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Before the Quagmire: American Intervention in Laos, by William J. Rust

By William J. Rust

Within the decade previous the 1st U.S. strive against operations in Vietnam, the Eisenhower management sought to defeat a communist-led insurgency in neighboring Laos. even supposing U.S. overseas coverage within the Nineteen Fifties targeted totally on threats posed by means of the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, the yankee engagement in Laos developed from a small chilly warfare skirmish right into a superpower disagreement close to the top of President Eisenhower's moment time period. eventually, the yankee event in Laos foreshadowed a number of the error made by way of the USA in Vietnam within the 1960s.

In prior to the Quagmire: American Intervention in Laos, 1954--1961, William J. Rust delves into key coverage judgements made in Washington and their implementation in Laos, which grew to become first steps at the route to the broader conflict in Southeast Asia. Drawing on formerly untapped archival assets, ahead of the Quagmire files how useless and occasionally self-defeating assistance to Laotian anticommunist elites mirrored primary misunderstandings in regards to the country's politics, heritage, and tradition. the yankee aim of forestalling a communist takeover in Laos used to be extra hindered via divisions between Western allies and U.S. officers themselves, who at one element supplied relief to either the Royal Lao executive and to a Laotian basic who plotted to overthrow it. earlier than the Quagmire is a shiny research of a severe interval of chilly warfare background, filling a spot in our knowing of U.S. coverage towards Southeast Asia and America's access into the Vietnam War.

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Additional resources for Before the Quagmire: American Intervention in Laos, 1954-1961

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Many members of the ruling elite, including Katay, Phoui, and, particularly, Crown Prince Savang, opposed Phetsarath’s return to political power. ”74 Souvanna told Yost that Phetsarath enjoyed the confidence of the vast majority of Pathet Lao. If Phetsarath returned to Laos and made an appeal to them, Souvanna said, the movement would simply dissolve, leaving the few remaining hard-core communists vulnerable to decisive legal or military means. 75 Eighteen months of service in Laos had taken a heavy toll on the health of Charles Yost, who had lost some twenty pounds since his arrival in Vientiane.

The secretary of state, noticing the presence of news photographers, brusquely turned his back on Chou. The insulting gesture, which plagued US-China relations for many years, “was not a natural or a normal thing,” recalled Johnson, who was chief deputy of the American delegation and standing close to Dulles. ”32 28 Before the Quagmire Privately, Dulles expressed views of communism that were more nuanced than his public pronouncements. During a 1954 NSC discussion of US policy in the Far East, Dulles speculated that eventually “China and Russia would split apart because of the pressure of basic historical forces and because the religious fervor of Communism would have died down.

Assuming office during the McCarthy era, when good Foreign Service officers were falsely blamed for the triumphs of Stalin and Mao, Dulles made an initial demand for “positive loyalty” from department employees that appeared to question their patriotism. He also offended professional diplomats with his tolerance for the extreme anticommunist zeal of State Department security chief Robert Walter Scott McLeod, a former FBI agent whose investigations into department loyalty included suspicions about Soviet experts who read Russian newspapers.

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