Congress and the Fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia

Congress and the Fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia

Congress and the Fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia

Congress and the Fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia

Synopsis

This book offers an original interpretation of the effect of legislative-executive relations on the war in Indochina and proposes a number of methods that might be used to build widespread support for American foreign policy.

Excerpt

At the present stage in the continuing debate over the proper roles of Congress and president in foreign-policy making, all sides appear to agree that Congress, having acquired new powers, is playing a new and more influential role vis-à-vis the executive in the foreign-policy process. There is far less agreement, of course, over whether or not Congress should play such a role. If the first assumption is valid and Congress indeed possesses new and greater influence over U. S. foreign policy, it follows that considerable importance attends the goals for which that influence is exercised, the means used to obtain these goals, and the procedures and people and organizations involved in their attainment. One way to help reveal what is to be known about the newly significant ends and means of congressional foreign-policy making is to examine specific instances in which Congress decisively affected the foreign policy of the United States by its actions. a pair of such instances occurred during the Ford administration from January to May 1975, the last months of the existence of the pro-American regimes in Cambodia and South Vietnam. the purpose of this book is to describe and analyze the effect of congressional influence on American policy as the governments of those two countries were defeated and overthrown by the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese Communists.

The fall of Vietnam and Cambodia was chosen for this study of legislative-executive relations for two reasons. the first derives from the political and emotional significance of "the war"--as the Vietnamese conflict was known--to millions of people around the world, and not least to those Americans, of all ages who were politically conscious in the mid-1960s and early 1970s when the American combat role became an important one. They will recognize the passion and intensity of the debates, for they recall another time, already strangely distant, when it seemed no one could escape taking sides for or against the war in Indochina. Those who have come of age since that time will find in this study part of the story of the remarkable politics of that period in the history of the United States. For all readers, lay and expert alike, the book offers a thorough, sometimes startling glimpse of . . .

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