Examples Of Realism In The Vietnam War

1202 Words 5 Pages
Savannah Dye
Short Paper #1
October 5, 2016
The Vietnam War Through the Looking Glass Although the Vietnam War technically began in 1954, its escalation in the early 1960’s sparked U.S. involvement (History.com Staff). The Cold War set the stage for the Vietnam War because the United States entered not only in hopes of liberating the South Vietnamese from the North, but to also contain the spread of communism in Southeast Asia. On one side of the conflict, you have South Vietnam and the United States as its only ally. On the other side of the arena, North Vietnam is fighting alongside the Viet Cong guerilla force. This paper will analyze the Vietnam War using two different international relations theories: Realism and Economic Structuralism.
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Military strength is what constitutes power looking through a Realist lens. The Vietnam War was the longest deployment of troops that the United States has seen thus far, and the military presence was full force for the majority of the conflict. “President John F. Kennedy 's decision to send over 2,000 military advisers to South Vietnam in 1961 marked the beginning of twelve years of American military combat” (Anderson). By 1969 the U.S. deployed over 500,000 troops to South Vietnam, which was the most troops that had been deployed by the U.S. up to that point (History.com Staff). Not only did the U.S. deploy more than enough troops to South Vietnam, “the US dropped more than eight million tons of explosives” that was “three times as much as the total tonnage dropped by all belligerents during the whole of the Second World War” (Faulkner). Since Realism has a very pessimistic view of human nature, it can be concluded that there is no room for morality when analyzing conflicts through a Realist lens. The relentless bombings that occurred during the Vietnam war are an example of this, because it is an act of war that killed millions of soldiers and civilians (Faulkner). Going along with the bombings, the …show more content…
Nixon announced his plan of “Vietnamization”, which was essentially the United States gradually handing the reins back fully to the South Vietnamese so that the U.S. could formally disengage. In January 1973, the United States, North Vietnam, and the Viet Cong signed the Paris Peace Accords which ended the conflict between the two states (History.com Staff). The Realist approach suggests that the war escalated because the United States wanted to further its international power position relative to that of the Soviet Union’s. The Economic Structuralist approach might indicate that the war began out of a class struggle between the capitalist French and the working-class Vietnamese, while they might also say that the conflict arose due to the fact that the United States exploited Vietnam because of their economic

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