ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Nixon s Tactics in Indochina

Lajpat Rai IN his fourth annual "State of the World" report to Congress, Nixon spoke his mind as to how he wanted to work out the Vietnamese Peace Agreement and what policies he wanted to persue in Asia in general and in Indochina in particular. Showing scant respect to the already sobered and tamed 'giants' or the socialist camp he warned them that "US relations with the two communist states would receive a setback it they keep arming North Vietnam and do not press their ally to observe the ceasefire". He threatened the North Vietnamese with a "revived confrontation" with the United States "if they continued to violate the terms of the Agreement". He told Congress that the US military strength in the area could not be diminished because "if our friends conclude they can no longer depend on us for protection, they may feel compelled to compromise with those who threaten them, including the forces of subversion and revolution in their midst". Here was a warning to the Russians and the Chinese, a threat to the Vietnamese and an open declaration of intent to maintain and support counter-revolution in the area at all costs. As the American monthly Ramparts put it: "The Nixon Administration has not abandoned its goal of making South Vietnam a lesson and a warning to other countries in South-East Asia and possibly in Africa and South America. And that lesson is that the price for opposing an American supported regime is wanton destruction of that country" (Ramparts, May 1973). While the Russians and the Chinese, as was expected, did not react to Nixon's insolent message to Congress, the North Vietnamese reaction came sharp and clear: In his May Day speech in Hanoi, Premier Pham Van Dong referring to Nixon's threat contained in his "State of the World" message said: "once again the Vietnamese people affirm that no brutal force, no perfidious scheme, no insolent threat can make us flinch and deviate from the path of struggle which is our path to Victory". (Vietnam Information Bulletin, Embassy of Democratic Republic of Vietnam, New Delhi, Vol XIII No 25).

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