A PEACE DENIED: The United States, Vietnam and the Paris Agreement by Gareth Porter

A PEACE DENIED: The United States, Vietnam and the Paris Agreement

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Why did diplomatic efforts, ending in the 1973 Paris Accords, fail to end the Vietnam war? Porter, co-director of the Indochina Resource Center, blames repeated U.S. rejection of North Vietnamese proposals for a political settlement. The Vietnamese always tried negotiations before turning to war, Porter says, both to broaden their base of support and because they understood their inability to achieve total military victory. The U.S. ""hard line"" was based on a desire to make Vietnam a model of successful counterinsurgency, discouraging other guerrilla movements. While domestic public opinion eventually forced the U.S. to go to the negotiating table, Nixon sought to win concessions from Hanoi by demonstrating a willingness to escalate. Even after the Paris Agreements, American refusal to abandon Thieu for a broad coalition government allowed Saigon to block the treaty's implementation, ironically leading to a complete Communist victory. Candidly pro the North Vietnamese, Porter does not take into account the fact that they sought a settlement which would further their aim of taking over the South just as the U.S. and Saigon would only approve solutions which would check Hanoi's advances. While Porter must be read critically, his book is valuable as a penetrating critique of U.S. intransigence.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1975
Publisher: Indiana Univ. Press