The day’s operation burned down 150 houses, wounded three women, killed one baby, wounded one marine and netted these four prisoners. Four old men who could not answer questions put to them in English. Four old men who had no idea what an I.D. card was. Today’s operation is the frustration of Vietnam in miniature. There is little doubt that American firepower can win a military victory here. But to a Vietnamese peasant whose home means a lifetime of backbreaking labor, it will take more than presidential promises to convince him that we are on his side.
America’s ally, the GVN, garnered little loyalty from the people during its two decades of existence. It remained from beginning to end, an authoritarian, repressive, and corrupt client-state of the United States. It was also constantly in turmoil. On February 19, 1965, General Nguyen Khanh was ousted in a coup d’état, tacitly approved by U.S. Ambassador Maxwell Taylor and General William Westmoreland. Khanh left the country and power was transferred to a triumvirate of generals, Nguyen Cao Ky, Nguyen Chanh Thi, and Nguyen Van Thieu. To please the U.S., the new government pledged on March 1 not to negotiate with the enemy. Thi was soon banished to the U.S., while Ky and Thieu became the key leaders for the remainder of South Vietnam’s existence. Ky was born in Hanoi and had been trained as a pilot by the French in Algeria. He was described by Ambassador Taylor as having all the qualities of a successful juvenile gang leader. Thieu, also northern-born, had fought with the French against the Viet Minh, graduated from the United States Command and General Staff College in 1957, and became president of South Vietnam in 1967. Thieu’s top power broker, General Dang Van Quang, was heavily involved in the narcotics trade, controlling the Vietnamese Navy which harbored an elaborate smuggling organization.
While this seemed like a great idea at first, Even though they had a few successes, Woodrow Wilson's League of Nations was a huge failure on many accounts; they broke their own rules, did not enforce the ru...
In order to prevent any further violence between countries, the American president Woodrow Wilson came up with the idea of a League of Nations; a place where the leaders and representatives of countries would meet to keep countries from going in conflict with each other.
A second development was the opening of a backdoor dialogue between Diem’s brother, Nhu, and representatives of the NLF and DRV concerning the possibility of a reunited Vietnam. While this dialogue fell into the same category as reconciliation between the U.S. and Soviet Union, it was not perceived as such by the Kennedy administration, which moved quickly to squelch it. Nhu began talking with communist representatives in July 1963 about a possible accommodation that would allow him and his brother to remain in power while a lengthy unification of Vietnam proceeded. Hanoi and the NLF were willing to accept this delay if it meant ridding their country of foreign troops. President Kennedy, however, was committed to maintaining a separate, noncommunist South Vietnam. This meant not only staying the course in Washington, but also preventing the Vietnamese from working out a peace agreement among themselves. According to the diplomatic historian Fredrik Logevall:
The presidency became for Wilson a principal means by which the limits placed on government by the separation of powers could be transcended. His new institutional vision for the presidency required the President to look beyond his constitutionally defined powers and duties. Instead, Wilson urged that the President concentrate on his role as the embodiment of the nation’s popular will. In modern times, it was more important for the President to be leader of the whole nation than it was for him to be the chief officer of the executive branch.
The key to Wilson’s separation of politics and administration was to keep the former out of the latter’s way. Administration is properly the province of scientific experts in the bureaucracy. The competence of these experts in the specific technological means required to achieve those ends on which we are all agreed gives them the authority to administer or regulate progress unhindered by those within the realm of politics. Persons or institutions within politics can claim no such expertise.
Wilson’s understanding of politics and its separation from administration requires a transformation in traditional American thinking on legislative and executive power. Wilson proposed such a transformation, which can be seen in his commentaries on many different facets of American government. While a short essay precludes a discussion of most of these, the best example can be found in Wilson’s vision for transforming the American presidency.
Wilson’s separation of politics and administration also brings us to a fundamental paradox in his thought. His vision of government seems to be one in which the unified will of the public has a much more direct role to play in politics than the Founders had envisioned. Yet politics, while increasingly democratized in Wilson’s thought, also becomes much less authoritative. The emphasis in government shifts to administration.
Wilson’s institutional substitute for the Founders’ separation of powers is best understood as the separation of politics and administration. The idea of separating politics and administration broadly defines the different institutional arrangements suggested by Wilson in his scholarship, although the specific institutional means for achieving this separation changed as his thought developed from his earlier to his more mature intellectual works.
Wilson emphasized the person of the President, not his office. It is the man himself and his personality that come to embody the national will. “Governments are what the politicians make them,” Wilson wrote, “and it is easier to write of the President than of the presidency.” This is why a President’s expertise in public affairs is not as important as his having a forceful personality and other qualities of popular leadership.
Minh went to France from the United States, where he had lived for two years, because he had been inspired by President Wilson's call for the self-determination of peoples. While in the U.S. Minh had come to admire the American notion of liberty as expressed by men like Thomas Jefferson. Once he had arrived at Versailles, however, Ho Chi Minh was turned away. The French of course would not speak to him because of their colonial interests. But neither would Woodrow Wilson grant Minh a private audience; this despite Point V of Wilson's peace program, in which he had argued that in adjudicating colonial claims " Soon after Wilson's snub, Minh turned to the Bolshevik Government in Russia for assistance. It would be the beginning of Minh's lifelong association with Communism. Wilson's rebuff of Minh had tremendous consequences for the United States in the future as it was Vietnamese forces under Ho Chi Minh that defeated the United States in the Vietnamese War fifty years later.