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Here's the rub. In 1973 Nixon was not wrong. He is only wrong _if_ his plan failed. So then we're back to square one: did Nixon think his plan would fail (at the time)? I think he did not think this--and I think there was no reason to think this, at the time. Another way of looking at it would be to say that the more than 58,000 US troops lost were _not_ lost "to no good purpose" when Nixon and Kissinger settled the war in 1973. There was hope. Only when the US Congress failed to follow up on Nixon's promises was Vietnam a loss. Not before. One may argue that Nixon had an unrealistic view of the sentiments in Congress, or of Nixon's own status in Government in relation to his rising problems (re: the collapse of executive authority as a result of Watergate--Kissinger). However, not many, especially Nixon, could have predicted Watergate unfolding as it did to effect a failure in his VN efforts the way it finally did. Unless you're cynical and believe in a vast left-wing conspiracy, I think past history would lead one to conclude that the Congress would support Vietnam as it was finally settled (i.e. no US forces on the ground--backed up with the threat of massive US air power). All that was needed now was funding (however much it took). And I would bet--I recall the impression--that Nixon felt Congress would not drop the ball. This would be victory of the sort the U.S. found in Germany and Korea, for example (past history). However, Congress effectively cut and ran--the world turned upside down. Nixon and Kissinger would not have known this outcome in 1973. This is my speculation apart from what Nixon and Kissinger have written which is simple and direct enough in my view. Of course, reading these items in the context of the larger books each has published offers an even clearer view of the processes and the thinking involved that brings about their conclusions. Rob MacNichol Irvine Valley College H-DIPLO [Rausch] wrote: >From: "Kaiser, David, Prof." <email@example.com> > > In a sense I do not disagree with Robert MacNichol that Nixon, at >least, "believed" what he wrote. What I am trying to say is that that >"belief" had within it a tremendous element of denial, necessary to avoid >the realization that they had prolonged the war for four years and nearly >doubled American casualties to no good purpose. The kind of men who >become Presidents and secretaries of state are not usually very good at >admitting they have been wrong. > One can observe something similar today; it seems to me that the >Bush administration would be better advised to drop the WMD issue from >their statements, but instead, they insist that they have been vindicated. >I don't think either Johnson, Nixon or Kissinger were ever prepared to >admit that the U.S. might have bitten off more than we could chew in >Vietnam, and it isn't surprising that Nixon and Kissinger wound up blaming >the Congress for the eventual South Vietnamese collapse. > >David Kaiser > > >