Date of Award

Spring 5-1989

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science & Geography


Graduate Program in International studies

Committee Director

Mary Ann Tetreault

Committee Member

Lorraine Lees

Committee Member

Kidana Mengisteab

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.I45T79


This thesis addresses the question, why does U.S. foreign policy contribute to political instability in developing nations? To ascertain the answer, it analyzes the post-World War II administrations from Truman through Johnson. One mode of containment, cliency, a foreign policy relationship between a major power and a weaker state, is developed within the framework analyzing containment. The cliency model provides a theoretical basis for explaining how the domestic structure of the client state is systematically distorted by the patron's actions in pursuit of its global interests. The cliency model is also linked to the pattern of development and stability of a state, with state-society relations, highly vulnerable to the effects of applying the instruments of cliency within the client state, having a key role in state stability. This framework is then applied in a case study of Vietnam which analyzes the implementation of U.S. foreign policy through containment and cliency and how this affected state-society relations in Vietnam. The results of the case study reveal that U.S. foreign policy significantly contributed to political instability in the developing state of Vietnam.


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