As far as Vietnam War is concerned, explain what it means for the negotiators themselves to save face on a personal level.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are some significant areas for wide exploration in the question.  I am not entirely sure that there will be an area for one particular and direct answer to be offered.  I think that "the negotiators" in the Vietnam War would be represented by the government officials that became so associated with the war.  In this light, it makes sense that many of the negotiators felt the need to save face on a personal level. As the war advanced, becoming one that America was forced to own, many individuals felt that the outcome of the war was reflective of themselves and impacted their relationship with the American public.  Consider the actions of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in this light.  McNamara found it increasingly difficult to "save face" as the war descended into more escalation and complex metrics that could not really make the case for victory.  President Johnson struggled to "save face on a personal level."  The inability to do so helped to make his decision not to run for reelection.  The reality was that the war became difficult to articulate to the American public.  The war had advanced to a point where the negotiators in the position of power were cognizant of the fact that as the war progressed, greater loss of credibility with the American public was a reality, causing them to have to save face with the body politic as opposed to continuing with a program that experienced an erosion of public support.