TITLE

IF NEGOTIATIONS FAIL

AUTHOR(S)
Kahn, Herman
PUB. DATE
July 1968
SOURCE
Foreign Affairs;Jul1968, Vol. 46 Issue 4, p627
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article presents the author's comments on the growing concern over the possible failure of negotiations between Vietnam and the U.S. to resolve the Vietnam War. Despite the willingness of many Americans to settle for less than a satisfactory settlement in Vietnam, and despite the possibility that events may foreclose the alternatives, it seems useful to examine just how bad a settlement we really are willing to accept and what the alternatives to such a settlement are. Despite heated discussion, some of the central issues involved in negotiations have not been debated--or at least not in sufficient detail and concreteness to make them clear. Indeed, so far each side is demanding victory on its own terms, the only difference being that we have offered North Vietnam some face-saving devices, while Hanoi talks as if it is determined to humiliate us. Thus many people have dismissed these public positions as debating stances or meaningless rhetoric designed to raise morale or inspire confidence among allies and supporters--not serious approaches to settlement. What would be some of the other consequences of a dishonorable and humiliating settlement? In general, the international consequences, while by no means negligible, do not seem likely to be as important as the probable disillusionment, frustration, alienation and divisive recrimination in the U.S. A stab-in-the-back legend on the right would compete with military-industrial-complex theories on the left. The alienated could argue that the stupidity, incompetence and immorality of the establishment had now been proved; it was stupid in the way it got into Vietnam, incompetent in the way it dealt with the war, and immoral by its own standards in the way it got out.
ACCESSION #
5803349

 

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