Vietnam Syndrome and its Effects on the Gulf War Strategy

Baturay Yurtbay


The Vietnam War killed and wounded many soldiers and civilians. US foreign policy began to shift after the War’s, end including discussions on the level of power to be used for future wars or conflicts. The United States experienced considerable anxiety over its failures in Vietnam, which was coined the Vietnam Syndrome by the media and various political sciences scholars. The Gulf War, the first serious use of US military power after the Vietnam War, began with discussions about the suitable use of force and how the Vietnam War Syndrome could be overcome. While the Vietnam War was a huge failure for the United States, it also paved the way for new discussions on US foreign policy dealing with appropriate use of force, including last resort uses and US vital interests. These discussions are considered as the corner stone for the US success in the Gulf War.

This study will briefly explain the effects and consequences of the Vietnam War and the Gulf War as well as analyse US foreign policy discussions between the Vietnam War and the Gulf War. While examining US foreign policy and the US intervention in the Gulf War, this research will mainly focus on the Shultz doctrine and the Weinberger doctrine. This study will show that the Vietnam War started many discussions on  the use of  force and its application in future wars that were part of the US Gulf War military strategy. Even though the United States experienced failure in the Vietnam War, the lessons taken helped to govern future conflicts and the most important clues were seen in the Gulf War.


The Vietnam Syndrome, The Gulf War, Vietnam Syndrome, Weinberger, Shultz



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