Nixon Doctrine

The Nixon Doctrine, also known as the Guam Doctrine, was put forth during a press conference in Guam on July 25, 1969 by President of the United States Richard Nixon[1] and later formalized in his speech on Vietnamization of the Vietnam War on November 3, 1969.[2] According to Gregg Brazinsky, author of "Nation Building in South Korea: Koreans, Americans, and the Making of a Democracy", Nixon stated that "the United States would assist in the defense and developments of allies and friends", but would not "undertake all the defense of the free nations of the world." This doctrine meant that each ally nation was in charge of its own security in general, but the United States would act as a nuclear umbrella when requested. The Doctrine argued for the pursuit of peace through a partnership with American allies.


At the time of President Nixon's first inauguration in January 1969, the US was engaged in combat in Vietnam for almost four years. The war had so far killed over 30,000 Americans and several hundred thousand Vietnamese citizens.[3] By 1969, the US public opinion had moved decisively favoring to end the Vietnam War;[4] a Gallup poll in May showed 56% of the public believed sending troops to Vietnam was a mistake. Of those over 50 years old, 61% expressed that belief, compared to 49% of those between ages 21 and 29, even if tacit abandonment of the SEATO Treaty was ultimately required, caused a complete Communist takeover of South Vietnam despite previous US guarantees.[5] Because Nixon campaigned for "Peace with Honor" in relation to Vietnam during the 1968 presidential campaign, ending the Vietnam War became an important policy goal for him.

The Nixon Doctrine

During a stopover during an international tour on the U.S. Territory of Guam, Nixon formally announced the Doctrine.[6] Nixon declared the United States would honor all of its treaty commitments in Asia, but "as far as the problems of international security are concerned ... the United States is going to encourage and has a right to expect that this problem will increasingly be handled by, and the responsibility for it taken by, the Asian nations themselves".[7]

Later, from the Oval Office in an address to the nation on the War in Vietnam on November 3, 1969, Nixon said:[8]

First, the United States will keep all of its treaty commitments.

Second, we shall provide a shield if a nuclear power threatens the freedom of a nation allied with us or of a nation whose survival we consider vital to our security.

Third, in cases involving other types of aggression, we shall furnish military and economic assistance when requested in accordance with our treaty commitments. But we shall look to the nation directly threatened to assume the primary responsibility of providing the manpower for its defense.

Doctrine in practice

The Doctrine was exemplified by the Vietnamization process regarding South Vietnam and the Vietnam War.[9] It also played elsewhere in Asia including Iran,[10] Taiwan,[11] Cambodia[12] and South Korea.[13] The doctrine was an explicit rejection of the practice that sent 500,000 American soldiers to Vietnam, even though there was no treaty obligation to that country. A major long-term goal was to reduce the tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and mainland China, so as to better enable the policy of détente to work.[14]

The particular Asian nation the Nixon Doctrine was aimed at with its message that Asian nations should be responsible for defending themselves was South Vietnam, but Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran seized upon the Nixon Doctrine with its message that Asian nations should be responsible for their own defense to argue that the Americans should sell him arms without limitations, a suggestion that Nixon eagerly embraced.[15] The US turned to Saudi Arabia and Iran as "twin pillars" of regional stability.[16] Oil price increases in 1970 and 1971 would allow funding both states with this military expansion. Total arms transfers from the United States to Iran increased from $103.6 million in 1970 to $552.7 million in 1972; those to Saudi Arabia increased from $15.8 million in 1970 to $312.4 million in 1972. The United States would maintain its small naval force of three ships in the Gulf, stationed since World War II in Bahrain, but would take on no other formal security commitments.[17]

One factor in reducing open-ended American commitments was financial concern. Vietnam had proven very expensive.[18] In South Korea, 20,000 of the 61,000 US troops stationed there were withdrawn by June 1971.

The application of the Nixon Doctrine "opened the floodgates" of US military aid to allies in the Persian Gulf.[19] That in turn helped set the stage for the Carter Doctrine and for the subsequent direct US military involvement of the Gulf War and the Iraq War.

Contemporary usage

Scholar Walter Ladwig has recently argued that the United States should adopt a "neo-Nixon doctrine" towards the Indian Ocean region, in which the US would sponsor key local partners—India, Indonesia, Australia and South Africa—to assume the primary burden for upholding regional peace and security. A key shortcoming of the original Nixon Doctrine, Ladwig argues, was its reliance on pro-Western autocrats who proved to be a poor foundation for an enduring regional security structure. In contrast, his "neo-Nixon Doctrine" would focus on cultivating the major Indian Ocean nations that are democratic and financially capable of being net providers of security in the region.[20] Although crediting this idea for the "reasonable balance it strikes between US leadership and local initiative", Andrew Philips of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute has suggested the idea overstates "the degree of convergent security interests between its four presumptive sub-regional lynchpin states."[21][22]


  1. ^ Peters, Gerhard; Woolley, John T. "Richard Nixon: "Informal Remarks in Guam With Newsmen," July 25, 1969". The American Presidency Project. University of California - Santa Barbara.
  2. ^
  3. ^ McNamara, Robert (1995). In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam. Times Books. p. 321.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Todd, Olivier. Cruel April: The Fall of Saigon. W.W. Norton & Company, 1990. (originally published in 1987 in French)
  6. ^ History Channel (July 25, 1969). "July 25, 1969: The Nixon Doctrine is announced" (reprint).
  7. ^ Karsh, Effraim Islamic Imperialism A History, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006 page 199.
  8. ^ Richard M. Nixon (November 3, 1969). "President Nixon's Speech on "Vietnamization"" (reprint).
  9. ^ John G. Keilers, "Nixon Doctrine and Vietnamization" (U.S. Army Military History Institute, June 29, 2007) online
  10. ^ Stephen McGlinchey, "Richard Nixon’s Road to Tehran: The Making of the US–Iran Arms Agreement of May 1972." Diplomatic History 37.4 (2013): 841-860.
  11. ^ Earl C. Ravenal, "The Nixon Doctrine and Our Asian Commitments." Foreign Affairs 49.2 (1971): 201-217.
  12. ^ Laura Summers, "Cambodia: Model of the Nixon doctrine." Current History (Dec 1973) pp. 252-56.
  13. ^ Joo-Hong Nam, and Chu-Hong Nam. America's commitment to South Korea: the first decade of the Nixon doctrine (1986).
  14. ^ Robert S. Litwak, Détente and the Nixon doctrine: American foreign policy and the pursuit of stability, 1969-1976 (1986).
  15. ^ Karsh, Effraim Islamic Imperialism A History, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006 page 199.
  16. ^ Beinart, Peter (2007-01-04). "Return of the Nixon Doctrine". TIME.
  17. ^ Gause, III, F. Gregory (2009-11-19). The International Relations of the Persian Gulf. Cambridge University Press. p. 22. ISBN 9781107469167. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  18. ^ The Gold Battles Within the Cold War: American Monetary Policy and the Defense of Europe, 1960–1963. Francis J. Gavin, University of Texas at Austin
  19. ^ Michael Klare, Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Petroleum Dependency (New York: Henry Holt, 2004)
  20. ^ Walter C. Ladwig III, "A Neo-Nixon Doctrine for the Indian Ocean: Helping States Help Themselves," Strategic Analysis, Vol. 36, No. 3 (May 2012).
  21. ^ Andrew Phillips, "The challenges of order-building in the Indian Ocean Region," The Strategist (October 2012).
  22. ^ "Springtime for Strongmen – Foreign Policy".

Further reading

External links

ASEAN Declaration

The ASEAN Declaration or Bangkok Declaration is the founding document of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It was signed in Bangkok on 8 August 1967 by the five ASEAN founding members, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand as a display of solidarity against communist expansion in Vietnam and communist insurgency within their own borders. It states the basic principles of ASEAN: co-operation, amity, and non-interference. The date is now celebrated as ASEAN Day.

Arthur Faulkner

Arthur James Faulkner (20 November 1921 – 15 May 1985) was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party.

Cold War (1962–1979)

The Cold War (1962–1979) refers to the phase within the Cold War that spanned the period between the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis in late October 1962, through the détente period beginning in 1969, to the end of détente in the late 1970s.

The United States maintained its Cold War engagement with the Soviet Union during the period, despite internal preoccupations with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Civil Rights Movement and the opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War.

In 1968, Eastern Bloc member Czechoslovakia attempted the reforms of the Prague Spring and was subsequently invaded by the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact members, who reinstated the Soviet model. By 1973, the US had withdrawn from the Vietnam War. While communists gained power in some South East Asian countries, they were divided by the Sino-Soviet Split, with China moving closer to the Western camp, following US President Richard Nixon's visit to China. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Third World was increasingly divided between governments backed by the Soviets (such as Libya, Iraq and Syria), governments backed by NATO (such as Saudi Arabia), and a growing camp of non-aligned nations.

The Soviet and other Eastern Bloc economies continued to stagnate. Worldwide inflation occurred following the 1973 oil crisis.

Donald Nixon

Francis Donald Nixon (November 23, 1914 – June 27, 1987) was a

younger brother of United States President Richard Nixon.


Détente (French pronunciation: ​[detɑ̃t], meaning "relaxation") is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation, through verbal communication. The term in diplomacy originates around 1912 when France and Germany tried, without success, to reduce tensions.Most often the term is used for a phase of the Cold War. It was the policy of relaxing tensions between Moscow and the West, as promoted by Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger and Leonid Brezhnev, 1969 – 1974. With the United States showing weakness at the top that forced Richard Nixon out of office, Brezhnev used the opportunity to expand Soviet influence. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 decisively ended any talk of détente.

Foreign policy doctrine

A foreign policy doctrine is a general statement of foreign policy and belief system through a doctrine. In some cases, the statement is made by a political leader, typically a nation’s chief executive or chief diplomat, and comes to be named after that leader. Richard Nixon’s justification for the phased withdrawal of the United States from the Vietnam War, for example, came to be called the Nixon Doctrine. This pattern of naming is not universal, however; Chinese doctrines, for example, are often referred to by number.

The purpose of a foreign policy doctrine is to provide general rules for the conduct of foreign policy through decisions on international relations. These rules allow the political leadership of a nation to deal with a situation and to explain the actions of a nation to other nations. “Doctrine” is usually not meant to have any negative connotations; it is especially not to be confused with “dogma.”

Foreign policy of the Richard Nixon administration

The Foreign policy of the Richard Nixon administration focuses on his presidential years, 1969-1974, and some of the preliminary and follow up developments.


In the Russian language the word Glasnost (; Russian: гла́сность, IPA: [ˈɡɫasnəsʲtʲ] (listen)) has several general and specific meanings. It has been used in Russian to mean "openness and transparency" since at least the end of the eighteenth century.In the Russian Empire of the late-19th century, the term was particularly associated with reforms of the judicial system, ensuring that the press and the public could attend court hearings and that the sentence was read out in public. In the mid-1980s, it was popularised by Mikhail Gorbachev as a political slogan for increased government transparency in the Soviet Union.

History of United States foreign policy

History of United States foreign policy is a brief overview of major trends regarding the foreign policy of the United States from the American Revolution to the present. The major themes are becoming an "Empire of Liberty", promoting democracy, expanding across the continent, supporting liberal internationalism, contesting World Wars and the Cold War, fighting international terrorism, developing the Third World, and building a strong world economy.

Jennie Eisenhower

Jennie Elizabeth Eisenhower (born August 15, 1978) is an American actress. She has performed in a number of theater productions and had minor roles in some feature films. She is the great-grandchild and grandchild of Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, respectively.

Moscow Summit (1972)

The Moscow Summit of 1972 was a summit meeting between President Richard M. Nixon of the United States and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It was held May 22–30, 1972. It featured the signing of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I), and the U.S.–Soviet Incidents at Sea agreement. The summit is considered one of the hallmarks of the détente at the time between the two Cold War antagonists.

Nathan Gonzalez

Nathan Gonzalez (born in 1979) is an American scholar, author and journalist based in Orange County, California.

He is a Middle East analyst with the Foreign Policy in Focus think-tank, and founder of the website, an "open-source foreign policy think tank." He is also a blogger with The Huffington Post.His book Engaging Iran: The Rise of a Middle East Powerhouse and America's Strategic Choice, borrows from the foreign policy school of realism. It suggests that a revised Nixon Doctrine should be pursued in the Middle East. His book, as well as some of his blog entries, suggest that Iran and the United States share many interests, and that America should actively pursue diplomacy with the Islamic Republic.

Obama Doctrine

The Obama Doctrine is a catch-all term frequently used to describe one or several principles of the foreign policy of U.S. President Barack Obama. It is still not agreed whether there was an actual Obama Doctrine. Nevertheless, during an interview with the New York Times, Obama briefly commented about the doctrine saying: "You asked about an Obama doctrine, the doctrine is we will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities".Unlike precisely-defined policies such as the Monroe Doctrine, Truman Doctrine, Nixon Doctrine, Carter Doctrine, Reagan Doctrine or Bush Doctrine, the Obama Doctrine is not a specific foreign policy introduced by the executive. This has led journalists and political commentators to analyze what the exact tenets of an Obama Doctrine might look like. Generally speaking, it is widely accepted that a central part of such a doctrine would emphasize negotiation and collaboration rather than confrontation and unilateralism in international affairs. This policy has been praised by some as a welcome change from the interventionist Bush Doctrine. Critics of Obama's unilateral policies (such as targeted killings of suspected enemies of the US) including former republican United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, have described it as overly idealistic and naïve, promoting appeasement of adversaries. Others have drawn attention to its radical departure in tone from not only the policies of the Bush administration but many former presidents as well. Some trace the origin of Obama's doctrine to a speech he delivered at West Point in May 2014, where he asserted that the "United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it," but for indirect threats or humanitarian crises, "we must mobilize partners to take collective action." This doctrine of "moral multilateralism," some argue, reflects Obama's interest in philosopher Reinhold Niebuhr, who supported an interventionist U.S. foreign policy but warned against hubris and moral misjudgment.

Presidency of Richard Nixon

The presidency of Richard Nixon began on January 20, 1969, when Richard Nixon was inaugurated as the 37th President of the United States, and ended on August 9, 1974 when he resigned from office, the first (and to date only) U.S. president ever to do so. A Republican, Nixon took office after the 1968 presidential election, in which he defeated Hubert Humphrey, the then–incumbent Vice President. Four years later, in 1972, he won reelection in a landslide victory over U.S. Senator George McGovern.

Nixon, the 37th United States president, succeeded Lyndon B. Johnson, who had launched the Great Society, a set of domestic programs financed and run by the federal government. In contrast, Nixon advocated a "New Federalism" domestic program model, one in which certain powers would devolve back to the states. The creation of the EPA, passage of the Endangered Species Act, and the integration of Southern public schools happened during his presidency, as did the end of military draft and the Apollo program, which successfully landed Americans on the Moon.

Nixon's primary focus while in office was on foreign affairs. His foreign policy agenda, known as the Nixon Doctrine, called for indirect assistance to American allies in the Cold War, with the "Vietnamization" of the Vietnam War being the most notable example of this policy. Nixon ended American involvement in the Vietnam War, and his administration succeeded in achieving a negotiated settlement. Nixon became the first U.S. president to visit the People's Republic of China, taking advantage of the Sino-Soviet split and significantly altering the nature of the Cold War. Nixon also pursued a strategy of detente with the Soviet Union, resulting in the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and SALT I, the first two landmark arms control treaties of their kind.

Beginning in 1973, Nixon was forced to devote increasing attention to the Watergate scandal that enveloped his administration. He resigned from office in the face of near-certain impeachment. He was succeeded by Vice President Gerald Ford, who had become vice president nine months earlier, following Spiro Agnew's resignation from office.

While Nixon's premature departure from office tends to dominate contemporary assessments of his presidency – and Nixon's domestic and foreign policy accomplishments are largely overshadowed by the scandals that enveloped his administration – his legacy has undergone reevaluation in the more than 40 years since his resignation. Political historian and pollster Douglas Schoen argues that Nixon was the most important American figure in post-war U.S. politics, while constitutional law professor Cass Sunstein noted in 2017, "If you are listing the five most consequential Presidents in American history, you could make a good argument that Nixon belongs on the list."

U.S. Military and prostitution in South Korea

During and following the Korean War, the U.S. military utilized a regulated system of prostitution in military camptowns that were established within South Korea. Despite prostitution being illegal since 1948, women in South Korea were the fundamental source of sex services for the U.S. military as well as a component of American and Korean relations. The women in South Korea who serve as prostitutes are known as kijich'on women and were visited by the U.S. military, Korean soldiers and Korean civilians. Kijich'on women were from Korea, Philippines, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Indonesia as well as women from the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Ulbricht Doctrine

The Ulbricht Doctrine, named after East German leader Walter Ulbricht, was the assertion that normal diplomatic relations between East Germany and West Germany could occur only if both states fully recognised each other's sovereignty. That contrasted with the Hallstein Doctrine, a West German policy which insisted that West Germany was the only legitimate German state.

East Germany gained acceptance of its view from fellow Communist states, such as Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria, which all agreed not to normalise relations with West Germany until it recognised East German sovereignty.

West Germany eventually abandoned its Hallstein Doctrine, instead adopting the policies of Ostpolitik. In December 1972, a Basic Treaty between East and West Germany was signed that reaffirmed two German states as separate entities. The treaty also allowed the exchange of diplomatic missions and the entry of both German states to the United Nations as full members.

United States presidential doctrines

A United States Presidential doctrine comprises the key goals, attitudes, or stances for United States foreign affairs outlined by a President. Most presidential doctrines are related to the Cold War. Though many U.S. Presidents had themes related to their handling of foreign policy, the term doctrine generally applies to Presidents such as James Monroe, Harry S. Truman, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, all of whom had doctrines which more completely characterized their foreign policy.

Western Bloc

The Western Bloc during the Cold War refers to capitalist countries under the hegemony of the United States and NATO against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. The latter were referred to as the Eastern Bloc. The governments and press of the Western Bloc were more inclined to refer to themselves as the "Free World" or the "Western world", whereas the Eastern Bloc was often called the "Communist world or Second world".

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