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A Bitter Peace : Washington, Hanoi, And The Making Of The Paris Agreement

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. Dr. Pierre Asselin, associate professor of history at Hawaii Pacific University, is considered an expert in East and Southeast Asian diplomatic history. In his book, A Bitter Peace: Washington, Hanoi, and the Making of the Paris Agreement, he seeks to explain the circumstances that made the Paris Peace Agreement of 1973 between the United States and Vietnam fail. Asselin hopes to prove his thesis that the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement was done under pressure, pressures that ultimately doomed the purpose of the agreement, by adopting two analysis strategies. One analysis strategy Asselin used was viewing the Vietnamese conflict in an international context. His second strategy was to explore the importance of diplomacy in the negotiations, as well as the pressures that each party faced. In the early 1970’s, the Vietnamese War became a stalemate between the United States government, and Vietnamese forces; neither side seemed to be making advances, and there was little will to fight. At the same time, both Washington and Hanoi faced internal issues that made the drafting of a peace agreement inevitable. Facing this reality, both sides agreed on drafting a peace agreement. Washington and Hanoi both had particular goals in the signing of the Paris Agreement. According to Asselin, the United States had three purposes in seeking a peace agreement, “…securing the release of American prisoners, withdrawing from Vietnam without formally capitulating, and preserving
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