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. …show more content…
As opposed to the Realist theory which claims that there is no international order, the Economic Structuralist theory holds that the capitalist economic system acts as the force that curb a state’s activities (Kauppi, Viotti 35). One way of looking at the war through a Marxist lens is to consider how it started before the United States got involved. Vietnam was under French rule before WWII, and during the war the Japanese invaded the country as well. Growing tired of outside rule, Ho Chi Minh formed the League for the Independence of Vietnam, also known as the Viet Minh, to fight the French and the Japanese for Vietnam’s freedom (History.com Staff). With that being said, the start of the Vietnam War was rooted in a class struggle between the working-class Vietnam, and the colonial ruling-class of France. Once the Vietnamese overran the French regime, communism started to emerge. It is at this point that the United States, or the ruling-class, became interested in the idea of preventing the spread of communism in Vietnam. Another aspect of the war that is exemplified by the Economic Structuralist theory begins with the fact that Vietnam is a poor country. For the most part, the peasant Viet Cong guerillas that were fighting alongside the North Vietnamese …show more content…
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