The Vietnam War: A Study in the Making of American Policy

Overview

The war in Vietnam achieved almost none of the goals the American decision-makers formulated, and it cost more than 56,000 American lives. Yet, until recently, Americans have preferred to ignore the causes and consequences of this disaster by treating the war as an aberration in United States foreign policy, an unfortunate but unique mistake.

What are the ""lessons"" of Vietnam? Many previous discussions have focused on narrow or misleading questions, rehashing military ...

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1985-08 Hardcover Very Good. Good DJ Good DJ. Blue boards. Clean and unmarked tight pages, volume is square with light wear to covers. Dustjacket chipped and rubbed on edges. ... Price sticker on inside front flap of dustjacket. Read more Show Less

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Overview

The war in Vietnam achieved almost none of the goals the American decision-makers formulated, and it cost more than 56,000 American lives. Yet, until recently, Americans have preferred to ignore the causes and consequences of this disaster by treating the war as an aberration in United States foreign policy, an unfortunate but unique mistake.

What are the ""lessons"" of Vietnam? Many previous discussions have focused on narrow or misleading questions, rehashing military decisions, for example, or offering blow-by-blow accounts of Washington infighting, or castigating foreign-policy decision-makers. Michael Sullivan undertakes instead a broad and systematic treatment of the American experience in Vietnam, using a variety of theoretical perspectives to study several aspects of that experience, including the decision-making process and decision-makers' perceptions of the war; public opinion and ""mood"" before, during, and after the war; and the Vietnam War in relation to the Cold War and to power structures and patterns of violence in the international system.

The major goal of The Vietnam War: A Study in the Making of American Policy is to show that the American experience, not only in Vietnam but elsewhere in the world, must be understood as an integral part of the processes of both American foreign policy and international politics. Sullivan demonstrates the importance of using a variety of empirical and quantitative evidence to study foreign policy and of relating a specific historical situation like the Vietnam War to broader theories of international relations.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Sullivan intends ``to show how the American involvement in the Vietnam War must be viewed not as a single, time-bound, isolated, aberrant incident, but as part of the dynamic of American foreign policy. Seeking to establish Vietnam as part of a long cycle of U.S. foreign relations, he considers presidential perceptions of Vietnam, theoretical models of U.S. decision making, popular attitudes toward the war, and the long-term international trends that transcended the war. He closes with some commonplace comments on the ``lessons'' of Vietnam. Undoubtedly, Vietnam represented a brief but violent collision in the greater histories of Americans, Vietnamese, and the whole international system. But this book, limited in scope and resources, can only suggest why this was so. It fails to address the question at the heart of its concern with the gravity and comprehensiveness that question demands. Charles DeBenedetti, History Dept., Univ. of Toledo
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813115283
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 8/1/1985
  • Pages: 208

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