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Nixon's Foreign Policy in Vietnam

Cambodia, Vietnamization, Hippies, Kent State, Jackson State

Andrew Kutchenriter

on 29 April 2011

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Transcript of Nixon's Foreign Policy in Vietnam

"Vietnamization" -Nixon argued that it was time for
the South Vietnamese to take more
responsibility in the war Nixon's Foreign Policy: The Vietnam War US Fatalities totaled 58,000 + soldiers
Vietnamese govt. estimates 2.0 M total deaths
Brutality of war spawns group called VVAW: Vietnam Vets Against the War Vietnamization reduced combat casualties, BUT... this would turn the prior U.S. foreign policy upside down.
Why? Nixon effectively revoked former policies of using the U.S. military to prevent Communism from spreading

Explanation: Nixon believed political costs of more US casualties was too great!!! Cambodia: You're Next! Nixon and Kissinger "still had a few tricks up their sleeves"
They reduced troop totals in Vietnam in 1969 BUT... also sought to defeat the North Vietnamese by destroying their supply lines and base camps in neighboring Cambodia

Result: We bombed Cambodia like there was no tomorrow
Spring of 1970: Nixon authorized a series of bombing raids
May 1970: New York Times reports Nixon worked behind Congress' back.
Nixon asserted Government officials were aware of his plans - this is the truth
Meanwhile... 1971: US military court martials Lt. William Cailey Jr. for his role in the Mai Lai Massacre of '69
This crime against humanity combined with the bombing of Cambodia incited rage back home... Kent State Massacre National guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds
Results: four students - dead; nine others - wounded
Jackson State: historically Black college in MS
Resultes: two students - dead; twelve others - wounded *(1971) 7,000 pg document leaked to the press called: Pentagon Papers
US govt. had not been honest about their intentions entering the war (credibility gap? yes!) - no exit strategy

Explanation: foreign policy disaster for the President; even though "Pentagon Papers" was an LBJ era mess Conclusion: NVA launch large scale attacks similar to TET offensive, seeking to capitalize on US morale woes
China trips, USSR trip, detente swing things back in our favor
Also, Kissinger had been meeting privately with North Vietnam's chief negotiator since 1969 1972: Christmas bombings
All chips were in place for complete US withdrawl
March 29, 1973: Last troops come home Aftermath: March 1975: Fall of Saigon
Vietnam vets struggle to re-enter American society
Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Washington, D.C., 1982
Khmer Rough (Communist) seize power in Cambodia (1975)
War Powers Act (1973) and the abolishment of the draft
Full transcript