Military Review English Edition July-August 2014 - Page 94

BEFORE THE QUAGMIRE: American Intervention in Laos 1954-1961 William J. Rust, University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, 2012, 323 pages, $40.00. I f you want a new idea, read an old book. Similarly, if you seek new ideas on current and future foreign policy issues, take a moment to review a book on a previous foreign policy. Though not the author’s stated intent, it’s hard not to make parallels between many of today’s current foreign policy issues and American policy in Laos in the 1950s. In Before the Quagmire, journalist and author William Rust takes a historical look at American involvement in Laos and examines how a small foreign policy issue was transformed into a much larger conflagration. He does so by seeing Laos in the greater context of the Cold War, and examining the internal American and Laotian decisions that ultimately set the U.S. on a course of greater military involvement in both Laos and Vietnam. Rust focuses this detailed history of American policy in Laos on the years of the Ei ͕