Feb 22nd - Detente and Vietnam-1

Feb 22nd - Detente and Vietnam-1 - February 22 Dtente and...

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February 22 Détente and Vietnam John Lewis Gaddis. “Implementing Flexible Response: Vietnam as Test Case; Nixon, Kissinger, and Détente”, from Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of American National Security Policy During the Cold War - flexible response, leaders implement without a real strategy - war did not save S. Vietnam, did not deter aggression, did not enhance credibility of US commitments to elsewhere in the world and did not prevent recriminations at home. - Eisenhower’s inability to deal with comparable problems led to flexible response, then followed by Kennedy and most closely by Johnson - US defeat was caused by belief that defense of Southeast Asia was crucial to maintaining world order - Kennan stressed different levels of feasible response. Kennedy and Johnson make no distinctions and seek to maintain global balance of power by political, economic, military and psychological leverage - Kennan had hoped to harness nationalism to contain expanding power and influence of the Soviet Union - NSC-68 shifted perception of threat from Soviet Union to international communist movement - Involved deterring aggression and required justifying American commitment to South Vietnam - Failure of flexible response: expansion of means to honor commitment, justification of that commitment in terms of balance of power, defense of policies of destructive credibility and search for domestic consensus. Threats and responses became interests themselves. US forget what it set out to do in Vietnam in the first place. - flexible response designed to calibrate or fine tuning, by being able to move up and down a range of precisely calculated actions, believing the US could deter aggression w/o extreme escalation or humiliation.
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