NSC Working Group on South Vietnam

NSC Working Group On South Vietnam

NSC Working Group on South Vietnam

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The National Security Council Working Group on South Vietnam/Southeast Asia was founded in the wake of the election Lyndon B. Johnson's election campaign against Barry Goldwater to explore the different options LBJ could take in Vietnam.Brian VanDeMark, Into the Quagmire: Lyndon Johnson and the Escalation of the Vietnam War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 23 William Bundy would later note that this group was "'the most comprehensive' Vietnam policy review 'of any in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations.'"VanDeMark, Into the Quagmire, 23

Background to the Working Group

Nikita Khrushchev had just been overthrown on October 15, 1964, and American foreign policy experts did not know what to expect from Russia as Leonid Brezhnev and Alexei Kosygin took over the Soviet world. China had also just exploded its first missile over Lap Nor. Brian VanDeMark captures the mood:

<blockquote>This fear , however exaggerated, reflected deeply rooted perceptions. Johnson and his advisers viewed China in 1964 much like Truman and his advisers had viewed Russia after World War II--as a militantly expansive force to be contained until mellowed by internal forces or external pressures.

"Until this week," LBJ noted, "Only four powers had entered the dangerous world of nuclear explosions...whatever their differences, all...
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