Why Vietnam and not Laos?

It first seemed that the US would choose Laos, not Vietnam, as the battleground to oppose the spread of communism in Southeast Asia. What changed? Boston College historian Seth Jacobs explores the events, circumstances, and in particular, the perceptions and attitudes that shaped American decision-making in Laos in his new book The Universe Unraveling: American Foreign Policy in Cold War Laos. Jacobs is an expert on US foreign policy, particularly in the second-half of the 20th century. His other books are Cold War Mandarin: Ngo Dinh Diem and the Origins of America’s War in Vietnam, 1950-1963 and America’s Miracle Man in Vietnam: Ngo Dinh Diem, Religion, Race and U.S. Intervention in Southeast Asia, 1950-1957. Read an interview with Jacobs in the Boston College Chronicle.
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