Nixon Doctrine

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The Nixon Doctrine was put forth in a press conference in Guam on July 25, 1969 by Richard Nixon. He stated that the United States henceforth expected its allies to take care of their own military defense. This was the continuation of the "Vietnamization" of the Vietnam War started in March of 1968 under Johnson. The Doctrine argued for the pursuit of peace through a partnership with American allies.

In Nixon's own words (Address to the Nation on the War in Vietnam November 3, 1969)

  • 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.

The doctrine was also applied by the Nixon administration in the Persian Gulf region, with military aid to Iran and Saudi Arabia, so that these U.S. allies could undertake the responsibility of ensuring peace and stability in the region. According to Michael Klare, author of Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Petroleum Dependency (New York: Henry Holt, 2004), application of the Nixon Doctrine "opened the floodgates" of U.S. military aid to allies in the Persian Gulf, and helped set the stage for the Carter Doctrine and for the subsequent direct U.S. military involvement of the Gulf War and the Iraq War.

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Nixon Doctrine

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