The Vietnam War was and is still considered the longest deployment of the U.S military in the history of U.S wars. It took place when John F. Kennedy was in power in the 1960’s. Over two thousand military soldiers were deployed to the South Vietnam where the number increased gradually over time.
President John Kennedy’s intention was to preserve an independent as well as a non communist state in South Vietnam but failed to do so due to the harsh resistance that he faced. The U.S, headed by president Dwight D. Eisenhower was unable to neither contain nor regulate small unit and terrorist attacks that were being carried out by troops popularly known as Vietcong (Brocheux, 2007).
A diplomatic negotiation is a term used to describe the process where different countries carry out a dialogue with the aim of generating a consensus. During the talks that preceded the Vietnam War, an agreement appeared to have been reached by the negotiating parties, or so it seemed. The sham peace deals and fabricated diplomatic dialogues bore no fruit but resulted to false results and hope. The war took a turn for the worse when U.S. reinforced its military grip and they dug their claws deeper into North Vietnam.
It was the year 1967 that beckoned the birth of the failed negotiations that would result in massive losses to both parties involved in the Vietnam War. However, the real trouble begun brewing two years earlier. In 1965, the year that the last of the rational diplomatic negotiations appeared to have taken place, Premier Pham Van Dong established the four point program that sought to weaken the hold of the U.S on Vietnam (Palmer, 1978).
The recommendations appeared to bring bad taste in the mouths of those in U.S., and they did not let the moment slip right through their fingers. They retaliated by saying that the recommendations were undemocratic as they insinuated that the National Liberation Force was the only representative of the Vietnamese People. At this point, no agreement could be reached and both parties resorted to taking matters into their own hands (Herring, 1979).
The Vietnam War seemed to have begun with the ‘honorable’ intentions of serving the American people’s interests but as is the case with any war, its brutal aftermath brought about both cultural and social devastation among people. It brought about social unrest among students and the young activists who frantically campaigned for the end of the killing of innocent persons in Vietnam (Moss, 2010).
In the U.S., the deep hatred for the way the war had been conducted and the way it had ended caused the people to give a cold welcome to their troops as they came back from the war. The war also caused the American people to lose faith in their leaders when they learned that Lyndon Johnson had lied to them regarding the war.
Back in Vietnam, the war had catalyzed the defeat of the South and its subsequent absorption by the North which had been persistently seeking to impose its will on the South. Millions of Vietnamese were killed, displaced and some were even completely disabled as a result of the war.
To date, vast acres of land still remain wasted as they were destroyed by the poisonous herbicides that were used during the war and the government of Vietnam still struggles to cope with the needs of its people (Moss, 2010). In a nut shell, the Vietnam War brought more harm than good both to the people of America as well as the Vietnamese.
Presidential leadership during the Vietnam War can be explained in ways such as the ethics and efforts that were put to ensure that peace was restored.
President Kennedy had been advised by France president Charles de Gaulle that he would not succeed even if he injected more funds and soldiers into North Vietnam. In the period between 1961 and 1963 his military advisors had requested him to send combat divisions instead of the so called advisors to aid the Diem government.
President Kennedy was in support of a coup where Diem together with his brother died. However, he did not last long in the war as he was assassinated three weeks later. Lyndon Johnson took over and was in power when the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution took place. He sent the first combat troops to Vietnam with hope that North Vietnam would give up and surrender to peace talks.
Richard Nixon succeeded Johnson by claiming he had a secret plan to the war. He intended to train South Vietnamese and slowly pulling out American troops (Neale, 2001). Vietnam was headed by Eisenhower who reigned from 1953 to 1961. He did not support the Geneva Accords that were between Vietnam and France thus, led to the division of the country into two, North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
South Vietnam was ruled by Ngo Dinh Diem who won the elections and later on claimed that his country was under communist attack. This marked the beginning of the Vietnam War in 1957 and Diem imprisoned all those who were suspected to belong to the communist and this led to demonstrations and protests (Brocheux, 2007).
In conclusion, both the U.S. and the Vietnam governments have a lot to ponder regarding the outcome of the Vietnam War. Years have gone, but people are still agonizing from the effects of the war. Proper negotiations and good governance should be embraced before any war is embarked on, in order to avoid a repeat of what was witnessed during the Vietnam War.
Brocheux, P. (2007). Ho Chi Minh: a biography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Herring, C. (1979). America’s longest war: the United States and Vietnam 1950–1975 New York: Wiley publishers.
Moss, G. (2010). Vietnam: An American Ordeal (6th Ed). Upper Saddle River (NJ): Prentice Hall.
Neale, J. (2001). The American War. London: Bookmarks.
Palmer, D. (1978). Summons of the Trumpet: U.S.-Vietnam in Perspective. Novato: Presidio Press.