Reasons For United States Involvement In The Vietnam War

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As leadership in Cambodia shifted support more towards the US, Nixon ordered a bombing campaign along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border to target PAVN and NLF forces. In 1970, when the Cambodian government threatened the PAVN and NLF to leave the country within 72 hours, the communist Vietnamese responded by launching an attack against Cambodian forces. This attack was quickly repelled by a joint attack by the US and AVRN forces, who destroyed numerous communist strongholds along the South Vietnamese border. 1n 1971, the AVRN, backed by US air support, carried out a rapid offensive into Laos, called Lam Son 719, to disrupt a portion of the Ho Chi Minh trail, but were faced with fierce resistance from the PAVN. Supplied with artillery and armored …show more content…
Containment originally began as a strategy pitched by US diplomat George Kennan to keep the Soviet Union from increasing communist influence in Eastern Europe. Per Kennan, the Soviets saw themselves in a constant state of war with capitalism, use fellow Marxists as allies, were aggressive due to a Russian tradition of xenophobia, and had a government that showed an inaccurate view of the inside and outside society. Although Kennan later went back on his containment policy and stated that the Soviets should be contained not "by military means of a military threat, but the political containment of a political threat," (Kennan 1983, 358) containment has already become a part of President Truman’s US foreign policy. During the Johnson administration, Johnson remained committed to upholding containment policy and keeping South Vietnam free from communist influence. Earlier in his political career, Johnson believed in containment policy and the idea that if one country in a region fell to communism, the neighboring nations are likely to follow suit. As President, he felt very conscious of history and did not want to be remembered as a President who lost Southeast Asia to Communism. (Miller Center of Public Affairs, Univerity of Virginia …show more content…
The policy was described as a program to "expand, equip, and train South Vietnam 's forces and assign to them an ever-increasing combat role, at the same time steadily reducing the number of U.S. combat troops." (Historical Office: Office of the Secretary of Defense n.d.) Nixon wanted to veer away from containment policy and instead prioritized détente with the Soviet Union and China. The war itself had already grown very unpopular with the American public, especially after the Tet Offensive in 1968, and members of the press were viewing a stalemate as the best possible outcome for the war. Public trust for the government declined because, up until that point, the NLF was portrayed as being incapable of being able to mount such a well-coordinated and massive attack. Americans felt that, up to that point, the information being reported by the government about the war was being altered to show a more optimistic outlook of the war. Nixon responded to the situation by holding a televised speech on Vietnamization with an emphasis on withdrawing the troops as soon as possible. As the war dragged on, the unpopularity of the war caused Congress to act against Nixon by passing legislation to stop US involvement in the region. In 1973, the Case-Church Amendment was introduced into Congress to prohibit US military activity in Indochina without Congressional

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