In This Review

No Peace, No Honor: Nixon, Kissinger, and Betrayal in Vietnam
No Peace, No Honor: Nixon, Kissinger, and Betrayal in Vietnam
By Larry Berman
Free Press, 2001, 352 pp

Berman is not neutral about Nixon's policies. On the transcendent issue of Vietnam, Berman finds there was no attempted "peace with honor" for Congress to betray by refusing to aid South Vietnam. Even those scholars who say that Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger just wanted a "decent interval" between withdrawal and South Vietnamese collapse are being too kind, Berman argues. A respected historian using newly available Vietnamese and American sources, Berman writes that Nixon and Kissinger never expected peace. In fact, they were prepared to violate the accords they negotiated, and they planned for an indefinite limited war and American military commitment in Vietnam. The peace accords would be the excuse to persuade others to support such a policy. But Berman's evidence does not sustain such a neat indictment. Instead, this grim story seems more a portrait of policymakers who kept hoping for peace with honor but kept settling for something less -- ever struggling to rationalize away the gap between the image of themselves as powerful statesmen and the real mastery of events by Moscow and Hanoi. The communist leaders knew just who was manipulating whom.