Peace with Honour Essay

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The Vietnam War was a disaster. It was such a mega-fail that impacted global diplomacy for a long time. Nixon got pushed right into important business. The Nation was unfortunately divided, with turmoil in the cities and war overseas. He did eventually succeed in ending America’s fighting with Vietnam but in a way, many people wouldn’t have an image. Nixon got elected on the promise of peace for America while leaving the South Vietnamese to their fate. This was in large part because of animosity occurring in America. The protests and also the general mistrust of the government were just two reasons the American people weren’t very happy with the US at that point in their lives. In my essay, I will be discussing four major questions.

What were Nixon’s policy goals in Vietnam? What kind of settlement did he get in Vietnam? In what ways did his search for “peace with honor” fail? What were some of the legacies of the Vietnam War? I also briefly discuss John Kerry, Who he is, and What he did that changed people’s view on soldiers coming home from Vietnam. What interested Nixon was the legislation, Knowing he had the power to do anything he wanted to try and help the US made him feel powerful, he liked applying American power and diplomatic influence to regional and global problems. President Nixon had been dispatching fighting forces to brawl in Vietnam, where about 31,000 American lives were lost, and troop numbers neared their peak of 536,100. However, the critical problem of his presidency was the Vietnam War. Nixon set in motion a process of a step-by-step reduction in a shot to connect with his campaign promise of “peace with honor”. Nixon’s new plan toward Vietnam included negotiating with the Asian government after American combat deaths exceeded thirty-six hundred and this appeared to be continuing without stopping anytime soon. The president was in a dilemma, he was starting to get stressed about the war. Throughout his campaign, he had said that he had an untold plan to finish the war but couldn’t divulge it since it would upset the Paris Peace negotiations plus he didn’t want the American people or any other country to know what he had in store for the future. If his plan involved escalation, the Democrats could charge at him saying he was abandoning any attempt to succeed in a peaceful solution.

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The main point of having these meetings was to remove all American prisoners of war from Vietnam. But their talks were balanced on one key element, By having South Vietnam release North Vietnam’s troops which would sustain a stable, permanent, and non-communist government. While U.S. demands were made public through representatives in Paris, they were reiterated in separate and classified meetings overseen by Henry Kissinger who was Nixon’s Nation Security Advisor, and North Vietnam. This single key demand proved to be the undoing of any negotiated harmony. In a trial to scale back domestic unrest, Nixon proposed replacement guidelines collectively called “Vietnamization”. The government defined “Vietnamization” as withdrawing its troops and transferring the responsibility and direction of the war effort to the government of South Vietnam.

This plan was used to have a smooth transition between American combat forces returning home and leaving Vietnam. While having American prisoners of war leaving Vietnam, the US was able to coach and equip South Vietnam’s military to take leadership for its defense which hopefully meant they were bringing all prisoners home all the same time. Which would mean both sides would benefit from this offer. Nixon then introduced a draft lottery system, which alleviated several criticisms of inequality within the draft system from many people. In a few months, Nixon decided to take away the draft system entirely, making the military volunteer-based. Therefore, they would get soldiers who are passionate about the war and would put 110% effort into everything they do and not have stranglers not working hard enough. President Nixon accepted accountability for the war. He 100% should, he was the president and he should take the blame for everything he decides. He knew that closing the war would make some people think he was successful as a president and some would think he became unsuccessful. Many people had different views on this decision and they didn’t know what to think.

Americans gave Nixon one year to try to end the war, he believed in his background in foreign relations, his harshness, and his cooperation to be able to complete his task of putting an end to the war. He wanted to awaken the military, and by putting political force, and hope that they would get somewhere good on both sides. It was very hard for both parties to agree, compromising was difficult since both countries knew what they wanted or needed but finding the middle ground was the best option. So to shake some things up Nixon instructed a massive B-52 attack on North Vietnam, which was named the “Christmas Bombing.” Meanwhile, they both continued to put a lot of pressure on General Thieu, Nixon then threatened to disconnect all U.S. economic, military, and political support for North Vietnam If he refused to accept their agreement. Nixon has now taken the role of the wait-and-see attitude like North Vietnam did to him before.“We have not limited our peace initiatives to public forums and public statements. I recognized, in January, that a long and bitter war like this usually cannot be settled in a public forum. That is why in addition to the public statements and negotiations I have explored every possible private avenue that might lead to a settlement.” (Silent Majority Speech) Thieu reluctantly accepted the settlement but even before officially signing it he tried to make more demands but failed, and then finally the agreement was signed where both parties would see eye to eye.

The settlement terms had written that the U.S. had to withdraw its remaining troops within 60 days in exchange for an immediate cease-fire. They would return American prisoners of war, and North Vietnam promised they would acknowledge South Vietnam’s government, which didn’t last that long. The peace settlement enabled the U.S. to depart from the war and welcome back the American prisoners of war to their families and friends back home. To achieve peace with honor Nixon shifted US policy to become “The Nixon Doctrine,” which meant countries were now accountable for their defense. Nixion said, “Throughout the years of negotiations, we have insisted on peace with honor. In my addresses to the Nation from this room of January 25 and May 8 [1972], I set forth the goals that we considered essential for peace with honor.” ( National Archives) There was no hiding the fact that the U.S. had lost the war, especially after the Communists overran South Vietnam. War veterans returning from Vietnam were not greeted as heroes, further underscoring the fact that Americans did not feel the simplest way of pride or honor about their involvement in the war. Nixion desired to tug American forces out of Vietnam, but he did not want American withdrawal to be seen as a sign of defeat. “Now that we have achieved an honorable agreement, let us be proud that America did not settle for a peace that would have betrayed our allies, that would have abandoned our prisoners of war or that would have ended the war for us but would have continued the war for the 50 million people of Indochina.

Let us be proud of the 2 1/2 million young Americans who served in Vietnam, who served with honor and distinction in one of the most selfless enterprises in the history of nations. And let us be proud of those who sacrificed, who gave their lives so that the people of South Vietnam might live in freedom and so that the world might live in peace.” ( National Archives) The biggest thing was that Americans thought Nixon had failed as a president by not fighting hard enough. Nixon wanted peace between the countries and he got the peace even if it meant that they would be the ones to surrender. I don’t think Americans realized the danger they were in if they never agreed to this settlement. John Kerry made an announcement in Washington to deal with the issues that were happening in Vietnam that nobody was talking about. He goes on to elucidate “ “We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country, we could be quiet, we could hold our silence, we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country, not the reds, but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out.”( Viet Nam Generation, Inc) I feel this is very noble of anyone to inform the public on what they were doing during the war. It is awful to read the list of things a number of the soldiers did in the “past time.” I'm glad someone is owning up to such disgusting actions, and they needed to be said. In conclusion, a remarkable man who made some unfortunate choices, Richard M. Nixon was a capable and unique president up to his resignation.

Nixon was a president who was determined to change the future of America. Aside from his unethical means, Nixon successfully appealed to a Democratic-controlled Congress to create policies that would benefit and ensure a bright future for American citizens. He was the first president to take a step towards ending the Cold War, the conflict that kept the whole world on edge. He was able to temporarily heal the failing economy even though it eventually fell harder afterward, and he ended the unnecessarily long Vietnam War. Longing for control, he made some irreversible decisions that he wasn’t able to atone for. Unfortunately, his downfall overshadowed his accomplishments, and he suffered greatly. 

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