In a twist of irony...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by kobalap, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. kobalap macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Vietnam wins U.S. defense pledges as tension with China grows

    I was just a kid during the end of the Vietnam "war" so what I know of it is based on documentaries. The picture I've always walked away with was we were the good guys and the North Vietnamese and their Viet Cong contingent were the bad guys - communists and what not.

    In the back of my head, I never could understand why they were the bad guys - after all, what do we care what form of government they had? And if you take a close look, it was the South Vietnamese that had rampant corruption. And they were, from what I can gather, not nearly committed to the cause of their own independence.
     
  2. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #2

    Well one thing I sure never learned in high school world history about Vietnam was that in the year 40AD, the Trung sisters led an uprising against China and and established an independent state in North Vietnam, short-lived though it (and the two sisters) proved to be when the Han Chinese took offense and "remedied" that situation.

    You could do worse than have a look at Stanley Karnow’s history of Vietnam, I found it fascinating and comprehensive. He was in Vietnam when the first American was killed in 1959 and was still there in 1974; his history of the country was published in 1983.

    https://www.amazon.com/Vietnam-History-Stanley-Karnow/dp/0140265473
     
  3. Rhonindk macrumors 68040

    Rhonindk

    #3
    The fear of the spread of communism.
    There was Cuba / Castro / Cuban Missile Crisis...
    The fear of the spread of communism globally...
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aftermath_of_World_War_II
    Then there was Vietnam and the stepping stone role ...
    http://www.history.com/topics/vietnam-war/vietnam-war-history
    http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1962/3/30/communism-and-vietnam-pin-1954-the/
     
  4. Gutwrench Contributor

    Gutwrench

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    #4
  5. sorcery macrumors regular

    sorcery

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    #5
    Fear of the spread of Nationalism, which is detrimental to Multinational Corporation profits. "Communism" is what we call it when we seek approval for war.
     
  6. LizKat, Aug 9, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017

    LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #6
    The Vietnamese call it the American war, you know.

    For the America-centric, the Vietnam War may have been about preventing execution of what was asserted to be the domino theory of states falling to communism. However, to the Vietnamese it was first a war of liberation of Indochina from the French, and then a matter of dislodging the Americans who had supported the final and corrupt government of South Vietnam.

    Indochine was gradually occupied by the French between the 1860s and the 1880s. The French were colonizers, the USA --picking up a few years after the French finally quit in 1954-- were invaders and occupiers and the Vietnamese on both sides of the fence were having a civil war with different aims. The south saw the north as communist, but the north saw the south as oppressed by France's successor, the USA.

    Beauty always in the eye of the beholder. A great great aunt of mine who had been to china as a missionary (and came home more or less a buddhist lol) remarked on the growing prospects of the US wading into Vietnam after it got in there initially as advisers during the late 50s. She asserted that this would not be a war that the USA could win. We were there for political reasons and they were there (on both sides) with their hearts on their sleeves. No contest there no matter how bloody and protracted. And it was after all due to political weakness that the US lost that war.
     
  7. sorcery macrumors regular

    sorcery

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    #7
    All sorts of things wrong about that war. Operation Phoenix assassinating thousands of civilians. Relocating entire villages far away from the graves of their cherished ancestors. The breakdown of the US chain of command as NCOs undermined junior officers. Little or no attempt to maintain morale. Poor jungle tradecraft - we smell of that which we consume, cigarette smoke, toothpaste, burgers go a long way in the bush. (The Australian SAS contingent did that better.) And massive bombing campaigns and indiscriminate murder made everyone hate us, well, the few who didn't already.
     
  8. Rhonindk macrumors 68040

    Rhonindk

    #8
    Cool place to visit these days. There are still some reminders out there...
     
  9. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #9
    The defining event of a llifetime for whoever was draftable at the time. And for their families. Seemed to me like everyone who went, and who didn't come home in a box, came back changed in ways they never did shake off afterwards. Even if "all they did" was sit behind a desk in DaNang and order toilet paper or ballpoint pens, or live in Thailand, load bombs or fix airframes of planes other guys were to fly. It was not the first or last war I saw people go to and come home from, or not come home from, but there was a terrible grinding of gears in the USA. It grated on everyone from the White House down to the vet sitting on a blanket outside a liquor store with a couple quarters thrown down by passersby in the morning rush hour.

    I don't know. I had kin in the Korean War also, but even they said it wasn't the same as with Vietnam: in the Korean one there was not the breakdown in morale and discipilne and there was not also back home a mounting protest of the endeavor they were supposed to be making. The people back home in Korean war time were weary still of WWII and just wanting their guy to come home and settle back into what had been a good time for a lot of people in the late 40s, early 50s except for Joe McCarthy's gig

    But coming home from Vietnam was a nightmare for a lot of people, having to shake off the drug thing, trying to understand the hostility, not getting jobs... and the war was still on, dragging on, so homecomers would be watching people running around scrawling FBI in library, calling soldiers baby killers, all that stuff. They were mourning dead buddies and spitting as the draft was finally cancelled, figuring why not cancel it before so many best friends died in a jungle... such a confusing time.
     
  10. sorcery macrumors regular

    sorcery

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    #10
    Yup, America lost its innocence and camaraderie. I was pro government and quite right wing back then. Times change.
     
  11. R.Perez macrumors 6502

    R.Perez

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    #11

    And then everything they said about communism came true under capitalism. Capitalism now touches every part of the globe.
     
  12. DrewDaHilp1 macrumors 6502a

    DrewDaHilp1

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    I'm a bit rusty on my Vietnamese history, but wasn't Ho Ching Ming pro Jeffersonian Democracy until the US turned him down in his wants for us to side with the Vietnamese vs the French?
     
  13. LizKat, Aug 10, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017

    LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #13
    It's unclear, I think. Some of what he claimed about his liberation cred was sort of tacked in after the fact of his recognition as a revolutionary leader, although early on he was definitely about getting out from under the French, even while he took advantage of opportunity to get a French education in Paris, for example.

    He did want the USA at least to hear his group's petition for recognition of Vietnamese rights in Indochina at the Versailles conference after WWI. After school in France, he spent time in the UK, spent some time in the US in 1911-12 and then went back to the UK for most of what ended up being the World War I period. By its conclusion or shortly thereafter he went back to Paris, already in possession of a socialist frameworks as certainly a better idea for Indochina than French colonialism.

    He had tried to get time with Woodrow Wilson then to present his group's views for Vietnam but was rebuffed. After that he spent a lot of time in Russia/Asia and by time returned to Vietnam for good in the early 40s was pretty much a full on communist although had supportive contacts with the Allies during WWII in Vietnam trying to get Japan and the Vichy French out of Indochina

    He also appealed to the US another time, asking Truman to help Vietnam gain independence in 1945. The US had signed onto the Atlantic Charter which had an international platform that included "rights of self determination". But, the US did not respond to him. By then Ho Chi Minh was already engaged in some pretty violent attempts to sort out which rebel group exactly was going to take charge of getting the French gone, so that may have had something to do with our reluctance there. Or,,, we had just thrown in with free-France resuming control of Indochina because WWII alliance. To me we always seemed late to the game we talked about later on in the region. But, hindsight is different from being there at the time...

    One of the things I liked about Stanley Karnow's book that I mentioned earlier was that he didn't just cover "the American war" / "the Vietnamese war" but did go way back into the area's history and covered the time of the development of Ho Chi Minh's political outlook, underpinnings of family, education, travel abroad and so forth. I'm sure more has been unearthed about plenty of the principals in all facets of the conflict since Karnow's book was written, but those discoveries are probably at a pretty granular level.
     

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