Before the Quagmire: American Intervention in Laos, by William J. Rust

By William J. Rust

Within the decade previous the 1st U.S. wrestle operations in Vietnam, the Eisenhower management sought to defeat a communist-led insurgency in neighboring Laos. even though U.S. international coverage within the Nineteen Fifties centred totally on threats posed through the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, the yankee engagement in Laos developed from a small chilly battle skirmish right into a superpower war of words close to the tip of President Eisenhower's moment time period. finally, the yank adventure in Laos foreshadowed a few of the blunders made via the us in Vietnam within the 1960s.

In sooner than the Quagmire: American Intervention in Laos, 1954--1961, William J. Rust delves into key coverage judgements made in Washington and their implementation in Laos, which turned first steps at the route to the broader battle in Southeast Asia. Drawing on formerly untapped archival assets, prior to the Quagmire records how useless and infrequently self-defeating assistance to Laotian anticommunist elites mirrored primary misunderstandings in regards to the country's politics, heritage, and tradition. the yankee target of stopping a communist takeover in Laos was once additional hindered through divisions between Western allies and U.S. officers themselves, who at one element supplied reduction to either the Royal Lao executive and to a Laotian basic who plotted to overthrow it. prior to the Quagmire is a bright research of a severe interval of chilly battle background, filling a niche in our figuring out of U.S. coverage towards Southeast Asia and America's access into the Vietnam War.

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There was no agreement by that day. Citing the futility of further talks with the Pathet Lao, the RLG announced in November that the election for National Assembly deputies would be held on December 25 in the other ten provinces and those portions of Sam Neua and Phong Saly under government control. The Pathet Lao responded by boycotting the election, claiming that the RLG’s unwillingness to recognize its administrative control of the two northern provinces was a violation of the Geneva Accords.

The ambassador’s admission of “discreetly exerting ourselves in support of Souvanna” suggests that the CIA station in Vientiane was using its influence and funds to promote his election. On March 21, 1956, the cabinet crisis ended when Souvanna won overwhelming support from the National Assembly. 70 In addition to becoming prime minister again, Souvanna led the ministries of foreign affairs, defense, and information. ” In fact, Katay had little further engagement in Laotian affairs while serving in Souvanna’s government.

In Laos, however, power was fragmented among many factions, and party discipline was limited. A political assassination added particular bitterness to the fall 1954 cabinet crisis. Only days before Yost arrived in Vientiane, terrorists had killed Defense Minister Kou Voravong, who favored Souvanna’s policy of reconciliation with the Pathet Lao. Although responsibility for the assassination was never clearly established, many RLG officials believed that Thailand was involved in the attack. Sensitive to the possibility of a communist-dominated neighbor, Thailand “seemed determined to stir up trouble in Laos in order to increase its influence and perhaps reduce Laos to vassalage,” according to Souvanna Phouma.

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