A presidential doctrine is a law document on the agreement of a country constituting the attitudes, goals, and intentions of the country’s foreign affairs as outlined by the current president of the country. Most presidents’ former doctrines of their own in completion of the characterization of their foreign policy. Most doctrines formed were in relation to the cold war. Doctrines formed are such as the Monroe doctrine, Roosevelt corollary, Truman doctrine, Kennedy doctrine, Johnson doctrine, and the Nixon doctrine which will be the focus of this paper. This will be discussing on the Nixon doctrine in relation to the cold war between Vietnam and the United States of America. In so doing discussing also on the resultant effects of the enacting of the doctrine at the time and its consequence on the association between the United States and Vietnam.
The Nixon doctrine is also known as the Guam doctrine. It was established by the then president of the US; Richard Nixon, in a Guam “silent majority” press conference in July 1969. The doctrine mainly stated that the united states shall honor its treaties commitments, shall defend when its allies are threatened by nuclear warfare or when countries vital for their security are threatened, and that all allies and friends of the United States would be henceforth expected to handle all their defense matters on their own. However, the United States would offer assistance upon request by the allied nation (Meiertons, 2010). It set the United States to act as a unilateral umbrella over all its allies in fostering peaceful relations amongst them. It was seen as mainly an intention to Vietnamese the Vietnam War shifting the general direction of the Asian international policies.
In realization of the war, many American troops and Vietnamese civilian had lost their lives. Public opinion in favor of withdrawal was immensely growing making a resolution for the war a mandatory. This shaped for Nixon’s campaign to be fostered on “peace with honor.” Also, many countries in the region became dependent on America to assist on their side. This became conflicting as it could not serve all its allies at once and still maintain its superiority.
During the war period the relationship between the United States and Vietnam was mainly associated with the aid of the United States to the South Vietnam region. This is after Cambodia attacked South Vietnam region and in the process capturing and killing an American advisor to South Vietnam; and further attacking American planes afterwards. The American military joined in war with the South Vietnam region in fighting against its allies enemies. This meant that the United States was involved in foreign affairs resulting in massive deaths of their troops and civilians throughout. It further established their control as the super authority in the region and cemented for the establishment of allies in the war period (Gholz, 2009).
The announcing of the doctrine resulting into the withdrawal of troops from South Vietnam led to the stabilization of Vietnam as the north and the south joined forces into one. The other major effect in the region is that nations became more confident and empowered in the establishment and enactment of decisions on their own. This steered to the founding of powers within nations and their own policies regarding local and foreign involvement.
The Nixon’s doctrine had many resultant effects some of which are being experienced to date; both regionally and internationally. Arguments have been presented that the application of the doctrine enabled for the opening of floodgates of United States military involvement in foreign affairs. This is as the setting stage for the establishment of the carter doctrine, and involvement in the Iraq war and the gulf war. It also resulted in the expansion of this involvement to further than the Middle East region to other Asian countries such as South Vietnam, Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand amongst others (Wolfe, 2010).
Despite the various infamous activities of the past wars between the two nations, the United States of America in addition to Vietnam have since shared deeper and more diverse relations. Vietnam is today one o the leading pro-American Asian country with Vietnamese-Americans making up approximately 1.8 million of the citizens of America today mainly comprised of immigrants of the war period. In 1995 the president of the United States bill Clinton declared political normalization after a series of severed treaties. This has resulted in the current regular political exchanges in matters of regional security. Human rights dialogues have occurred since commencement in 2006 and the authorization of a bilateral trade treaty in 2000. Various other democratic and diplomatic agreements accomplished between the two countries are such as the approval of permanent normal trade relations in 2007, the signing of a counter narcotics agreement in 2006, and the establishment of the civil aviation agreement and the textiles agreement in 2006 (Napier and Vuong, 2013).
Today, doctrines established during that war periods such as the Nixon doctrine continue to take effect as the United States of America presidents continually abide by them. Taking or instance in 1990 through the then united states president George H. W. Bush the united states military got involved in the stabilization of Iraq. Later on in 2003; the United States military got involved in Iraq again capturing their ruthless dictator Saddam Hussein. In this case, also bringing into question the application of the Nixon doctrine; whether or not the United States troops should be withdrawn (Kimball, 2006).
- Gholz, E. (2009). The Nixon Doctrine in the 21st Century. World Politics Reviews Journal.
- Kimball, J. (2006). “The Nixon Doctrine: A Saga of Misunderstanding”. Presidential studies Quarterly Journal.
- Meiertons, H. (2010). The Doctrines of US Security Policy: An Evaluation under International Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.