Hey, Who Did Win the Vietnam War Anyway?

 

Vietnam Today

 

History is full of ironies and none more so than the development of Vietnam in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.  Independent journalist Michael Totten, who specializes in covering wars and desperately poor, ill governed countries, gives us refreshing news about Vietnam:

 

The ruling Communist Party knows better than just about anyone that communist economics are a disaster. Vietnam’s economy has been growing at light speed for a while now. I knew that in advance, and yet it still stunned me. The city trembles with industriousness and entrepreneurship. Small and large businesses are everywhere. Half the residents seem to be in business for themselves. Anything and everything you can possibly imagine is for sale, though it’s not all high-end yet. I saw a Louis Vuitton outlet next to a bootleg CD store, an elegant Western-style café next to low-end bar with hard chairs and no air-conditioning, a Body Shop next to a used clothing store with cast-off second-hand T-shirts from the West, and an art gallery next to a store selling old pots and pans.

Market economies are uneven, no doubt, but they sure as hell beat the alternative. I could hardly believe it, but when I was a kid the Vietnamese stood in long lines on the street to exchange ration coupons for handfuls of rice. Today the country is one of the world’s largest exporters of rice.

Japan and South Korea: watch out. If the economy keeps growing and the political system breaks open, Vietnam will be a country to reckon with.

Go here to read the rest.  The Vietnamese have capitalism down pat, which will come as little surprise to anyone who served in South Vietnam and saw a Vietnamese market in operation.  Add freedom to the mix and I think that Vietnam and the US will be firm allies, especially if the US relationship with China becomes problematic.  Up in Heaven I suspect that Rocky Versace is laughing his tail  off about all of this!

10 Responses to Hey, Who Did Win the Vietnam War Anyway?

  • Well, as long as I am on a roll – Vietnam will do what we in the United States refuse to do. The Vietnamese Government understands that a highly technical, industrialized and entrepreneurial society requires access to low cost, plentiful, safe and clean energy. Therefore, enjoy:
    .
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-T-Z/Vietnam/
    .
    Sadly, because of the politics of my profession I cannot work on the Russian VVER’s that Vietnam plans to build.

  • This really comes as no surprise.
    I am old enough to have known a number of people who, as administrators, had lived most of their lives in Indochina. They were all convinced that the Viet Minh was a broad-based nationalist movement, with a relatively small Communist cadre that owed its position of leadership to its superior organization. They predicted that, following independence, Vietnam would become a non-aligned country on the Yugoslav model; the mass of the people would no more relish Chinese rule than French, not even the ethnically-Chinese Binh Xuyen, the political wing of the Vietnamese Mafia.
    I have always thought it not without significance that Truong Chinh’s proposals for land reform on the Chinese model were quietly shelved. Even though flushed with victory, the leadership feared a “revolution of folded arms” by an intransigent peasantry.

  • No, the communists under Ho Chi Minh, Nguyễn Sinh Côn, a very early Comintern agent, were complete Communists. After their victory in 1975, and as Ho, who died in 1969, was followed to the grave by the founders of the Communist state, their successors, after a disastrous attempt to collectivize all farms and factories post 1975, swiftly learned that Communism simply did not work in producing a growing economy, leading to the market reforms of 1986. Vietnam remains a one party state with grave human rights violations, but it is clear that the government remains in place only due to force and the success of the economy and that the true believers in Communism in all of Vietnam are fewer in number than the true believers in Marxism at most major American universities.

  • The situation was, undoubtedly complicated by the flight to the South of war-time collaborators, landowners, rentiers, usurers, those who exploited the labour of others for profit generally, criminals and hooligans of all sorts, in the wake of the Geneva Accords. These were determined to do all in their power to keep the country divided and to elude the people’s justice.
    This was precisely the outcome that, in France, Guy Mollet, the future Prime Minister, had predicted, if national elections in Vietnam were postponed. Leader of the French Section of the Workers’ International, Mollet was a fervent anti-Communist, famous for his remark that « Les communistes ne sont pas à gauche… Ils sont à l’Est » – The Communists are not on the left, but in the East, that is, puppets of Moscow.

  • “The situation was, undoubtedly complicated by the flight to the South of war-time collaborators, landowners, rentiers, usurers, those who exploited the labour of others for profit generally, criminals and hooligans of all sorts, in the wake of the Geneva Accords. These were determined to do all in their power to keep the country divided and to elude the people’s justice.”

    What a truly bizarre and ahistoric rant. More than one million Vietnamese fled North Vietnam, many of them Catholics, which considering the massacres imposed by Ho’s regime and the Gulag prison camp system they set up, and the lack of any freedom, was a perfectly rational thing to do.

  • They predicted that, following independence, Vietnam would become a non-aligned country on the Yugoslav model;

    Well, they were wrong.

  • “[M]any of them Catholics”

    Naturally. Most Buddhists supported the policies of the Hoa Hao; anti-colonialist (they had fought valiantly against both the French and Japanese) and a party of national unity. Catholics, by contrast, were suspected, perhaps unfairly, of being lukewarm at best towards the National Liberation Front.

  • “Catholics, by contrast, were suspected, perhaps unfairly, of being lukewarm at best towards the National Liberation Front.”

    Utter rubbish. They were suspected, rightly, of being unwilling to bow their necks to their new would be Communist masters instead of Christ. Some 60% of North Vietnamese Catholics fled to the South. More would have if the North Vietnamese regime had not used military force to hold onto some of their people who wished to get away, always a characteristic of every Communist state.

  • Catholics, by contrast, were suspected, perhaps unfairly, of being lukewarm at best towards the National Liberation Front.

    I just cannot imagine why anyone would be ‘lukewarm’ toward Ho Chih Minh’s minions.

  • With all respect Mr.Patterson-Seymour, considering the enmity between the French (who I presume to be the administrators you speak of) and Americans on post-war Indochina, there was clearly an interest or wish to portray the conflict as something different from the American perspective. Unlike the British who sought to build on a paternalistic post-war, post-imperial identity with their former colonies, France was very interested in continuing her colonial relations. And when those relation proved an economic liability, she sought help from a United States that rebuffed and actively sought the withdrawal of France from Indochina. Was it or was it not a common attitude that the whole Vietnam War was merely a game the Americans were playing to supplant France in the area?

    So it appears awfully convenient in this light for these administrators to downplay the communists and exaggerate the nationalists- left unsaid that the Americans faced a populist uprising because those selfsame administrators were no longer in charge.

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