The key problem for his presidency clearly would be the Vietnam War. It had driven his predecessor from office, and if it were not resolved in a way that could be turned to political advantage, it would drive him from office as well. Two months after Nixon assumed the presidency, American combat deaths exceeded thirty-six hundred, and there seemed no end in sight. Nixon was in a dilemma, for during the campaign he had said that he had a "secret plan" to end the war but could not divulge it because it might upset the Paris peace negotiations. If his plan involved escalation, Democrats could charge that he was abandoning attempts to reach a peaceful solution and could point to mounting American casualties and prisoners of war. If he negotiated a solution that led to the fall of the government in Saigon, Democrats could charge he had abandoned an ally. Nixon had to find a way to cut American commitments while preserving the non-Communist government in South Vietnam—at least for a "decent interval" so that the overthrow of the regime could not be blamed on the United States (Morgan 2002).
Nixon, his national security adviser Henry Kissinger, and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird settled on an approach with several elements. First, the Laird policy for "Vietnamization" was adopted. Responsibility for fighting would be turned over to the Vietnamese, in order to reduce American casualties. Gradually American forces would be withdrawn. This would buy time on the home front. Second, a variant of the "madman" approach in international relations would be adopted. The administration would warn the North Vietnamese that unless they settled soon they would be subjected to carpet bombing of cities, mining of harbors, and even the spread of radioactive debris to halt infiltration of the South. Irrigation dikes would be destroyed and forests defoliated. Third, Nixon and Kissinger would apply the principle of "linkage" in dealing with the Soviet Union: the arms and trade agreements to be proposed to the Soviets would require a quid pro quo—Moscow would have to pressure Hanoi to agree to a settlement (Roskin and Berry 2010).
Peace negotiations dragged on throughout Nixon's first term. Even before entering office, Nixon had passed word to the South Vietnamese that he could probably get better peace terms for them than the Johnson administration. But in 1969 and 1970, each side rejected the other's eight-point peace plan. In November 1971 peace talks were suspended by Washington, and in 1972 each side in turn temporarily suspended its participation in the talks (Roskin and Berry 2010)
Explicate the diplomatic doctrine the president followed, with reference to specific actions or events that occurred? The Reagan Doctrine was a strategy orchestrated and implemented by the United States under the Reagan Administration to oppose the global influence of the Soviet Union during the final years of the Cold War. While the doctrine lasted less than a decade, it was the centerpiece of United States foreign policy from the early 1980s until the end of the Cold War in 1991. Under the Reagan Doctrine, the U.S. provided overt and covert aid to anti-communist guerrillas and resistance movements in an effort to "roll back" Soviet-backed communist governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The doctrine was designed to serve the dual purposes of diminishing Soviet influence in these regions, while also potentially opening the door for capitalism (and sometimes liberal democracy) in nations that were largely being governed by Soviet-supported socialist governments. The Reagan Doctrine followed in the post–World War II tradition of U.S. presidents developing foreign policy "doctrines," which were designed to reflect the challenges facing these men and propose foreign policy solutions to them (Melanson 2000).
The tradition started with the 1947 Truman Doctrine, under which the U.S. provided support…