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A demonstration of American impotence in Asia cannot fail to lessen the credibility of American pledges in other fields We are no longer fighting in Vietnam only for the Vietnamese we are also fighting for ourselves -Henry Kissinger Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs In John T Rourkes International Politics on the World Stage a distinction is made between two kinds of power coercive and persuasive Coercive power is the power to make another country do something through military force and economic sanctions while persuasive power uses moral authority and technological excellence which enhance a countrys image of leadership Rourke argues that the latter is growing in importance while the former is declining because it is more costly and less effective The United States is the premier power in the world and with that power comes the obligation to use that power responsibly and hence know when it is better to use coercive power and when persuasive power is needed When the Americans extended the Vietnamese war into the borders of Cambodia this was a prime example of coercive power The use of an extensive B-52 campaign without the full knowledge of important Cambodian and American officials the killing of innocent Cambodian civilians and the falsification of documents and lying to the public about the bombings are all examples of the coercive power used in the bombing of Cambodia These misuses of power show a lack of responsibility as well as a lack of morality Not only was this misuse of power immoral but it was to ultimately fail In 1954 the Geneva Conference on peace in Southeast Asia recognised Cambodia as a neutral country This neutrality meant that Cambodia was not supposed to get involved in the war in Vietnam On March 18 1969 two months after Richard Nixon took office as President of the United States the bombing of COSVN HQ-Central Office for Vietnam headquarters- began This
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