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Is Kennedy Doing Enough?

For years the conflict in Vietnam has been escalating with the Truman Administration supporting the fiercely anti-communist Ngo Dinh Diem, and Eisenhower’s continuation of Truman’s containment-based policies. With the rapid deterioration in relations between the communist North and capitalist South of Vietnam, it now falls to Kennedy and his Cabinet to create a policy that will successfully protect Western interests. 

Kennedy’s Cabinet has been vigorously discussing potential measures the United States can take to halt the expansion of communism, and is approaching a final resolution, titled Directive Domino Halt. Vice President Johnson said that the policies in the resolution are designed to “establish a stable government by encouraging reform, give them economic aid, and give them diplomatic support.” More specifically, the United States does not plan to move more troops to Vietnam. Instead, they are favoring sending military advisors and resources that they hope will allow South Vietnam to fight the USSR, which backed North by themselves. The closest to military action the policy comes to is “sending troops to the Philippines in case of emergency”, said Secretary Udall. 

However, is this enough? Multiple members of the Cabinet shared that they would like to find a diplomatic solution, and one even has doubts about the effectiveness of the resolution. Secretary Hodges stated that he “wants a more diplomatic solution with the North,” and Secretary Udall asserted that the United States wants to, “promote diplomacy over military involvement.” Secretary Hodges confided that he does not think the resolution will provide effective results.

In spite of all of this, there is a general consensus on the resolution, with a Straw Man Poll (an informal poll to gauge votes) revealing that all members of the Cabinet are in favor of the resolution. Regardless of general consensus, however, it seems that there are conflicting views on the best course of action regarding the containment of communism, begging the question, “Is Kennedy doing enough?” 

There are multiple Cabinet members who are in favor of diplomacy, and even one who has doubts about the effectiveness of this resolution, which has culminated in a weak policy that takes no military action against communism, that will ultimately fail to prevent the spread of communism. 

Teagan Hart (The Telegraph)

March 23, 2024

Committee: Kennedy’s Cabinet

Article Type: Opinion

Topic: Involvement in the Vietnam War

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