U S History and Foreign Policy  Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

The events leading to the Vietnam conflict were determined by the administration in place at that time (VIETNAM CONFLICT (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War).

Initially it was decided that Vietnam would be occupied by Chinese and British troops and that they would supervise the surrender of Japan.

In 1960 Hanoi instructed the southern communists to establish an organization called the national liberation front. The purpose of this organization was to overthrow the government of the south. The organization was made up of two groups. The intellectuals of the South and who opposed the foundation of the government of South Viet Nam and the communists who had remained in the south after the partition.

The Di-m government was initially able to cope with the insurgency with the aid of U.S. advisers, and by 1962 seemed to be winning. Senior U.S. military leaders were receiving positive reports from the U.S. commander, Gen. Paul D. Harkins of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. U.S. President John F. Kennedy had increased the number of American "advisers" in the belief that he could duplicate the success of British counterinsurgency warfare in Malaya (VIETNAM CONFLICT (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War).The competing countries in the Cold War -- the United States on South Vietnam's side, the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China on North Vietnam's side -- became increasingly involved, and what had begun as a domestic insurgency began to become internationalized. In 1963, a communist offensive that began with the Battle of Ap Bac inflicted major losses on South Vietnamese army units. This was the first large-scale battle since Dien Bien Phu, a major departure from the assassinations and guerrilla activities that had preceded it (VIETNAM CONFLICT (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War)."

In 1963 the state department of the U.S. began to encourage a coup. At this time Diem was increasingly and significantly unpopular with his own people because of his administration's nepotism and corruption.

Washington legislators began to doubt that Diem would ever be able to defeat the communists because of the anger his own people were directing toward him in light of the corruption that was being seen in his administration.

It was not long before the Washington administrators began to fear that Diem would in fact make a deal with the communist faction and then the control of the entire nation would be communist.

This was during a time in American history when the mention of communism struck fear in the hearts of everyone who resided here.

In November, 1963, the U.S. embassy in Saigon indicated to coup plotters that they would not oppose the removal of Diem from power. The South Vietnamese President was overthrown by a military coup and was later executed along with Nhu. Another brother was subsequently assassinated by the new government. After the coup President Kennedy appeared to be genuinely shocked and dismayed by the assassinations, however top CIA officials were surprised that Kennedy didn't appear to have understood that this was a possible outcome (VIETNAM CONFLICT (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War)."

The Kennedy administration continued to become frustrated with Diem. He was eventually assassinated however. Three weeks after his assassination United States president Kennedy was also assassinated.

President Johnson took over and immediately sent William Westmoreland to succeed Paul Harkins as commander of the United States Army in Vietnam. He did this in June of 1964. Under Westmoreland's eye the troops increased from 16,000 in 1964 to more than half a million four years later.

There were also more than 5,000 military advisors ordered to Vietnam. This significant increase in power and troops concerned the public but was justified on the basis of the Gulf Tonkin Incident of 1964.

It was during this incident that the president claimed that the United States Navy ships had been attacked by North Vietnamese troops. This was a claim that is debated even today.

On the basis of the alleged attack the U.S. Senate approved the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on 7 August 1964, giving broad support to President Johnson to escalate U.S. involvement "as the President shall determine" without actually declaring war. The resolution passed unanimously in the House of Representatives and was opposed in the Senate only by Wayne Morse of Oregon and Ernest Gruening of Alaska. In a televised speech, Morse declared that history would show that he and Gruening were serving "the best interests of the American people." In a separate televised address, President Johnson argued that "the challenge that we face in Southeast Asia today is the same challenge that we have faced with courage and that we have met with strength in Greece and Turkey, in Berlin and Korea, in Lebanon and in Cuba (VIETNAM CONFLICT (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War)." National Security Council members, including Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, and Maxwell Taylor, agreed on November 28, 1964, to recommend that Johnson adopt a plan for a two-stage escalation of bombing in North Vietnam (VIETNAM CONFLICT (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War)."

When the United States decided to increase its involvement in the conflict other nations began to draw lines in the sand and take sides ether for or against that decision.

It was a conflict that would last 13 years and one that is still debated in classrooms and living rooms with a vengeance.

4. Samantha Power discusses several issues of human rights since the 1970s. Select one of these issues on-Cambodia, Rwanda, or Bosnia and explain what policies the United States pursued and the limitations of American and other outside actions.

According to Samantha Power there are many issues of human rights that have been escalated since the 1970s. One of the more pressing issues for her has been Bosnia.

Power has spent a good portion of her career exploring Bosnia an the troubles that it has to deal with. She is extremely bothered by what she perceived to be a refusal on the part of the United States to step in and handle the issues there.

The biggest issue that is in need of addressing according to Power is the genocide that is occurring. She writes in her books and articles about the fact that many Bosnian's Cambodians and others are being routinely killed for nothing more than their heritage or their nationality.

According to her Power there is a pattern of political ignorance. Powers believes after being there for years that the United States could have done a lot to help stop the genocide that occurs, however, instead the United States choose to ignore it and not say anything against its occurrence.

While she concludes that the United States would not be able to single-handedly stop genocide in Bosnia she believes that with an effort the U.S. could have made a difference and gotten other nations to join forces and get it halted all together.

5. What were the major issues of American foreign policy in the 1950s? Justify your response by addressing the significance of each.

During the 1950's the United States Foreign Policy focused on two issues, helping nations rebuild after World War II and containment of anything that smacked of communism.

It was during this time that the United States approached the idea of containment where the Soviet Union was concerned. Though the Soviet Union was weakened by the war the United States had concerns that it would begin to take over more of Europe and become a strong superpower to be dealt with. The U.S. decided that containment was the answer. Containment of the Soviet Union did not please the Soviet Union.

The U.S. decided that anything that could be construed of communism must be contained at that time.

In addition to trying to contain any nation or government that refused to give up its communist roots or tendencies the United States foreign policy also focused on helping other nations rebuild.

Something else that fell under the wing of foreign policy for the United States during the 1950's was the policy about arms. Following World War II the United States came to believe it was important to develop and construct arms that would be able to overpower any other nation on earth. The arms race had been in gear but it was kicked into high gear as the nation watched the Soviet Union and other nations work to try and catch up. The dedication to arms building in that time frame has not been matched since then but during that decade it was an important part of the nation's foreign policy.

The United States believed as long as it had more destructive weapons than the foreign countries did then it would always hold its place as the strongest most powerful nation on earth.

The events of 9-11 removed that confidence for good.

References

CONTAINMENT of SOVIET UNION

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/19870301faessay7847/george-f-kennan/containment-40-years-later-containment-then-and-now.html

An Outline of American History (1994) http://www.let.rug.nl/~usa/H/1994/ch11_p5.htm

CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS

http://library.thinkquest.org/11046/days/index.html

VIETNAM CONFLICT http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War

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