An Essay on Vietnamization
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In seeking to terminate its combat role in Vietnam, the United States must choose between negotiations and Vietnamization. Serious negotiations would require a liberalized regime in Saigon, in preparation for eventual political competition with the Communists. Vietnamization would require a strong GVN capable of continuing to fight without American combat support. As negotiations cannot succeed, regardless of American wishes, because the interests of the two Vietnamese sides are irreconcilable, all efforts should be directed toward the success of Vietnamization. The goal is realistic because the balance of military, political, and economic forces is shifting in favor of the GVN. An adequate level of military and economic assistance will be required from the Americans. From the GVN, successful Vietnamization will depend on avoiding excessive political harassment of the population; on socioeconomic policies benefiting the masses, especially the military and their dependents; and on a military strategy that will keep the balance of forces against the Communists favorable without seeking excessively ambitious goals, which the American people may not wish to support.
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