What are the biggest missed opportunities in warfare post WW2?

People often discuss missed opportunities in WW2 like Dunkirk, Germany taking Moscow in 1941, the 6th Army at Stalingrad etc but what are examples of significant missed opportunities in wars after WW2 (Korea, Vietnam, Middle East etc)?

What are plausible PODs in post 1945 warfare that could have changed the course of specific conflicts and history itself as we know it?
 
What do you think would have happened if the US did successfully bomb the dikes (whether in 1966 or 1972)?
Cut off their food supply and force them to negotiate. Kind of hard to fight a war when you're rebuilding your entire food infrastructure. In the meantime either international aid or communist help would have fed them until they could make enough themselves, but they couldn't both fight and rebuild/feed their civilians on foreign aid.

In 1966, John McNaughton, Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, proposed the destruction of the Red River Valley dams and dikes in order to flood rice paddies, disrupt the North Vietnamese food supply, and leverage Hanoi during negotiations; then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, however, rejected the idea.[2]
 

Ian_W

Banned
Cut off their food supply and force them to negotiate. Kind of hard to fight a war when you're rebuilding your entire food infrastructure. In the meantime either international aid or communist help would have fed them until they could make enough themselves, but they couldn't both fight and rebuild/feed their civilians on foreign aid.
Look, nazis are going to nazi and attempt genocide because nazis are going to nazi, but the contention "but they couldn't both fight and rebuild/feed their civilians on foreign aid" is outright false.

North Vietnam fought their war on foriegn aid, from China and the USSR. And, unless you can close the border to China, they are going to get it.

All attempting genocide is going to do is strengthen anti-American forces in Europe and elsewhere.
 
Look, nazis are going to nazi and attempt genocide because nazis are going to nazi, but the contention "but they couldn't both fight and rebuild/feed their civilians on foreign aid" is outright false.

North Vietnam fought their war on foriegn aid, from China and the USSR. And, unless you can close the border to China, they are going to get it.

All attempting genocide is going to do is strengthen anti-American forces in Europe and elsewhere.
Not if their troops are starving. Fun fact: 80% of VC were NVA out of uniform by the late 1960s.
 
Look, nazis are going to nazi and attempt genocide because nazis are going to nazi, but the contention "but they couldn't both fight and rebuild/feed their civilians on foreign aid" is outright false.
I said their civilians. Nazis only starved non-Germans.

North Vietnam fought their war on foriegn aid, from China and the USSR. And, unless you can close the border to China, they are going to get it.
Weapons, not feeding their entire population.

All attempting genocide is going to do is strengthen anti-American forces in Europe and elsewhere.
It's not genocide, it's a move to break their ability to fight, especially when a peace term would be to provide them food to feed their people if they agree to a peace deal (which goes away if they try to restart the war). As you say they can get food, but it's going to be hard as hell to fight when feeding 16 million people.
 

Ian_W

Banned
Not if their troops are starving. Fun fact: 80% of VC were NVA out of uniform by the late 1960s.
The stupid, it burns.

NVA troops in the south will be fed in the same way they were in OTL, with food bought in the South

Money to do this will, of course, be skimmed off from any 'Vietnam Famine Relief' funds raised in the West.
 
People often discuss missed opportunities in WW2 like Dunkirk, Germany taking Moscow in 1941, the 6th Army at Stalingrad etc but what are examples of significant missed opportunities in wars after WW2 (Korea, Vietnam, Middle East etc)?

What are plausible PODs in post 1945 warfare that could have changed the course of specific conflicts and history itself as we know it?
No Laotian Neutrality Agreement during Vietnam:

My pet theory for improving the situation long term is fourfold. First, never agree to Laotian 'neutrality'; second, don't overthrow Diem (for all his problems, decided better than the revolving door of coups that followed); third, create a relatively solid front extending along ~Route 9 from the sea to the Mekong (eight divisions was considered enough for this); lastly, fund and oversee the expansion of the Thai army to secure Vietnam's strategic flank. The southern insurgency was highly dependent on supplies and manpower moved in from the north, so without the highways and oil pipelines of the Ho Chi Minh trail running right up to the wide western border of the RVN, the NLF is going to be significantly less effective. As the Southern insurgency withers on the vine, more ARVN units can get freed up for a strategic reserve, or else take the place of withdrawn American units on the northern cordon. Fighting on a shortened front between the sea and the Mekong, ARVN forces can be drawn up for defense in depth, making them more resilient against the conventional offensives of the NVA.
You don't even have to invade North Vietnam; you only need 8 divisions -some American, some Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese- to hold the line from the sea to the Mekong if you extend into Laos. The southern insurgents were absolutely reliant on supplies and manpower transferred down the Ho Chi Minh trail, and aerial bombardment wasn't cutting it. Then, you can use a combination of strategic hamlets, ARVN units integrated into civil districts, Phoenix program measures, and a mobile strategic reserve to starve and smother the southern insurgency. I would also think providing greater funding to the Royal Thai army could prove useful in securing the strategic flanks; their military budget was peanuts compared to our spending in Vietnam, so we could probably fund a significant expansion there.
As I understand it, Eisenhower was in his lame duck phase, so even though he thought it was strategically vital to keep the communists out of Laos, he was unwilling to take decisive action; Kennedy and Congress didn't have a ton of confidence in the Laotians, and the communists offered to accept a neutralist government (though since they already had key strategic areas of the country under control, they were kind of talking out both sides of their mouth). The Chinese and the Soviets had supported the neutral government against the rightists, so it seemed a way to avoid intervention in Laos, deescalate tensions with the Soviets, and avoid looking like he'd given up Laos to the communists. In hindsight, I think it was a major miscalculation, but it didn't seem completely insane at the time.
 
The stupid, it burns.

NVA troops in the south will be fed in the same way they were in OTL, with food bought in the South

Money to do this will, of course, be skimmed off from any 'Vietnam Famine Relief' funds raised in the West.
Except we know they were largely fed via supplies coming down from the North; seizing food from the locals would've resulted in the same change of opinion the Wehrmacht found in Ukraine in 1941, after all. Likewise, if you're sending down malnourished conscripts in the first place, it's going to take awhile for them to be combat effective anyway.
 

Ian_W

Banned
Except we know they were largely fed via supplies coming down from the North; seizing food from the locals would've resulted in the same change of opinion the Wehrmacht found in Ukraine in 1941, after all. Likewise, if you're sending down malnourished conscripts in the first place, it's going to take awhile for them to be combat effective anyway.
If you want to pretend the NVA wasnt raising taxes from the peasantry, good for you.

You've believed a whole bunch of unbelievable things, so one more won't matter.
 
Because you're advocating genocide.
How so? You yourself just said they'd get food from China, which they were to a lesser degree already. Hard to commit genocide when there is an alternate supply of food already set up and as part of the action the US would be offering a peace deal and food aid.

Except we know they were largely fed via supplies coming down from the North; seizing food from the locals would've resulted in the same change of opinion the Wehrmacht found in Ukraine in 1941, after all. Likewise, if you're sending down malnourished conscripts in the first place, it's going to take awhile for them to be combat effective anyway.
As much as it pains me to say, Ian is right, the VC and to some extent the NVA operating in South Vietnam were sourcing food from Laos, Cambodia, and South Vietnam from friendly sources. The Ho Chi Minh trail was mostly providing weapons and ammo as well as reinforcements.
But your last point is right, new recruits would be food restricted before heading south if the bombing floods the Delta and they tried to keep the war going.
The bigger issue for the North though is 85% of employment and GDP was based on food production. Cut that off and the economy of the North implodes temporarily
 
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If you want to pretend the NVA wasnt raising taxes from the peasantry, good for you.

You've believed a whole bunch of unbelievable things, so one more won't matter.
Your propensity to make personal attacks is pretty blatantly an attempt to hide that you cannot support your own propositions, only that you can attempt to reduce the level of discourse. Normal debate rhetoric would be to make a citation in counter to my claims, instead of attempting a game of Soviet-style whataboutism which literally fails to prove or disprove anything.

Now, with that said, yes, the NVA-units were dependent upon supplies coming from the North.
 
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Iran declaring victory and negotiating peace with Iraq after liberating all of its territory in '82. Both countries would be better off than OTL and could butterfly events like the '91 gulf war(and subsequent wars there).
 
Iran declaring victory and negotiating peace with Iraq after liberating all of its territory in '82. Both countries would be better off than OTL and could butterfly events like the '91 gulf war(and subsequent wars there).
This would probably also save the USSR, ironically.
 
Can we count something like the Bay of Pigs? Not necessarily a war but a military action that has a few ramifications going forward if it works.

Six-Day War. Could have taken Israel off the map in reality.
 
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