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A Re-Examination of America's Indochina Policy during the French Presence

Authors
Yu Insun최동주
Issue Date
Dec-1999
Publisher
Institute of International Affairs
Citation
Journal of International & Area Studies, v.6, no.2, pp.75 - 90
Journal Title
Journal of International & Area Studies
Volume
6
Number
2
Start Page
75
End Page
90
URI
https://scholarworks.sookmyung.ac.kr/handle/2020.sw.sookmyung/16810
ISSN
1226-7317
Abstract
This paper purports to examine the major assumptions that have guided American foreign policy toward French Indochina during the postwar period. The representing terminology in describing US policy toward Indochina in the early postwar period, that is "liberal capitalism,"should be at least modified for the advance of historical research. Economics could not fully support the ideology of US containment policy. Indeed, to consolidate the American "consensual hegemony,'' the superpower utilised its technical superiority over the European allies to lever them for multipurpose, making deals with the least financial support. Especially, the US arms transfer secured a footing for the US consensual hegemony for the years to come, specifically while it was dealing with the French in dire need of the enactment of the program to check up its traditional enemy, Germany. On the other hand, more critically, to the Catholic Church, however, Vietnam was more than a mere stepping stone in America's fight against world communism. Because of this, Vietnam had to be "rescued" from the impending ideological chaos and military anarchy, which followed France's evacuation after WWII. Even more important to her, as a religious entity, was the rescue of Vietnam from Buddhism with which the catholic Church had fought for hundreds of years. This motivation had become one of the major factors that influenced the general conduct of the Catholic Church in its relationship with Vietnam, even before the Diem regime. The failure to recognise this factor became one of the major causes of the ultimate political and military disintegration of Vietnam, and of the final collapse of the US military effort itself. Accordingly, factors of a political, ideological, economic and military nature played no meaning role in the unfolding of the war, but the religion of the Catholic Church was one of its main instigators. It is interesting to consider that the Vietnam War, in its origin, began as a religious conflict. Some important historical points show how America was manipulated into supporting Catholic oppression in Vietnam from the French presence till the end of the war.
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