American Intervention In Vietnam War Essay Research

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American Intervention In Vietnam War Essay, Research Paper American Intervention in Vietnam Respectfully Submitted by Bijal Shah SS# 269-86-3479 Hist 382-101 During the Cold War, the United States of America was determined to act as the superior nation in the world. They believed that every country was inferior to them in regards to military power, economic stability and moral beliefs. After the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy, the Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson took over in Washington. He was pressured to follow through on the late President’s programs and policies on Vietnam which involved the demonstration of America’s strength and responsibility. It is believed that American intervention in Vietnam was caused by structural weakness in the National

Security Council and not enough attention to long- range policy planning. In addition, Johnson’s inexperience and naivety regarding foreign policy and the positive belief of creating a perfect world. A main cause of American involvement was the weakness of the mechanism for determining the framework of foreign policy. The establishment of the National Security Council came about in 1947. It was to bridge the gulf between considerations of foreign policy and considerations of the military force which was to conduct external relations.1 Apparently, the U.S.A. had had no central authority that linked the organizations of the Military Services and the State Department. As a result, the government decided that in order to be successful in international affairs the two groups had to

basically work together. The NSC ensured detailed coordination of all major factors of U.S. foreign policy decisions.2 It was odd that both President Truman and Eisenhower had success with this organization and when Kennedy came to office he decided to change it. He preferred to rely on small groups to be responsible for policy formation and execution therefore, he was more “comfortable…with a broad knowledge of foreign affairs and a strong distaste for being hemmed in by too much organization”.3 This informal system carried serious dangers of insufficient coordination, as the travesty at the Bay of Pigs soon showed and Johnson was unfortunate to inherit it.4 Lyndon Johnson had many extremely important decisions to make when he was in office. The fragmented NSC was not an

efficient instrument since he had to conclude whether or not to continue supporting Vietnam militarily and economically. Our large-scale military entry into the Vietnam War in early 1965 reflected the gradual consideration of interrelated issues, and that this was the natural consequence of a fragmented NSC and a general inattention to long-range policy planning. Consultation, even knowledge of the basic facts, was confined to a tight circle of presidential advisors, and there appears to have been little systematic debate outside that group.5 The White-House was primarily for action or reaction and not a place for reflective thought on difficult long-term problems, this was a result for an absence of comprehensive policy analysis.6 The Policy Planning Staff, during the years of

1961- 1966 tried to figure out a possible solution through the National Policy Papers. These papers set down responsible lines of policy for the U.S. government to follow. Apparently, the principal department heads, Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, were unwilling to spend the personal time required to reach any agreement and furthermore, no one would take the time to read or endorse the Papers. The general inattention to long-range policy planning is demonstrated by the decisions and actions that marked the large-scale military entry into the Vietnam War in early 1965 which reflected the piecemeal consideration of interrelated issues.7 The United States was determined that bombing North Vietnam was a method of maintaining the conflict within