Free Essay on Mediating International Conflicts

Published: 2023-05-22
Free Essay on Mediating International Conflicts
Type of paper:  Literature review
Categories:  International relations Literature review Conflict resolution Vietnam War
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1737 words
15 min read

The United States has played a critical role in mediating various conflicts around the world. It used its military power to intervene in some of the most grueling battles. One of the most notable involvements was in the Vietnamese war, which took place for quite a considerable number of years. The Vietnam War can be viewed as one of the most significant conflicts in modern time. The US involvement in the war was tied to its mission of ensuring that the world was free from communism (Wiest, 2003). The United States involvement was majorly by sending military troops and funding for the purchase of military equipment (Kaiser, 2000). Many citizens expressed displeasure in the United States involvement in the war, and they doubted if it would succeed in its mission of solving the Vietnamese conflict. The war left wounds on many Vietnam nationals, especially women who lost their husband to the bullets. This paper aims to look at some of the most notable kinds of literature written about the Vietnam War and the role the United States played in slowing down the atrocities of the war in South Vietnam.

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Thesis: The United States involvement in the Vietnam War had detrimental effects on both the United States and Vietnam.

Literature Review

More than forty years after its completion, the Vietnam War remains to be a topic of interest when it comes to talking about some of the world affairs that shaped the world. The war existed in such a time when television and film had not grown to the level it is today. Still, the war has been integrated into televised films that tell the younger generation of a war that inflicted grievous pain on the Vietnamese and left a dent on the United States foreign policy decisions. Andrew Wiest has written widely about war and the effects it has on people as well as the role played by technology in some of the most significant warfare's. His most notable work is on the Vietnam War in his book "The Vietnam War 1956-1975". He gives a good background on the origin of a war that almost crippled the Asian Country. The fighting erupted long before the United States intervention as Vietnam fought against the French colonization. The French conflict played a significant role in the Vietnam War that was later to emerge. While reading the history of the Vietnam war one must agree that even without sophisticated weapons and high-level technology North Vietnam staged a great battle with its well-calculated strategic moves that have made the war stick on to people's minds for a long time (Wiest, 2003). The North enjoyed the support from the Soviet and China, and the South gained a lot of help from the United States in the form of military aid and political advisory.

Looking at the long distance between the United States and Asia, one must wonder: why did the United States get involved in a war that it had no personal interest in? To get answers to this question requires a great dive into the history of Vietnam and a good understanding of the role of the United States in ensuring world peace. The conflict was between North Vietnam and South Vietnam with the Northern part being in support of communism while the Southern side was in favor of a free market system. The United States worked on the assumption that, if South Vietnam gave in to communism, then the neighboring countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia (Wiest & McNab, 2016). Privy to most people is that the war tainted a negative image to the United States foreign intervention termed as a defeat when Vietnam finally became a communist state. Of great interest is the sharp criticism levied against the United States regarding the methods it used to conduct its military operations. Its economic power meant that the United States had access to more sophisticated and technologically advanced war equipment.

The United States decision to escalate its involvement in the Vietnamese war was in good faith to control the aggressions of the North towards the South, which had caused many deaths. However, the folly arose over the tactics it employed to contain the war. The United States used airstrikes and bombings as retaliatory attacks against the Northern Vietnamese (Herring, 1986). Extreme measures included the use of dangerous earth scorching chemicals that were meant to cause the Northern Vietnamese fighters to reveal themselves from their hideouts by clearing all vegetation so that the land remained bare. The effects of these dangerous chemicals can be noticed many years later on Vietnamese soil. The substances had an environmental impact in that they scorched all plants and caused adverse health effects on the people who came close to them. Many historians describe the use of direct attacks such as the bombings on North Vietnam as strategies that aimed to search, find and attack the North Vietnamese to control their insurgence.

Even in the wake of massive deaths and increased insurgency by the North, the United States did not tone down on its use of technological weapons. It is for this intensified use of chemical weapons and increased air attacks that some people classically refer to the war as the "American War" because they claim that the United States had the most considerable involvement in the conflict. The United States, through its president Lyndon Johnson increased the number of army troops to Vietnam and authorized more bombing campaigns. It is these decisions made by some of the notable leaders of the United States that leave the question, could the United States have made better decisions to handle the Vietnamese war? The answer is presumably yes, based on the negative reviews levied against the operations that the United States used in Vietnam. The most popular service is the rolling thunder operation which saw a series of bombings with more than a million tons being dropped in Vietnamese airspace (Wiest & McNab, 2016). The action was very well calculated with very high attitude professionals being sought for accuracy of bombing on North Vietnam. In it, he describes the famous Operation roll thunder one of the tactics employed by the United States in the Vietnam war through a series of strategized bomb attacks.

Despite the dreadful punishments inflicted by the United States aerial tactics, the Northern side did not relent in its quest for communism (Wiest & McNab, 2016). By the late 1960s, a section of the United States population had begun to show displeasure in the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War. The series of American aerial operations in North Vietnam had caught the eye of concerned people who raised their voices against the atrocities inflicted on the Northern Vietnamese. The Senate also conceded that the war bill had risen significantly and started the process of withdrawing its troops from Vietnam. The United States leadership, therefore, sought to find a way of detracting from the war. This was to be "done in honor "as the then-president Richard Nixon put it. The United States began training the South Vietnamese army to fight on its own and be strongly reliant to it. It then gradually withdrew its troops from Vietnam.

Towards the end of the war, the North waged a war which saw South Vietnam being defeated and eventually wielding to communism. When Vietnam finally became a communist state, its neighbors didn't fall into communism contrary to what the United States had envisioned. The United States drafted new policies to control its intervention in global conflicts and limit the power of the president in making decisions on foreign interventions. The decisions made by the United States leaders during the war are highly contested. Still, when tasked with explaining how leadership could have acted differently, many people are hesitant to answer. The Vietnamese war set the bar with which all other involvements of the United States in international conflicts have been measured. Many historians and documentation that explain the war note that the war was not essential for the United States and therefore, its involvement was not necessary.

The United States can be defended by the fact that its involvement was purely for the betterment of Vietnam and in line with its accord of ensuring world peace. Vietnam is a vibrant land and a pathway for produce for products from other South Asian nations. Much has been written about the United States involvement in the war and the consequences it suffered. It is for this reason that some authors chose to dive into the un-awarded waters of describing the benefits of the United States military attack strategies and some who seem to hold the view that the United States used the wrong approach. D Fromkin, J Chacin their book, "Lessons from Vietnam" open the topic of how such a situation can be prevented from occurring again. They argue that the war was not closed with the end of the war, but it's a conversation that will stick on America's history for years to come.


The Vietnam War has occupied a large portion of the United States and Vietnamese histories. The United States might never fully recover its image for what it stands in terms of ensuring global peace as each intervention it makes necessitates a reference to the Vietnam war. However, the lessons learnt from the Vietnam war can never be erased, and they serve as a reminder to the United States administration that they have to create a better image. The young generation can only read about the war in journals and historical books because the older generation is sometimes too overwhelmed by the events to talk about them.


Burstein, P., & Freudenburg, W. (1977). Ending the Vietnam war: components of change in Senate voting on Vietnam war bills. American Journal of Sociology, 82(5), 991-1006.

Converse, P. E., & Schuman, H. (1970). " Silent Majorities" and the Vietnam War. Scientific American, 222(6), 17-25.

Fromkin, D., & Chace, J. (1985). What are the Lessons of Vietnam?. Foreign Affairs, 63(4), 722-746.

Herring, G. C., & Herring, G. C. (1986). America's longest war: the United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975 (p. 137140). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Kaiser, D. E. (2000). American tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the origins of the Vietnam War. Harvard University Press.Lin, M. (2009). China and the escalation of the Vietnam War: the first years of the Johnson administration. Journal of Cold War Studies, 11(2), 35-69.

Wiest, A. (2003). The Vietnam War 1956-1975. Routledge.Wiest, A., & McNab, C. (2016). The Vietnam War. Cavendish Square Publishing, LLC.

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