Romney and foreign policy

Print Friendly and PDF

An excellent article by Bruce Thornton was posted last month at www.victorhanson.com: “What Does Romney Really Think About Vietnam? ” In it, Thornton addresses the historically inaccurate narrative about what really happened in that war – here is one of his paragraphs broken up for easier reading and the bolding of some of the text was done by me:

What that history now shows us is that resisting Communist aggression in Vietnam was a “necessary war,” as Michael Lind calls it, a critical Cold-War duel that enforced the doctrine of containment of Soviet aggression.

Thus if Romney thinks that subsequent events “proved” that intervention wrong, he’s on the wrong side of history. Indeed, there were “errors” made under General Westmoreland in the conduct of the war.

But after the Tet Offensive of 1968 ended in disaster for the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong, and after General Creighton Abrams replaced Westmoreland and instituted effective counter-insurgency and Vietnamization programs, the tide turned. By 1972, the war was as good as won, as ambassador to South Vietnam Ellsworth Bunker said.

American troops were coming home, the communist guerrillas in the South had been neutralized, the countryside was pacified, political and economic reforms were taking hold, and an improved South Vietnamese army was in a position to defend the country as long as the South Vietnamese received aid and air support from the US to counterbalance the resources provided the North by China and the Soviet Union, which had made the Army of North Vietnam the fifth largest in the world.

But a Democratic controlled Congress in June 1973 passed the Case-Church amendment to the Defense Appropriation bill, which prohibited any further American military involvement in Vietnam after August 1973. Further legislation cut funding and planned to end all assistance in 1976. Left helpless before the combined might of North Vietnam, China, and the Soviet Union, South Vietnam was quickly overrun in 1975. The Congressional abandonment of South Vietnam was the fatal error of the war that squandered that victory.

I’d recommend the reading of chapter 10 in the book  “Carnage and Culture” to anyone who wants to learn more.

 

Print Friendly and PDF