The Instigator
CLAPforAnthropology
Pro (for)
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The Contender
lightning1
Con (against)
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Did the U.S achieve its goals in Vietnam

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/1/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,392 times Debate No: 36254
Debate Rounds (3)
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CLAPforAnthropology

Pro

Forgive me for any mistakes made during this debate as this is my first ever debate on debate.org

My opinion on the topic is this, people need to remember what the overall goals of the Vietnam war were. U.S involvement in Vietnam was to prevent the spread of communism into south Vietnam and the rest of south east Asia. The goal was not to capture north Vietnam or kill every communist in the area, but rather too preserve south and keep it a republic.

We all know that today there is only one Vietnam, and it is a communist run country, but did the U.S technically lose ? People to often seem to forget about the Paris peace accords. In 1973, the Paris peace accords were signed which called for a immediate cease fire between the U.S and south Vietnam and its enemies the north Vietnamese and the Vietcong. Once the ceasefire was signed the north and south were no longer at war for a short period of time. After the accords were signed, the remaining U.S combat troops were removed from Vietnam and at this point in time there was still a north and south Vietnam left in much the same state that current day north and south Korea are in today.

However, in 1975, once the remaining U.S troops had left the north reneged on there agreement and launched a massive offensive against the south. Meanwhile, in the U.S, Nixon had left office and the democratic party had taken control of the Whitehouse. With U.S public support for the war at an all time low, no support was sent to south Vietnam to help them fight off the attack. On April 25, 1975, the last helicopter left Saigon and the country was in communist hands. keep in mind this was three years after U.S forces left Vietnam.

So did the U.S achieve its goals in Vietnam, I would have to say yes. Seeing as how in 1973 a peace treaty had been signed and when the last U.S combat troops pulled out there was still a democratic south Vietnam that was at peace with the north.
lightning1

Con

The U.S. failed to contain the spread of communism, and therefore did not fulfill its goals. South Vietnam was entirely dependent on the U.S. military, and as a result quickly fell to the Vietcong and North Vietnam. United State was unable to contain communist influence the moment it left.

Laos is another country that also adopted communism, and the U.S. was also militarily involved in preventing a revolution there as well. However, that was not an original goal, and the North Vietnamese Army gave assistance to overthrow the Royal Lao Army. The U.S. did not prevent communism from spreading to other parts of Southeast Asia.

South Vietnam was not "preserved" when the U.S. arrived. The Vietcong hid in secret and ambushed American soldiers constantly. In order to maintain a republic, the people had to agree to existing laws as well as help the U.S. fight. This was not the case, as Americans did nearly all of the fighting, and countless Southern Vietnamese immigrants fled to the States. If the U.S. had intervened earlier, there might have been a possibility of containment.
Debate Round No. 1
CLAPforAnthropology

Pro

What you say about failure to maintain communism in southeast Asia is true and also the point you make about a weak south Vietnamese military, however, I still believe the short term goals of the U.S were met. When U.S combat troops first entered Vietnam they were entering a south Vietnam, and even though they were under attack from guerilla fighters they were stilling entering into a south Vietnam. The U.S is under attack from terrorist right now but we are still a country. Overall the U.S solider had done everything he had been asked to do and when the last U.S combat troops left in 1973 they were still leaving a south Vietnam. As far as long term goals are concerned, containing communism in that area was doomed since the birth of communism itself. Communism seem to have a luring effect on poorer countries promising equal wealth and distribution. If there's one thing needy people like its equal wealth distribution and don't forget finical backing from the other big power house of the time, the USSR. this is why we see a trend of poorer countries like those of south east Asia, Indonesia, and south America fall to communism. No power in the world could have stopped that trend. any how I digress, though communism could ultimately not be stopped in the region, when U.S troops left south Vietnam it was still called south Vietnam, and for that credit must be given. The failure of the weak army of south Vietnam after we left was inevitable.
lightning1

Con

lightning1 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
CLAPforAnthropology

Pro

CLAPforAnthropology forfeited this round.
lightning1

Con

There weren't really many short term goals besides: winning the hearts and minds of South Vietnamese(partially achieved, US received many refugees but the Vietcong overpowered the rest of South Vietnam), bomb and intimidate the North(worked for a short time, but by the time the U.S. left they were willing to continue attacking, and prevent communism from reaching other countries(it quickly spread, even with U.S. involvement). Nixon ordered repeated bombings of Cambodia, a Communist country, after U.S. forces had left.

Comparing the US relations with terrorist to the Vietnam War does not have much relevance. Terrorism has little to no chance of actually overpowering the US, and no ordinary American would support terrorism. North Vietnam wanted to unite the country with force, while terrorists simply want to spread fear and chaos into the United States.

Politically, yes they were leaving a South Vietnam, but the fact that we did nothing when North Vietnam won shows that we could have recovered the country. Repeated bombings killed about 10 Vietnamese for every American killed, and napalm bombings on innocent South Vietnamese only weakened support for the war in both the U.S. and Vietnam.

The main short term goal was stopping the flow of communism. The U.S. failed because the ideologies of South Vietnamese had already been transformed by the influence of the North. It would be impossible to keep a country separate from a neighbor that imposed such transforming beliefs. Communism was considered a massive benefit due to the dictatorships Vietnam suffered, and much of South Vietnam shared this view. The flow of communism thus swept across the country, and the U.S. arrived too late to change the peoples' minds. Being attacked from both sides spontaneously contributed to massive American losses, and if the war was prolonged, I doubt the U.S. would have achieved much else.
Debate Round No. 3
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