Well, let us turn now to the fundamental issue. Why and how did the United States become involved in Vietnam in the first place?
The use of binary conceptualizations and juxtaposition is weak, as Nixon focuses on the size of the content rather than its depth. Even when he gets angry at the Hanoi politicians for being an obstacle in peace negotiations, it is rather a frustration that is visible in the text.
The obstacle is the other side's absolute refusal to show the least willingness to join us in seeking a just peace. And it will not do so while it is convinced that all it has to do is to wait for our next concession, and our next concession after that one, until it gets everything it wants.
In a very simple manner, Nixon uses the other side as a pointer for the enemy and consequently minimizes this other site to an it, emphasizing it lifelessness and its distance.
Table 8.26 shows the top twelve nouns, among which are the expected ones like Vietnam, war, peace, people or nation, but also some particular ones, demonstrating that Nixon had more in mind than to just announce the continuation of the war in Vietnam.
For example the word policy only confirms his opportunistic introduction of changes to foreign policy, world, being in sync with the appeal to American values (below) and also years, often appearing in collocation with events in history. As noted in the syntactic section, Nixon uses diachronic features to list various events clearly to his advantage, strengthening them by a smart repetition of next election and next generation, appealing to the audience as a valiant leader, having the interests of people, rather than his own, in mind.
But I had a greater obligation than to think only of the years of my administration and of the next election. I had to think of the effect of my decision on the next generation and on the future of peace and freedom in America and in the world.
Hand in hand with Nixon’s hidden agenda is the use of occasional presupposition, employed when talking mainly about political status.
This would spark violence wherever our commitments help maintain the peace-in the Middle East, in Berlin, eventually even in the Western Hemisphere.
The audience is expected to know the situations in the Middle East, Berlin or even the entire Western Hemisphere to be able to correctly interpret Nixon’s statement. Unlike Lincoln, who would explain every little detail of these relations, Nixon just leaves the audience to infer. Nixon’s favorite word years also appears in his occasional metaphors, and his speech also contains some metonymies as well.
I realize that it is difficult to communicate meaningfully across the gulf of four years of war.
As for conceptual metaphor appearing in Kennedy’s and Truman’s speeches, Nixon also continues this, now, tradition. However, while his predecessors focused on reasoning through appeal to humanity (Truman) or the proximity of the conflict (Kennedy), Nixon does not really reason why to get involved in Vietnam as the war is already under way and he is only deciding whether to stay or not. As justification for staying, he at first speaks of the atrocities of the Communist regime in South Vietnam.
For the South Vietnamese, our precipitate withdrawal would inevitably allowthe Communists to repeat the massacres which followed their takeover in the North 15 years before.
He, however, connects this idea with an idea in the following paragraph where he speaks of a different kind of justification – interestingly – the implausible first defeat of the USA, which would be devastating not just for the USA but for the entire world.
For the United States, this first defeat in our Nation's history would result in a collapse of confidence in American leadership, not only in Asia but throughout the world.
He finishes by a strong appeal to morals, as he compares quitting in Vietnam to a betrayal of all American allies.
A nation cannot remain great if it betrays its allies and lets down its friends.
He relates the concept of helping the Vietnamese overcome the Communist forces to another concept of remaining a great nation, which he later uses interchangeably as one.