Drag out the Vietnam war as long as possible

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by mattep74, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. mattep74 Well-Known Member

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    How long is it possible to drag out the Vietnam war and still have USA not have a civil war? It is easy to shorten the Vietnam war, just do not send any reinforcements after JFK died and South Vietnam ceases to exist.
     
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  2. ar-pharazon Banned

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    Maybe have the US keep forces there longer after 1974-maybe the public isn't as overwhelming opposed to the war at this point, maybe it is but the government simply wishes to pursue the war anyway.

    Maybe have a force of around 10-15,000 American troops keeping the south from collapsing with constant air strikes ensuring a long running stalemate.
     
  3. Osakadave TexIowan

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    Two major steps are needed, IMO:
    1) End conscription and transition to an all volunteer US military force much earlier - probably around 1961 - and you eliminate a lot (not all, but a significant amount) of the opposition to US involvement. That gives you a US willing and able to stay in longer.
    2) Clean up the RVN govt., starting with no Diem and work you way down. Almost certainly impossible to make the government actually competent and effective and get rid of the corruption in a timely enough fashion to give them the support needed to actually win, but if they're sufficiently more competent and less corrupt, they can garner enough support from the local populace to draw out the war longer.
     
  4. ar-pharazon Banned

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    If a transition to a volunteer army happens earlier I could see the war basically being a stalemate like Afghanistan today-so long as the US remains the North and Viet Cong can't overrun the south but the US and South Vietnam can't ever actually win.

    If such a situation were to develop the war could last for years. Maybe even into the 1980s.
     
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  5. dandan_noodles Well-Known Member

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    Getting rid of Diem is the worst possible option, for lack of any better options. The best thing to do is to just encourage the RVN come down on the Buddhist radicals with both feet if there's a crisis, instead of equivocating whether to negotiate with them or stamp them out. Besides, if you want to purge corruption from the RVN, how are you going to do it? Threaten to withdraw aid from a strategically vital ally? What happens if they call your bluff, and you end Southeast Asia and Japan to the communists on a silver platter over some graft?

    One thing I've mentally toyed with is a more active role for Thailand. First, no Laos neutralization agreement; it's part of the combat theater whether you like it or not. Bring the annual Thai military budget up to a billion dollars, put several new divisions in their order of battle. Allot 8 divisions -whatever mix of RVN, ROK, US, Thai works- to hold a solid line stretching from the sea to the Mekong, and allow the RVN to pacify the interior while the divisions on the border seal off the insurgents from their support.
     
  6. Osakadave TexIowan

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    Note that, AFAIK, there were no plans to do so at a point early enough to really be effective - early 60s. Kennedy viewed conscription as necessary, as did the military. IIRC, there were some studies done on it. IF, and that's a big if, you can figure out someway, somehow to have the studies come to a solid and convincing conclusion that an all volunteer force would be superior around 1961, I could *maybe* see Kennedy pushing for and getting it.
     
  7. Osakadave TexIowan

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    Dead wrong. He was corruptiuon incarnate, and caused more trouble than just about any possible alternative.

    And alienate 90% of the population worse than Diem did? The goal is to prolong the war, not make it shorter by giving the population greater reason to support the NLF.
     
  8. Seandineen Member

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    Diem himself was misguided not corrupt. His dopey family has the problem. Get Nhu, a big job elsewhere. Can the cigarette addict, is the real problem. He has to go. Diets running mate followed the eight fold path. Carrots are needed.
     
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  9. NORGCO Well-Known Member

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    The lack of any superior alternative to Diem is the critical point IMHO. None of the army commanders that followed was an improvement, and two years of them overthrowing each other really didn't help.

    Finding a president and associates who understand that corruption that undermines the state is killing the goose that lays the golden eggs would be necessary.

    Ending political corruption entirely is probably impossible, especially if you are the sort who regards modern Political Action Committees as a legal way of bribing politicians.

    Getting the people at the top to realise that if the parasite kills the host than the parasite dies too seems necessary. That applies to South Vietnam in the sixties not just the rest of us in 2018.

    Good luck with that.
     
  10. dandan_noodles Well-Known Member

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    Like the revolving door of military coups and countercoups that sprung up after his death? Where the military situation of the RVN collapsed, reaching its darkest hour until 1975? That alternative? Before his death, the military was making consistent progress, always on the attack against the NLF while shepherding the population into the Strategic Hamlets, which the communists themselves acknowledged were punishingly effective against their efforts.

    There's a world of difference between radical Buddhists and Vietnam's buddhist majority. Most would not care about the radicals in the cities if decisive action was taken, instead of letting it fester and making the government look weak and irresolute. Ho stamped out the Buddhists in the DRVN with a vengeance, after all. Moreover, the key sources Western journalists relied on to claim the Diem government was losing support, Pham Xuan An and and Pham Ngoc Thao, were confirmed communist agents spreading misinformation.
     
  11. Osakadave TexIowan

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    Go back and read what I actually wrote.


    A crackdown on Buddhists by a Catholic is never going to go down well with the country.
     
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  12. Seandineen Member

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    Ky came pretty close to fighting corruption.
     
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  13. jsb Well-Known Member

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    Well what counts as a war? NK and SK are still at war so why not NV and SV?
     
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  14. Tanc49 Domitian Truther

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    Keep the French in.
    You make Dien Bien Phu less bad: just bad enough to be bad news for the French corps but not enough to break it completely.
    France cannot sustain a much longer war, pushing up American engagement. OTL, material and money was provided (incl. napalm bomb and a proposal for Nuclear engagement)
    With the French disengaging or at least keeping to Cochinchina, the American go all in to the offensive to the North. The front probably gets to the North, like Nghé Han where it stalls due to the extremely shitty terrain, and with a fucked up Annam, full of Viet Minh operations and sabotage.
    Since the French are still vaguely in the South (Union Indochinoise anyone?) they kick up a fuss if the American talk of disengaging
     
  15. viperjock Well-Known Member

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    Everyone is looking at extending the Vietnam War from the side of the South Vietnam and the West. Let’s look at it from the communist side.
    -Ho Chi Minh and the North Vietnamese become closer to the Russians OTL. The Soviets help Uncle Ho turn North Vietnam into the next “worker’s paradise”.
    -The North Vietnamese are more aggressive toward South Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh vows to destroy the South Vietnamese regime. At the same time he claims the west is out to get him. The emerging NVA dig in along the DMZ with their new Russian and Chinese weapons.
    -After the Cuban Missile Crisis, Castro or Che Guevara visits North Vietnam as a show of support. This way North Vietnam is not seen as innocent revolutionaries but die hard communists.

    I think the best way to drag the war out is simply start the convential war later. The war remains an insurgency through the sixties. If the US does not start deploying divisions to Vietnam then you don’t have large numbers of draftees called up. You don’t have people protesting the war if you don’t have a lot of casualties or young men sweating out the draft.

    So North Vietnam limits itself to keeping the Viet Cong/Pathet Lao insurgency going. Maybe instead of fighting one constant war against the South they fight a series of limited wars like the Arab-Israeli conflicts. The fighting could drag through into the eighties.
     
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  16. Magnum Well-Known Member

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    Piss on Laotian sovereignty and construct a continuous defensive line from Dong Ha to the Thai border, complete with a deforested buffer zone, extensive minefields and whatever else is needed. 250km is not that much at the end of the day.

    Recognize a separate government in southern Laos if necessary.
     
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  17. Seandineen Member

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    Give the King a larger role similar to Thailand. The King of laos has a certain amount of political power, but less acess to the people. Malaysian and Cambodian kings plays larger roles with and without political powers.
     
  18. Polyus Prepare to be smote by Mueller's flaming sword!

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    Oh crap. A-10s in Nam. Once we get to that point the war will be over fast.
     
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