U.S. Strategy in South Vietnam

Extrication and Equilibrium

by Gerald Cannon Hickey

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Abstract

Failure to appreciate either the political character of revolutionary war or the full effects of U.S. military policy in Vietnam has helped foster conditions favorable to enemy aims that American involvement was originally intended to counter. A prime example: severe disruption of the existing social order in South Vietnam. A wartime boom side by side with mass destruction, near administrative anarchy, and the cultural shock caused by the presence of 700,000 foreigners prompts a doubtful prognosis for the ability of South Vietnam to maintain its equilibrium in the face of U.S. withdrawal unless several ideal political and economic conditions are met. Among others: use of U.S. capital to develop WPA-like programs to absorb the unemployed left in the wake of American extrication.

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