Chapter

Introduction

Andrew L. Johns

in Vietnam’s Second Front

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780813125725
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135427 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5810/kentucky/9780813125725.003.0001
Introduction

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The Greek historian Thucydides grieved the tendency for those in charge of the Greek city-states to allow domestic political considerations to affect questions of national security. Had Thucydides lived 2000 years later, he could have written virtually the same words about the American experience in Vietnam. The nexus of domestic politics and foreign policy defined the US commitment to South Vietnam, shaped American policies, and fundamentally influenced decision making and choices in both the executive and the legislative branches. Decision makers have a strong aversion to admitting that domestic political calculations play any role in the policies they craft and the choices they make. In their study of the Vietnam conflict, Leslie Gelb and Richard Betts argue that domestic politics “is a dirty phrase in the inner sanctums of foreign policymaking.”

Keywords: Vietnam; America; policies; myth; Greek historian; Thucydides

Chapter.  4218 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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