The American Experience of the Vietnam War
Christal K. Jones
August 15¸ 2013
Introduction The Vietnam War lasted close to twenty years; the American experience help to put into perspective, the complex lessons that the United States military and its leadership should have learned from their involvement in this war. This paper will discuss some of the lessons learned from the following arenas: diplomatic negotiations, presidential leadership, and cultural/social contexts. In addition, wearing the historian’s hat that is necessary and greatly appreciated, this writer will discuss personal lessons learned in this course.
Diplomatic Negotiations Oxford Dictionary of the U.S Military (2013) defines diplomatic negotiations as “the profession, activity or skill of managing international relations, typically by a country’s representatives abroad”. The main lesson learned concerning diplomacy begins and ends with the need to effectively communicate with all parties involved, friends and foes alike. Most of the military leaders and the presidents alike resorted to using tactics such as financial aid, military tactics including air assaults and bombing in the place of diplomatic negotiations. According to Moss (2010), “U.S. officials reluctantly participated in the Geneva conference; they would have much preferred that there be no political solution to the Indochina War” (pg. 37). Because neither the Americans nor the Vietmese ever committed to “talking it out”, a deadlock involving effective communications caused the death of millions, thus prolonging a war that was virtually impossible to win.
Presidential Leadership The Leadership styles of each president varied greatly from one to another; therefore, the Vietnam War was passed along like a hot potato, from Truman down to the Ford administration. They all wanted to win the war; each implemented strategies they hoped would assure a win which included military training
References: Moss, G. D. (2010). Vietnam: An American ordeal (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc Retrieved August 15, 2013 from http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/diplomatic?q=diplomatic