Deterrence In The Vietnam War

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As long as humans have been on the Earth, the art of deterrence has existed in some form or fashion. With the evolution of technology and change in society and culture, deterrence has taken on different forms. The basic idea of deterrence is deterring a person or group of people from committing an aggression on the threat of retaliation or consequences, many times in the form of threat of physical harm. Merriam-Webster defines deterrence as, “the maintenance of military power for the purpose of discouraging attack.”1 How a country maintains and arrays their military power is dependent on their capabilities. There are three aspects of military capability that are important in deterrence: time, size, and lethality. To have a proper military deterrence…show more content…
The Vietnam war was an example of failed deterrence. Deterrence policy is heavily influence by the will of the participants to win. In the case of the Vietnam war, while the US had a superior fighting force, the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong were more committed to their cause than the US.5 This ultimately led to the US withdraw from Vietnam. The US was successful however, in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis. Once the US learned and confirmed the presence of Soviet nuclear warheads deployed to Cuba, President Kennedy ordered the blockade of the island. In the ensuing days, it was a showdown between the US and the Soviet Union. The US threatened to invade Cuba if the Soviet Union did not remove the missiles. Six days later, Nikita Khrushchev gave in and removed the missiles from Cuba.6 In this instance, the US was far more committed to its cause than the Soviet Union was, therefore the US was…show more content…
Some of those countries include: Costa Rica, Iceland, Panama, and many island nations in the Caribbean. Most of these countries are too small to be able to support a standing military. Additionally, these countries do not experience threats often enough or substantial enough to warrant maintaining a military. This concept is known as “free-riding”. The general premise is that smaller countries benefit from the security of a larger country at no cost to them. The argument can be made that this relationship has no benefit for the larger country, however some may exist. It may be in the best interest of the larger country for the smaller country to remain allied with them and secure based on geographical location. For instance, the island nations in the Caribbean are relatively close to the shores of the US, which can have a large strategic value to opposing nations. It would be in the best interests of the US that those island nations remain allied with the US. These nations themselves are practicing their own type of deterrence by receiving extended deterrence from a military standpoint. This allows them to focus on other areas to develop have greater ability to resist soft power influence from other nations and project their own soft
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