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Vietnam: Strategy for Stalemate

Vietnam: Strategy for Stalemate
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Index , Bibliography , Appendix
$19.95 (14.96)
VIETNAM: Strategy for a Stalemate is an analysis of the Vietnam war within the framework of Sino-Soviet relations.

“...the first [book] to explore in depth the intricate moves on the international chess board between 1963 and 1968 involving the Soviet Union, China and the United States.... The book provides new insight into America’s most misunderstood, misreported, and controversial war.”–Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States, 1968-1974

“This book is particularly interesting, and valuable, and distinguishable from other books on Vietnam in three aspects (although I would debate several interpretive judgments with the author): the way in which the war and the conduct of it was affected by the politics of the Johnson administration; the emphasis that the involvement of both the Chinese and the Russians in Vietnam bore upon the internal politics of the two countries and upon their internal conflicts; and the effective chronology.”–Eugene J. McCarthy, Member, U.S. Senate, 1958-1970, Candidate for President of the United States, 1968

“This book will break your heart. It took the author a dozen years to get to the bottom line, but it was worth it. He uncovers ignorance of international politics beyond belief, documenting a Johnson administration–spearheaded by Robert McNamara and Harvard’s ‘best and brightest’–rushing American troops forward to contain a Chinese communism that did not need to be contained.”–Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale (Retired), Prisoner of War in Hanoi for eight years, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient

Over the past two decades much has been written about Vietnam. And nearly all of the commentary and analysis has focused on internal South Vietnamese problems or on American military tactics in a guerrilla war. Vietnam: Strategy for a Stalemate takes a broader perspective.

F. Charles Parker IV, a scholar and veteran of the war, argues that the Soviet Union sought to entangle the United States in the Vietnamese war as a means of dealing with Sino-Soviet relations. The Soviets hoped that the escalation of American military action in Vietnam would be perceived by China as a threat to the socialist camp in general and to China in particular. And they hoped that this perceived threat would prompt China to reestablish the close Sino-Soviet ties
that Mao Zedong had begun to rupture in 1957.

U.S. policy, Parker contends, failed to grasp the relevance of Sino-Soviet relations to Vietnam and failed to see that Soviet expenditures in weapons for the North Vietnamese had little to do with Vietnam. Nor did our foreign policy recognize that China was in fact seeking to improve relations with the United States. U.S. policy proceeded on false assumptions and faulty strategic reasoning. Parker also explores the failure of the Johnson administration to clearly and openly redefine its goals once China’s interests were understood.

Drawing extensively on primary sources in the Soviet and Chinese press, Parker provides solid documentation and support for his thesis. And with his challenge to conventional wisdom on the Vietnam war, he demystifies the internal political developments within China and Russia during the 1960s.

Before we can apply the proverbial “lessons of Vietnam” to such current issues as the problems of Central America, it is crucial that we fully understand those lessons. Parker’s informed and persuasive account of the war may be the historical enlightenment we need to formulate intelligent future policy.

Table of Contents

Note on Transliterations
1. Setting the Stage
Southeast Asia Becomes the Field of Play
The Soviets Rejoin the Contest
Mao Zedong and John F. Kennedy Respond
Assassination Delays the US Decision
2. The Path to Tonkin
Soviets Launch Propaganda Campaign, February-July 1964
The Chinese Debate the Issues
The United States Moves Toward Tonkin
3. Vietnam and the Fall of Khrushchev
The Soviets Try to Exploit Tonkin
Mao Zedong Responds to the Gulf of Tonkin Affair
The Soviets Reassess Their Asian Policy
4. The Chinese Debate Over Khrushchev's Fall
United States Strengthens Mao's Hand
Brezhnev, Kosygin Stay the Course in Vietnam
5. The American Ground War
Crossing the Rubicon–The Ground Forces Are Committed
The Ground War Begins in Earnest
6. Mao's Struggle During the Soviet Escalation, January-July 1965
The Soviets Expand Their War Support
The Struggle Deepens in China
The Soviets Support a Major War
Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping Near Victory
7. Acceleration of US Buildup
America Goes to War
The Administration Wrestles with the Problem
The Evidence
The United States Seeks to Prevent Chinese Intervention
McNamara's Response–Some Thoughts
8. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
The Onslaught Begins and Luo Ruiqing and Peng Zhen Fall
The Cultural Revolution Deepens
Mao Tries Again to Improve Relations with the United States
9. Soviet Adjustments
The Soviet Union and North Vietnam Sign New Agreements
23rd Party Congress Meets in Moscow
10. McNamara Changes His Mind
American Troops Begin to Win the War in 1966
McNamara Turns About-Face, April–November 1966
Was McNamara 'Disillusioned?'
Why?–Part II
11. Soviet Response
The Soviets Watch the War with Concern, Increase Supplies
The Soviets Eye the Cultural Revolution
A Violent Struggle Breaks Out in China in 1967
The Soviets Analyze the Struggle
The Soviets Decide on the Sino-Soviet Border and Support
for the Tet Offensive
The Soviets Apply Military Pressure to China,
North and South
12. The Final Decision
Rostow Memorandum Exposes Split Over Goals
Once More It Looks Like an Unlimited Commitment
13. The Tet Offensive
The Attack
Soviets Look for a Big Victory With Tet Offensive
Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory
Yang Chengwu Turns on Mao and the Soviets Smell Success
The United States Publicly Abandons Victory
14. Soviet Reassessment
The Soviets Seek Alternatives
Soviet Military Threat Brings an End to the Cultural Revolution
Nixon Takes the Helm
Appendix: Some Thoughts on the Cultural Revolution
About the Author

F. CHARLES PARKER IV is a West Point graduate and a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army., He served as a Battalion Commander in the Vietnam war and held other command positions in Korea. He received an M.A. in Russian Studies in 1975 and a Ph.D. in History in 1987 from Georgetown University. He is currently Visiting Scholar at the Hoover Institution of War, Revolution, and Peace, in Stanford, California.

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