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The Universe UnravelingAmerican Foreign Policy in Cold War Laos$
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Seth Jacobs

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801445477

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801445477.001.0001

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“Help the Seemingly Unhelpable”

“Help the Seemingly Unhelpable”

“Little America” and the U.S. Aid Program in Laos

(p.82) Chapter 3 “Help the Seemingly Unhelpable”
The Universe Unraveling

Seth Jacobs

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the relationship between the U.S. population in Vientiane and the Lao. Americans did not involve themselves in the host community, rarely explored the countryside, exhibited no curiosity about local customs and folklore, and seemed not to care if they were making a positive impression on the Lao. When necessity compelled U.S. aid workers to interact with the Lao, they lectured rather than listened. Never did they treat local inhabitants as allies and friends and they made no attempt to foster a sense of camaraderie. In fact, they doubted whether the Lao could contribute anything to the struggle against communist encroachment. As such, they conceived and executed projects that did not work in a Lao context and that were extraordinarily wasteful and corrupting.

Keywords:   U.S. aid program, U.S.-Lao relations, Lao, Eisenhower administration

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