demand for clear direction comes in the final cases.

The doctrine, at the same time also has certain embedded advantages. In Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States does not have effective local allies, which complicates all efforts to apply the principle that the nation facing the direct threat should take responsibility for the provision of the needed defense manpower. Nevertheless, after fighting Al-Qaeda terrorist activities in these two nations,…

Sources Used in Documents:


Brigham, R. (n.d.). PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. Battlefield: Vietnam -- History. Retrieved January 24, 2016, from

Gholz, E. (2009, July 22). World Politics Review -- Analysis of international affairs and global trends. The Nixon Doctrine in the 21st Century. Retrieved January 25, 2016, from

Hoey, F. (2012). The Nixon Doctrine and Nakasone Yasuhiro's Unsuccessful Challenge to Japan's Defense Policy, 1969-1971. Journal of American-East Asian Relations, 19(1), 52-74. Retrieved, from

PBS: Public Broadcasting Service (n.d.). Foreign Affairs. Nixon. WGBH American Experience -- PBS. Retrieved January 25, 2016, from

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