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Commitment Trap

In: Historical Events

Submitted By Ahleeseahcriss
Words 1030
Pages 5
With regards to Vietnam under Kennedy's presidency, there are many arguments both for and against the idea of commitment trap, Kennedy certainly escalated military involvement in Vietnam but did he have a choice? Or had his predecessors committed him in Vietnam long before he came into the Whitehouse? There is no doubt that Johnson was the one who fully placed ground troops in Vietnam in '65 and created his legacy of 'Johnson's war', but did any of the previous presidents give him any other option except to stay? Also, was there any evidence of any moments when they could've pulled out? The commitment trap theory is widely acknowledged, with regards to Vietnam, by historians as it explains many of the extreme actions that were undertaken during this period. It is also used in arguments supporting USA's decisions in Vietnam, because these decisions were only made because they HAD to be made, the predecessing presidents gave them no choice. However, was commitment trap the only reason Kennedy stayed in Vietnam?

One of the first Presidents that could be argued to have influenced the refusal to withdraw from Vietnam was Truman and, particularly, his foreign policy. Truman's foreign policy states that 'we [USA] will give help to any free peoples suffering from Communism' this policy was an embedded thought in any successing President's mind, if they wanted to keep America an Anti-Communist country. Truman, implementing his policy, initiated the connection between Vietnam and the USA by giving financial aid to French Colonialists who were looking to regain control of Indochina from Vietnamese nationalists such as Ho Chi Minh. In 1950, a defence department official stated that 'we are gradually increasing our stake in the outcome of struggle ... We are dangerously close to the point of being so deeply committed that we may find ourselves completely committed even to...

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