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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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Conclusion The Perils of Dominance

Conclusion The Perils of Dominance

(p.259) 9 Conclusion The Perils of Dominance
Perils of Dominance

Gareth Porter

University of California Press

This chapter reviews the evidence for the critical influence of unequal power relations on the four crucial Vietnam policy decisions. It evaluates the “unipolar moment” in global politics and U.S. foreign policy. It is suggested that the process of making policy toward Vietnam resulted in policy decisions which did not reflect the best judgment of the president about Vietnam. The April decision on troop deployment appears to have represented the apogee of influence of Johnson's inner circle of advisers. It is stated that the aggressiveness of the national security bureaucracy in asserting the necessity for a military approach to Vietnam in both the John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson administrations was not a function of the specific personalities involved. It is also suggested that unipolar experience shows that the problem of inadequate domestic restraints may be exacerbated by the tendency of the national security bureaucracy to assert itself in policy making.

Keywords:   unequal power, Vietnam policy decisions, unipolar moment, global politics, U.S. foreign policy, troop deployment, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, policy making

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