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War and Peace in Indochina: US Asian and Pacific Policies

Marek Thee
Journal of Peace Research
Vol. 10, No. 1/2 (1973), pp. 51-70
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/422710
Page Count: 20
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War and Peace in Indochina: US Asian and Pacific Policies
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Abstract

Drawing largely on the Pentagon Study and other documentary evidence, the paper tries to trace the evolution in the post World War II period of the US imperial drive to the shores of Asia, and especially the historical record of the US Indochina involvement. Stress is laid on motivation and the driving forces behind the US engagement, particularly the political, strategical and economic interests. The paper analyzes the political strategy of the Nixon Administration and points to the continuity of US Pacific policies during the last five Administrations. There has been only discontinuity in strategies, various Administrations trying to tackle the difficulties encountered from different angles and with different political and military instruments. Doubt is expressed if the Nixon strategy - which in fact means a return to traditional great power diplomacy in the spirit of the XIX century - could produce a lasting peace. A lasting resolution of the Indochina conflict would require the fulfilment of two basic conditions: (1) to relieve tension in the inner circle of conflict by satisfying the social and national aspirations of the Indochinese peoples, i.e. stopping outside intervention and allowing the national movements freely to shape the fate of the Indochinese nations; and (2) to eliminate conflict in the outer circle by making the area free of great power rivalry, especially in the military field, i.e. neutralization of the region. Some concluding remarks are offered concerning the nature and dynamics of the US Indochina involvement. Pure profit motives could hardly account for this ruinous undertaking. Among the determinants for this drive are new elements of a world power balance, new attributes usurped by the executive bureaucracy, and new domestic and world domination patterns. Attention is drawn to the realively autonomous role of the superstructure. There is a need for further studies of the fabric, structure, and dynamics of these new phenomena in order effectively to confront them.

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