North Vietnamese Policy under the American Threat

Gareth Porter

in Perils of Dominance

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780520239487
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940406 | DOI:
North Vietnamese Policy under the American Threat

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This chapter reviews the role of the global and regional balance of power in the evolution of North Vietnam's strategy in the South from 1954–1965. It illustrates how North Vietnamese concern about U.S. military intervention in Vietnam compelled Hanoi to accept political–diplomatic objectives falling far short of reunification. The Political Bureau developed its own distinct assessment of the global power balance that deemphasized the importance of the military balance between the two camps and played up the role of the worldwide “national liberation movement.” The debate over the 1964–1965 period revolved around whether North Vietnamese regular troops entered the South before or after the United States began its bombing of the North. Hanoi's offers to accept a long period of non-Communist rule in the South were not mere propaganda positions but accurately reflected the North Vietnamese leadership's assessment of the power balance both within the South and at the global level.

Keywords: North Vietnam; Hanoi; power balance; North Vietnamese policy; U.S. military intervention; national liberation movement; Political Bureau

Chapter.  14836 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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