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Fatal Politics: The Nixon Tapes, the Vietnam…
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Fatal Politics: The Nixon Tapes, the Vietnam War, and the Casualties of…

by Ken Hughes

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The author is a scholar who studied the Nixon tapes for years, making him an expert. In this book he looks at Nixon’s decisions regarding the Vietnam War and how they affected his presidency as well as the nation’s history. The author supports his arguments with quotes from Nixon and his aides from Nixon’s own tapes. His arguments and positions are compelling, and frightening. According to Hughes, in an effort to win the 1968 election, Nixon used back channels to stop President Johnson’s attempts to reach peace in Vietnam through the Paris peace talks, an action that would have helped Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey. While Hughes acknowledges that peace most likely would not have occurred before the election, Nixon’s actions were certainly unethical. Then Nixon delayed withdrawal of American troops until after the 1972 election in order to win that one as well. In doing so, in order to avoid “losing Vietnam,” Nixon had Kissinger negotiate a “decent interval” with the North Vietnamese so he could avoid being blamed for the loss of Saigon. This happened approximately two years later. According to Hughes, Nixon used the new diplomacy with the Chinese as well as agreements with the Soviet Union to accomplish this, thus selling out an ally without any remorse. Nixon’s paranoia and guilt ultimately lead to Watergate and the toppling of his presidency. Hughes looks at the progression of Nixon’s unethical behaviors that kept a nation at war for much longer than necessary resulting in tremendous loss of life and more suffering for POWs, his abuse of government institutions to punish those who did not support him and his overall unethical character as president. He looks at the myth of training Vietnam’s troops so they would take over the fight and how that was simply not ever going to be successful. This is important because that is what we are attempting to do in the Middle East with similar results. This is a compelling and frightening look at one of our presidents. ( )
1 vote Susan.Macura | Dec 20, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0813938023, Hardcover)

In his widely acclaimed Chasing Shadows ("the best account yet of Nixon’s devious interference with Lyndon Johnson’s 1968 Vietnam War negotiations"-- Washington Post), Ken Hughes revealed the roots of the covert activity that culminated in Watergate. In Fatal Politics, Hughes turns to the final years of the war and Nixon’s reelection bid of 1972 to expose the president’s darkest secret.

While publicly Nixon promised to keep American troops in Vietnam only until the South Vietnamese could take their place, in private Nixon agreed with his top military, diplomatic, and intelligence advisers that Saigon could never survive without American boots on the ground. Afraid that a pre-election fall of Saigon would scuttle his chances of a second term, Nixon put his reelection above the lives of American soldiers. Postponing the inevitable, he kept America in the war into the fourth year of his presidency. At the same time, Nixon negotiated a "decent interval" deal with the Communists to put a face-saving year or two between his final withdrawal and Saigon’s collapse. If they waited that long, Nixon secretly assured North Vietnam’s chief sponsors in Moscow and Beijing, the North could conquer the South without any fear that the United States would intervene to save it. The humiliating defeat that haunts Americans to this day was built into Nixon’s exit strategy. Worse, the myth that Nixon was winning the war before Congress "tied his hands" has led policy makers to adapt tactics from America’s final years in Vietnam to the twenty-first-century conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, prolonging both wars without winning either.

Forty years after the fall of Saigon, and drawing on more than a decade spent studying Nixon’s secretly recorded Oval Office tapes--the most comprehensive, accurate, and illuminating record of any presidency in history, much of it never transcribed until now-- Fatal Politics tells a story of political manipulation and betrayal that will change how Americans remember Vietnam. Fatal Politics is also available as a special e-book that allows the reader to move seamlessly from the book to transcripts and audio files of these historic conversations.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 31 Aug 2015 13:30:01 -0400)

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