Chapter

The irony of Vietnam

Michael Lumbers

in Piercing the Bamboo Curtain

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780719077784
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700808 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719077784.003.0005
The irony of Vietnam

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This chapter reviews the thawing of attitudes to Lyndon Baines Johnson's heightened interest in averting Chinese intervention in the conflict and to his attempts to mobilize public support for a frustratingly prolonged war by burnishing his peace credentials. A concluding section on the administration's simultaneous resistance to seating Beijing in the United Nations (UN) shows the tentative nature of this bridge-building and the obstacles that continued to impede bolder initiatives at this time. China's foreign-policy defeats had a contradictory impact on the administration's thinking. Johnson's aides continued to point to the threat of Chinese-inspired subversion as a major justification for the war in Vietnam. It was no coincidence that the high-water mark of policy innovation in 1966 fitted with Johnson's personal engagement with China strategy, a level of interest which hitherto had been lacking.

Keywords: Vietnam; Chinese intervention; Lyndon Baines Johnson; United Nations; Beijing; foreign policy; policy innovation

Chapter.  16461 words. 

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