S. involvement in Vietnam. The Truman doctrine basically institutionalized policy for the American military and foreign service. In government bureaucracies, it is easier to apply policy once it is institu-tionalized. In the cold war context, with anti-communist fervor having been whipped up by McCarthyism, the well-thought out Truman doctrine became the knee-jerk reaction that justified U.S. pre-sence in Vietnam (Baritz 43-131).
Baritz, who wrote Backfire, paints a picture of Presidential and high level in-competence and double-dealing as also being behind U.S. failure in Vietnam. For example, President Nixon is shown as double-dealing and making false promises a way of life that frustrated and outraged the North Vietnamese. After lying to and trying to manipulate the North Vietnamese, Nixon lost most of his credibility with the North Vietnamese. As a result, peace negotiations were unnecessarily difficult. Also, Nixon was playing politics in trying to balance his actions at the peace negotia-tions with a presidential election. In the process, Nixon managed to alienate both North and South Vietnam. At the same time, Nixon was also trying to take some of the luster off Henry Kissinger's popularity. And therefore, setting up a failure in the peace negotiations, which Kissinger participated in on behalf of the U.S. government, fit into Nixon's plans. Lies and breaking peace agreements with the North Vietnamese only prolonged the war and made for a U.S. military defeat instead of a negotiated peace that might have preserved South Vietnam. Hence, Baritz argues, a failure of America's leaders was at least partially responsible for America's failure in Vietnam. This failure of American policy and leadership helped bring about failure of the United States in Vietnam (Baritz 178-222).
In addition, Baritz points to problems in the high levels of the military. The military thought of everything as being a military problem and assumed that t...
United States failed in Vietnam. (2000, January 01). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 18:10, October 31, 2014, from http://www.collegetermpapers.com/viewpaper/1304194887.html