Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Effects of Vietnam War on American Society Essay

Effects of Vietnam War on American Society - Essay Example However, 5 years after the fall of the Saigon, there seemed to be a renewal in the interest of the Vietnamese war. Network television, music and even Hollywood made the Vietnam War almost a part of the American culture. The veterans of the war together with journalists and scholars seemed to have immediately discovered a basis for their literature. Most of the messages that were conveyed from the materials produced on the war were pegged on the lessons gained from it as well as the legacies that it had left. The focus was on the extent of damage that the war had on the attitudes of the Americans, the institutions and on the foreign policies that the government had adopted. The Vietnam War was referred by some as the worst occurrence in the then 200 year history of the US. The immediate reaction of the nation was to evaluate the damage that the war had, not only in the physical sense, but also in terms of lost confidence and pride by the people who had long regarded their country as t he epitome of power and as an invincible force. The war was a very costly affair. The exact amount spent was estimated to have been $167 billion (Chambers 3). The economic woes that befell the decision by the then president, Lyndon B. Johnson, to finance the war and the Great Society were translated to the population in terms of increased taxes, double-digit figures in terms of inflation and an increase in the federal debt that was responsible for the lowering of the living standards of the citizens. The war had also served to weaken the political power and competence of the ruling class. The public lost faith in the government in the aftermath of the war. All forms of authority in the country at the time were treated with skeptism that almost resembled cynicism accompanied by high degrees of distrust and suspicion. After 5 years of silence, the public decided to voice their opinions and these were characterized by strong antiwar sentiments. In the wake of these events, the military suffered the worst effects as it was discredited and treated casually for a number of years. There is no other point in history where Americans had as low an opinion for public institutions as the period after the Vietnam War. The bipartisan consensus that America had enjoyed since the end of the Second World War and which supported its foreign policy was dissolved with the public became wary of any calls for the country to intervene in areas where democracy was lacking. There was uproar especially from members of the Democratic Party who questioned the role of America as the world?s policeman. The then democratic majority in congress passed a resolution that barred a president from sending any troops to war for a period beyond 90 days without the congressional consent. Congress further put a limit to the powers that the country could exercise in pursuit of objectives arising from foreign policy. The country struggled to avert the Vietnam syndrome that was associated with the negat ive effects that enfolded there. This syndrome came into play when President Reagan proposed intervention in Nicaragua and also when President Bush I decided to drive the Iraqis out of Kuwait. Although the interventions were successful, the Vietnam syndrome had not completely left the minds of the American as was witnessed in the decision by President Clinton to send peacekeeping troops

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