Nixon Doctrine

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The Nixon Doctrine, also known as the Guam Doctrine, was put forth during a press conference in Guam on July 25, 1969 by President of the United States Richard Nixon [1] and later formalized in his speech on Vietnamization of the Vietnam War on November 3, 1969. [2] According to Gregg Brazinsky, author of "Nation Building in South Korea: Koreans, Americans, and the Making of a Democracy", Nixon stated that "the United States would assist in the defense and developments of allies and friends", but would not "undertake all the defense of the free nations of the world." [3] This doctrine meant that each ally nation was in charge of its own security in general, but the United States would act as a nuclear umbrella when requested. The Doctrine argued for the pursuit of peace through a partnership with American allies.

Guam Island territory of the United States of America

Guam is an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States in Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. It is the westernmost point and territory of the United States, along with the Northern Mariana Islands. The capital city of Guam is Hagåtña and the most populous city is Dededo. The inhabitants of Guam are called Guamanians, and they are American citizens by birth. Indigenous Guamanians are the Chamorros, who are related to other Austronesian natives of Eastern Indonesia, the Philippines, and Taiwan. Guam has been a member of the Pacific Community since 1983.

Richard Nixon 37th president of the United States

Richard Milhous Nixon was an American politician who served as the 37th president of the United States from 1969 until 1974. The only president to resign the office, he had previously served as the 36th vice president of the United States from 1953 to 1961, and prior to that as both a U.S. representative and senator from California.

Vietnamization policy of the Richard Nixon administration of the United States government

Vietnamization was a policy of the Richard Nixon administration to end U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War through a program to "expand, equip, and train South Vietnamese forces and assign to them an ever-increasing combat role, at the same time steadily reducing the number of U.S. combat troops." Brought on by the Viet Cong's Tet Offensive, the policy referred to U.S. combat troops specifically in the ground combat role, but did not reject combat by the U.S. Air Force, as well as the support to South Vietnam, consistent with the policies of U.S. foreign military assistance organizations. U.S. citizens' mistrust of their government that had begun after the offensive worsened with the release of news about U.S. soldiers massacring civilians at My Lai (1968), the invasion of Cambodia (1970), and the leaking of the Pentagon Papers (1971).

Contents

Background

At the time of President Nixon's first inauguration in January 1969, the US had been engaged in combat in Vietnam for almost four years. The war had so far killed over 30,000 Americans and several hundred thousand Vietnamese citizens. [4] By 1969, US public opinion had moved decisively to favoring ending the Vietnam War; [5] a Gallup poll in May showed 56% of the public believed sending troops to Vietnam was a mistake. Of those over 50 years old, 61% expressed that belief, compared to 49% of those between ages 21 and 29, even if tacit abandonment of the SEATO Treaty was ultimately required and caused a complete Communist takeover of South Vietnam despite previous US guarantees. [6] Because Nixon campaigned for "Peace with Honor" in relation to Vietnam during the 1968 presidential campaign, ending the Vietnam War became an important policy goal for him.

South Vietnam Former country in southeast Asia

South Vietnam, officially the Republic of Vietnam, was a country that existed from 1955 to 1975, the period when the southern portion of Vietnam was a member of the Western Bloc during part of the Cold War. It received international recognition in 1949 as the "State of Vietnam", which was a constitutional monarchy (1949–1955). This became the "Republic of Vietnam" in 1955. Its capital was Saigon. South Vietnam was bordered by North Vietnam to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, Thailand across the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, and the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia across the South China Sea to the east and southeast.

"Peace with Honor" was a phrase U.S. President Richard M. Nixon used in a speech on January 23, 1973 to describe the Paris Peace Accord to end the Vietnam War. The phrase is a variation on a campaign promise Nixon made in 1968: "I pledge to you that we shall have an honorable end to the war in Vietnam." The treaty specified that a ceasefire would take place four days later. According to the plan, within sixty days of the ceasefire, the North Vietnamese would release all U.S. prisoners, and all U.S. troops would withdraw from South Vietnam. On March 29, 1973, the last U.S. soldier left Vietnam. On 30 April 1975, Saigon fell to North Vietnamese troops. While Nixon's campaign used the phrase, as a rhetorical trope it has a very long pedigree of use by politicians as can be seen by the list below.

1968 United States presidential election

The 1968 United States presidential election was the 46th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 5, 1968. The Republican nominee, former Vice President Richard Nixon, defeated the Democratic nominee, incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Analysts have argued the election of 1968 was a major realigning election as it permanently disrupted the New Deal Coalition that had dominated presidential politics for 36 years.

The Nixon Doctrine

During a stopover during an international tour on the U.S. Territory of Guam, Nixon formally announced the Doctrine. [7] Nixon declared the United States would honor all of its treaty commitments in Asia, but "as far as the problems of international security are concerned ... the United States is going to encourage and has a right to expect that this problem will increasingly be handled by, and the responsibility for it taken by, the Asian nations themselves". [8]

Later, from the Oval Office in an address to the nation on the War in Vietnam on November 3, 1969, Nixon said: [9]

Oval Office office of the U.S. President

The Oval Office is, since 1909, the working office space of the president of the United States, located in the West Wing of the White House, Washington, D.C.

First, the United States will keep all of its treaty commitments.

Second, we shall provide a shield if a nuclear power threatens the freedom of a nation allied with us or of a nation whose survival we consider vital to our security.

Third, in cases involving other types of aggression, we shall furnish military and economic assistance when requested in accordance with our treaty commitments. But we shall look to the nation directly threatened to assume the primary responsibility of providing the manpower for its defense.

Doctrine in practice

The Doctrine was exemplified by the Vietnamization process regarding South Vietnam and the Vietnam War. [10] It also played elsewhere in Asia including Iran, [11] Taiwan, [12] Cambodia [13] and South Korea. [14] The doctrine was an explicit rejection of the practice that sent 500,000 American soldiers to Vietnam, even though there was no treaty obligation to that country. A major long-term goal was to reduce the tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and mainland China, so as to better enable the policy of détente to work. [15]

Iran Islamic Republic in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With 82 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Its territory spans 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), making it the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the capital, largest city, and economic and cultural center.

Taiwan Country in East Asia

Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a state in East Asia. Neighbouring states include the People's Republic of China (PRC) to the west, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. The island of Taiwan has an area of 35,808 square kilometres (13,826 sq mi), with mountain ranges dominating the eastern two thirds and plains in the western third, where its highly urbanised population is concentrated. Taipei is the capital and largest metropolitan area. Other major cities include Kaohsiung, Taichung, Tainan and Taoyuan. With 23.5 million inhabitants, Taiwan is among the most densely populated states, and is the most populous state and largest economy that is not a member of the United Nations (UN).

Cambodia Southeast Asian sovereign state

Cambodia, officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is 181,035 square kilometres in area, bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest.

The particular Asian nation the Nixon Doctrine was aimed at with its message that Asian nations should be responsible for defending themselves was South Vietnam, but Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran seized upon the Nixon Doctrine with its message that Asian nations should be responsible for their own defense to argue that the Americans should sell him arms without limitations, a suggestion that Nixon eagerly embraced. [16] The US turned to Saudi Arabia and Iran as "twin pillars" of regional stability. [17] Oil price increases in 1970 and 1971 would allow funding both states with this military expansion. Total arms transfers from the United States to Iran increased from $103.6 million in 1970 to $552.7 million in 1972; those to Saudi Arabia increased from $15.8 million in 1970 to $312.4 million in 1972. The United States would maintain its small naval force of three ships in the Gulf, stationed since World War II in Bahrain, but would take on no other formal security commitments. [18]

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi the last shah of Iran

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, also known as Mohammad Reza Shah, was the last Shah of Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979. Mohammad Reza Shah took the title Shahanshah on 26 October 1967. He was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi held several other titles, including that of Aryamehr and Bozorg Arteshtaran ("Commander-in-Chief"). His dream of what he referred to as a "Great Civilisation" in Iran led to a rapid industrial and military modernisation, as well as economic and social reforms.

Saudi Arabia Country in Western Asia

Saudi Arabia, officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is a sovereign state in Western Asia constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula. With a land area of approximately 2,150,000 km2 (830,000 sq mi), Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest sovereign state in the Middle East, the second-largest in the Arab world, the fifth-largest in Asia, and the 12th-largest in the world. Saudi Arabia is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast and Yemen to the south; it is separated from Israel and Egypt by the Gulf of Aqaba. It is the only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast, and most of its terrain consists of arid desert, lowland and mountains. As of October 2018, the Saudi economy was the largest in the Middle East and the 18th largest in the world. Saudi Arabia also has one of the world's youngest populations; 50 percent of its 33.4 million people are under 25 years old.

Price of oil generally refers to the spot price of a barrel of benchmark crude oil—a reference price for buyers and sellers of crude oil

The price of oil, or the oil price, generally refers to the spot price of a barrel of benchmark crude oil—a reference price for buyers and sellers of crude oil such as West Texas Intermediate (WTI), Brent ICE, Dubai Crude, OPEC Reference Basket, Tapis Crude, Bonny Light, Urals oil, Isthmus and Western Canadian Select (WCS). There is a differential in the price of a barrel of oil based on its grade—determined by factors such as its specific gravity or API and its sulphur content—and its location—for example, its proximity to tidewater and/or refineries. Heavier, sour crude oils lacking in tidewater access—such as Western Canadian Select—are less expensive than lighter, sweeter oil—such as WTI.

One factor in reducing open-ended American commitments was financial concern. Vietnam had proven very expensive. [19] In South Korea, 20,000 of the 61,000 US troops stationed there were withdrawn by June 1971.

The application of the Nixon Doctrine "opened the floodgates" of US military aid to allies in the Persian Gulf. [20] That in turn helped set the stage for the Carter Doctrine and for the subsequent direct US military involvement of the Gulf War and the Iraq War.[ citation needed ]

Contemporary usage

Scholar Walter Ladwig has recently argued that the United States should adopt a "neo-Nixon doctrine" towards the Indian Ocean region, in which the US would sponsor key local partners—India, Indonesia, Australia and South Africa—to assume the primary burden for upholding regional peace and security. A key shortcoming of the original Nixon Doctrine, Ladwig argues, was its reliance on pro-Western autocrats who proved to be a poor foundation for an enduring regional security structure. In contrast, his "neo-Nixon Doctrine" would focus on cultivating the major Indian Ocean nations that are democratic and financially capable of being net providers of security in the region. [21] Although crediting this idea for the "reasonable balance it strikes between US leadership and local initiative", Andrew Philips of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute has suggested the idea overstates "the degree of convergent security interests between its four presumptive sub-regional lynchpin states." [22] [23]

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References

  1. Peters, Gerhard; Woolley, John T. "Richard Nixon: "Informal Remarks in Guam With Newsmen," July 25, 1969". The American Presidency Project. University of California - Santa Barbara.
  2. http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/4106/the-nixon-doctrine-in-the-21st-century
  3. "Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume I, Foundations of Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Document 60". Office of the Historian, Foreign Service Institute, United States Department of State. 18 February 1970. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  4. McNamara, Robert (1995). In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam. Times Books. p. 321.
  5. http://people-press.org/commentary/?analysisid=57
  6. Todd, Olivier. Cruel April: The Fall of Saigon. W.W. Norton & Company, 1990. (originally published in 1987 in French)
  7. History Channel (July 25, 1969). "July 25, 1969: The Nixon Doctrine is announced" (reprint).
  8. Karsh, Effraim Islamic Imperialism A History, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006 page 199.
  9. Richard M. Nixon (November 3, 1969). "President Nixon's Speech on "Vietnamization"" (reprint).
  10. John G. Keilers, "Nixon Doctrine and Vietnamization" (U.S. Army Military History Institute, June 29, 2007) online
  11. Stephen McGlinchey, "Richard Nixon’s Road to Tehran: The Making of the US–Iran Arms Agreement of May 1972." Diplomatic History 37.4 (2013): 841-860.
  12. Earl C. Ravenal, "The Nixon Doctrine and Our Asian Commitments." Foreign Affairs 49.2 (1971): 201-217.
  13. Laura Summers, "Cambodia: Model of the Nixon doctrine." Current History (Dec 1973) pp. 252-56.
  14. Joo-Hong Nam, and Chu-Hong Nam. America's commitment to South Korea: the first decade of the Nixon doctrine (1986).
  15. Robert S. Litwak, Détente and the Nixon doctrine: American foreign policy and the pursuit of stability, 1969-1976 (1986).
  16. Karsh, Effraim Islamic Imperialism A History, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006 page 199.
  17. Beinart, Peter (2007-01-04). "Return of the Nixon Doctrine". TIME .
  18. Gause, III, F. Gregory (2009-11-19). The International Relations of the Persian Gulf. Cambridge University Press. p. 22. ISBN   9781107469167 . Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  19. The Gold Battles Within the Cold War: American Monetary Policy and the Defense of Europe, 1960–1963. Francis J. Gavin, University of Texas at Austin
  20. Michael Klare, Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Petroleum Dependency (New York: Henry Holt, 2004)
  21. Walter C. Ladwig III, "A Neo-Nixon Doctrine for the Indian Ocean: Helping States Help Themselves," Strategic Analysis, Vol. 36, No. 3 (May 2012).
  22. Andrew Phillips, "The challenges of order-building in the Indian Ocean Region," The Strategist (October 2012).
  23. "Springtime for Strongmen – Foreign Policy".

Further reading