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A Time for PeaceThe Legacy of the Vietnam War$
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Robert D. Schulzinger

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195365924

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195365924.001.0001

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Estrangement and Détente, 1980–1988

Estrangement and Détente, 1980–1988

(p.21) Chapter 2 Estrangement and Détente, 1980–1988
A Time for Peace

Robert D. Schulzinger

Oxford University Press

During the campaign leading to the election of 1980, Ronald Reagan referred regularly to the lessons of the Vietnam War. He insisted that the Vietnam War had been “a noble cause” in which Americans had fought and died selflessly. Instead of refraining from the use of military power in the wake of the disaster of Vietnam, Reagan recommended that the United States commit more resources to the armed forces. Reagan easily defeated Jimmy Carter, and for the first time in a generation the Republican Party had a majority in the Senate. The Reagan administration entered the fray in Central America to gain advantages in the competition with the Soviet Union in other areas of the world, while reaffirming its support of the economic embargo against Vietnam. Two problematic issues hindering improvement in diplomatic relations between the two countries were the continuing flow of refugees from Vietnam and service personnel listed as missing in action. Reagan's Vietnam policy rested squarely in the center of American politics.

Keywords:   Vietnam War, United States, Vietnam, diplomatic relations, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Soviet Union, economic embargo, missing in action, refugees

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