"The battle against Communism must be joined in Southeast Asia with strength and determination to achieve success there—or the United States, inevitably, must surrender the Pacific and take up our defenses on our own shores. Asian communism is compromised and contained by the maintenance of free nations on the subcontinent. Without this inhibitory influence, the island outposts—Philippines, Japan, Taiwan—have no security and the vast Pacific becomes a Red Sea….
"Vietnam and Thailand are the immediate—and most important—trouble spots, critical to the U.S….We must decide whether to help these countries to the best of our ability or throw in the towel in the area and pull back our defenses to San Francisco and a 'Fortress America' concept."
— Then-vice president Lyndon Johnson to President John F. Kennedy, 1961 —
"If South Vietnam falls, through U.S. withdrawal, political settlement, or neutralization (which is surrender on the installment plan), there is no doubt that Cambodia (already on the brink) will go; that Laos, practically gone now because of our gullibility, will go; that Thailand (which wants to be on our side but has held her independence by being on the winning side) will go; … and that Indonesia will go….
"In three or four years, then, we would have the necessity of saving the Philippines. Could we avoid a major war to save the Philippines? …
"If southeast Asia goes Communist, Japan will eventually be pulled irresistibly into the Red orbit.
"If the United States gives up on Vietnam, Asia will give up on the United States and the Pacific will become a Red sea."
— Richard M. Nixon, 1965 —