In late January 1973, the United States, South Vietnam, the Viet Cong, and North Vietnam signed a cease-fire agreement, under which the United States agreed to withdraw from South Vietnam without any comparable commitment from North Vietnam. Historians still do not agree whether President Nixon believed that the accords gave South Vietnam a real chance to survive as an independent nation, or whether he viewed the agreement as a face-saving device that gave the United States a way to withdraw from the war “with honor.”
This amounts to a reasonable précis concerning the end of the Vietnam War from the U.S. view. Rather than finishing the job and doing everything in his power to simply WIN Nixon, along with Kissinger, caved into increasing pressure to divest themselves of everything to do with Vietnam.
To be sure, they were not alone is this misguided endeavor, but in pursuing this course they helped to define a substantial portion of a generation as losers.
Further, they helped to create an environment that we’re STILL dealing with in that the current anti-war/anti-America mindset is a direct result of their machinations. After all, we can’t look back and say Nixon didn’t ‘cut and run’ – or that he stuck to his guns and left Vietnam a stable country; secure within its borders.
A precedent had been set! We curse the darkness engulfing our country, but Nixon began turning out a few of the lights 30 years ago.
There’s more here as well. Detente with the USSR and the engagement of China were of little value – in both cases dealing not from strength, but the visibly clay footed and feckless need for Peace with Honor rather than Peace with Substance.
It matters little in the grand scheme of things if Nixon was guilty of only being a man of his times. Others have managed to rise above such things – Nixon clearly did not!
Will our current President? Or the next?