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

By William J. Rust

Within the decade previous the 1st U.S. strive against operations in Vietnam, the Eisenhower management sought to defeat a communist-led insurgency in neighboring Laos. even if U.S. international coverage within the Fifties targeted totally on threats posed via the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, the yank engagement in Laos developed from a small chilly struggle skirmish right into a superpower war of words close to the top of President Eisenhower's moment time period. eventually, the yank event in Laos foreshadowed some of the errors made via the U.S. 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 struggle in Southeast Asia. Drawing on formerly untapped archival assets, prior to the Quagmire files how useless and infrequently self-defeating information to Laotian anticommunist elites mirrored primary misunderstandings in regards to the country's politics, heritage, and tradition. the yank target of stopping a communist takeover in Laos used to be extra hindered by means of divisions between Western allies and U.S. officers themselves, who at one aspect supplied relief to either the Royal Lao executive and to a Laotian normal who plotted to overthrow it. earlier than the Quagmire is a bright research of a serious interval of chilly battle heritage, filling a niche in our knowing of U.S. coverage towards Southeast Asia and America's access into the Vietnam War.

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The school’s alumni include presidents Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, diplomats W. Averell Harriman and C. Douglas Dillon, CIA deputy director Richard Bissell, and national security adviser McGeorge Bundy. In 1929 Parsons graduated from Yale, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. H. Rollins & Sons in New York City. Although his father spent his entire career on Wall Street, Parsons had little 43 44 Before the Quagmire enthusiasm for the securities business—a career choice that became even less appealing after the stock market crash of October 1929.

Anthropologist Joel Halpern later wrote that Laotian warfare appeared to resemble the symbolic struggle of primitive combat: “When two groups clash and there are several casualties then the fight is broken off while both sides regroup. This, of course, presupposes that there are two sides remaining to carry on the struggle. ” Minister Yost’s characterization of such fighting was similar, though more sardonic in expression. ”46 The most formidable obstacle to reestablishing Lao government control of the northern provinces was the attitude of friendly European governments.

63 Airdrops, however, were the only way to get rice to the people of northern Laos. In mid-September 1955, aircraft of the Civil Air Transport (CAT)—an airline secretly owned by the CIA—began parachuting rice and salt to improvised drop zones hacked out of the jungle. Skillfully weaving through mountains partially hidden by low-hanging monsoon clouds, the CAT pilots and the “kickers” who pushed the supplies out of the C-46 transport planes completed some two hundred missions in the fall of 1955.

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