The Tonkin Gulf Resolution

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The Tonkin Gulf Resolution

The Tonkin Gulf and the Tonkin Gulf Resolution are two phrases that are surrounded by much controversy. One major incident involves the United States. Even though this area is half way around the world, an event occurred at this location nearly 40 years ago that has caused the United States much grief. To describe the previous, the Gulf of Tonkin is an area of water that is shared between Vietnam and China. The Gulf contains an area of approximately 44,200 square kilometers of water-covered land (Keyuan, 1999). For centuries the water body was used peacefully between Vietnam and China. Within the past 75 years though, many economic, political and legal issues have surfaced causing many tribulations between the two lands. Problems have been about issues such as: fishing grounds, control of oil, gas, and many other major natural resources, and the boundary of the gulf itself (Keyuan, 1999).

As for the latter, the Tonkin Gulf Resolution came around to control an infamous incident that happened at the gulf. The resolution has greatly influenced America's foreign relation policies.

On August 2, 1964, on the dark waters of the Tonkin Gulf, the Maddox, an American destroyer, was attacked by North Vietnamese torpedo boats eight miles off of the coast of North Vietnam (Economist, 1997). The reason for the boat being present was that the United States was in the process of helping South Vietnam stay peaceful with North Vietnam. Lyndon Johnson was the president at the time. The president's administration disclosed the attack to the public, but chose not to retaliate. They did not expect another attack. The Maddox was then reinforced by the Turner Joy, another boat, and was ordered to stay eleven miles off the coast of North Vietnam instead of the previous order of eight...