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Perils of DominanceImbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam$
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Gareth Porter

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520239487

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520239487.001.0001

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North Vietnamese Policy under the American Threat

North Vietnamese Policy under the American Threat

(p.108) 4 North Vietnamese Policy under the American Threat
Perils of Dominance

Gareth Porter

University of California Press

This chapter reviews the role of the global and regional balance of power in the evolution of North Vietnam's strategy in the South from 1954–1965. It illustrates how North Vietnamese concern about U.S. military intervention in Vietnam compelled Hanoi to accept political–diplomatic objectives falling far short of reunification. The Political Bureau developed its own distinct assessment of the global power balance that deemphasized the importance of the military balance between the two camps and played up the role of the worldwide “national liberation movement.” The debate over the 1964–1965 period revolved around whether North Vietnamese regular troops entered the South before or after the United States began its bombing of the North. Hanoi's offers to accept a long period of non-Communist rule in the South were not mere propaganda positions but accurately reflected the North Vietnamese leadership's assessment of the power balance both within the South and at the global level.

Keywords:   North Vietnam, Hanoi, power balance, North Vietnamese policy, U.S. military intervention, national liberation movement, Political Bureau

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