TITLE

THE BASES OF ACCOMMODATION

AUTHOR(S)
Huntington, Samuel P.
PUB. DATE
July 1968
SOURCE
Foreign Affairs;Jul1968, Vol. 46 Issue 4, p642
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article discusses the importance of a viable political settlement of the Vietnam War by the U.S. and Vietnam. A viable political settlement in South Vietnam will reflect and give some legitimacy to the balance of political, military and social forces produced by a decade of internal conflict and five years of large-scale warfare. A successful settlement can also inaugurate a process of political accommodation through which the various elements of Vietnamese society may eventually be brought together into a functioning polity. American objectives and American expectations of what can be achieved at the conference table and on the battlefield should, correspondingly, be based on the realities of power and the opportunities for accommodation. The rural-urban division of the country and the mixed pattern of political control in rural areas suggests that the process of political accommodation should start at the bottom and work up rather than the reverse. Some forms of local accommodation have, of course, existed for some time in parts of the country, particularly in the Delta. Most frequently they have involved live-and- let-live arrangements among local military commanders. To some extent they have also involved mutual tolerance of each other's revenue-raising activities. On the government side, the weakness of its forces and the natural desire to remain in the towns and avoid the efforts and dangers of combat have provided incentives to accept these arrangements, while for the Viet Cong it has been a general war-weariness among local cadres, especially in the Delta. To expand these local accommodations substantively and geographically will entail many difficulties. Nonetheless, this is the way to start a political process which will reflect the actual balance of forces within the society.
ACCESSION #
5803358

 

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