For decades, the Vietnam War has had a significant influence on American foreign and military policy. The United States had never lost a war until its military forces and diplomats were forced to flee Saigon in humiliation in 1975. Even thirty-five years later, the conflict still often serves as the prism through which elected officials, military commanders, the media, and the American public view all armed conflicts involving U.S. troops.
On November 10, Foreign Policy at Brookings hosted a discussion of the Vietnam War’s legacy and its decades-long influence on presidential decision-making. Brookings Guest Scholar and former CBS News correspondent Marvin Kalb spoke about his new book, Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama (Brookings Press, 2011). Brookings Journalist in Residence Ron Nessen, former NBC News correspondent in Vietnam, discussed his book, Making the News, Taking the News: From NBC to the Ford White House (Wesleyan University Press, 2011). Vice President Martin Indyk, director of Foreign Policy, gave introductory remarks. Brookings Senior Fellow Robert Kagan moderated the discussion.
After the program, the speakers took audience questions.