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Ironduke
09 Apr 08,, 06:20
Lee Kuan Yew:

ÖThe conventional wisdom in the media now is that the war in Iraq is an unmitigated disaster. Conventional wisdom in the 1970s assumed that the war in Vietnam was similarly an unmitigated disaster. It has been proved wrong. It bought the time and created the conditions that enabled non-communist East Asia to follow Japanís path and develop into the four dragons (South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore), followed by the four tigers (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines). Time brought about the split between the Soviet Union and China, and that led to China attacking Vietnam when it attacked Cambodia and thus broke the domino effect of communist victory in Vietnam. The four dragons and four tigers in turn changed both communist China and Vietnam into open market economies and made them freer societies. If the unexpected developments of war in Iraq are addressed in a resolute, not a defeatist manner, conventional wisdom, now pessimistic, will again be proved wrong. A stabilised Iraq, less repressive, with its different ethnic and religious communities accepting each other in some devoluted framework, can be a liberating influence in the Middle East.
Thoughts?

S2
09 Apr 08,, 06:41
Our secret weapon remains Elvis, Mickey Mouse, and Madison Ave.:biggrin:

We lose engineered information battles and yet always are winning the advertising wars in the most insidious ways- from eastern Europeans seeking Levis and bootleg albums of the Rolling Stones in the seventies to now.

Why not? Mr. Yew sees the economic miracle of Asia through an empirical lens of tangible progress and measurable data. We don't seem to know how, when and where we plant the seeds, but they take hold more often than not.

America has had an amazing and often under-recognized and appreciated impact upon the world.

Officer of Engineers
09 Apr 08,, 14:45
The Sino-Soviet Rift had a lot to do with it ... and we did not engineer that one.

S2
09 Apr 08,, 17:21
"The Sino-Soviet Rift had a lot to do with it ... and we did not engineer that one."

Colonel,

Don't mis-understand me, sir. That "Rift" just might be among the top five security/defense/political events of the 20th Century.

Colonel, there's this remarkable confluence of forces occurring in the sixties-seventies which I'm certain is still impossible to understand at all, much less in detail.

You mentioned one of them. I believe that the rise of television and advertising as mediums and messages were another. There are a few more as well.

Fascinating stuff for historians in the next century.

troung
09 Apr 08,, 21:02
and that led to China attacking Vietnam when it attacked Cambodia and thus broke the domino effect of communist victory in Vietnam

OOE you owe me a beer from a few years back when we had that talk about China invading over Cambodia - I don't drink Canadian beer either :biggrin: .

Officer of Engineers
09 Apr 08,, 21:36
Are you man enough to take Chocolate Milk?

Silent Hunter
09 Apr 08,, 21:38
Not a victory, but not the massive defeat many think it was. As Arnold Rimmer put it in Red Dwarf, "no-score draw".

vannor
09 Apr 08,, 23:49
Jello,...

Maybe, we should look at this as what good came from a bad situation.

We lost Vietnam.


However, that is not to say we(U.S.A.) should not have gone in, or even knowing what we know now, we still should have gone in. ( I feel the same about Iraq without making any comparison)

Some measurable good came from our intervention in Vietnam a few reason were mentioned above. Other reasons are more intangible and much less well recieved, such as fighting the good fight.

gunnut
10 Apr 08,, 01:01
Our secret weapon remains Elvis, Mickey Mouse, and Madison Ave.:biggrin:

We lose engineered information battles and yet always are winning the advertising wars in the most insidious ways- from eastern Europeans seeking Levis and bootleg albums of the Rolling Stones in the seventies to now.

Why not? Mr. Yew sees the economic miracle of Asia through an empirical lens of tangible progress and measurable data. We don't seem to know how, when and where we plant the seeds, but they take hold more often than not.

America has had an amazing and often under-recognized and appreciated impact upon the world.

I think the world often misunderestimate :P the impact of American culture. People laugh at the US as a culture wasteland yet we influence the world like no other culture can.:)) Coca Cola, Baywatch, McDonald's contributed just as much to halting communism as NATO, Boeing, and Aegis.

S2
10 Apr 08,, 01:12
"Coca Cola, Baywatch, McDonald's contributed just as much to halting communism as NATO, Boeing, and Aegis."

A billion pissed-off teeny-boppers is no laughing matter to the cash register.:eek:

vannor
10 Apr 08,, 01:23
Jello,...

S-2, I Agree with you.

I would even go one step further and state that our armed forces and their proficiency is only an outcome of our understanding of capitalism and its utilization

zraver
10 Apr 08,, 02:12
The Sino-Soviet Rift had a lot to do with it ... and we did not engineer that one.

But Nixon and Kissinger were smart enough to make use of it.

Officer of Engineers
10 Apr 08,, 03:49
Z,

That's the popular opinion but what was the real result? We still lost Vietnam.

It was not until Deng Xia Peng to win his civil war against the Gang of Four that we've really actually turn China to our side in practical terms. That time period was Jimmy Carter.

Shek
10 Apr 08,, 04:15
Lee Kuan Yew:

Thoughts?

No, it was a loss. The Sino-Soviet rift existed prior to the conventional intervention in 1965, and how does not fighting change the economic paths for the dragons and the tiger?

So where did the US stand in 1975? Visible defeat in SVN. An emasculated presidency with an ascendant Congress that would say no to most any conflict. On the verge of a President whose first three years in office were a disaster vis a vis the USSR. A hollow Army riddle with drug use and racial infighting. Weaponry that was often outclassed by the USSR. A USSR that had achieved nuclear parity in terms of #s of warheads thanks to a lack of continued capitalization of the nuclear force during Vietnam.

Vietnam is a "gift" that keeps on giving today. Many politicians and voters still see the world through Vietnam, which clouds judgements. It hampers recruitment, as parents of the sons and daughters of American often counsel their kids not to sign up to join their generation's "Vietnam".

I'd have to see Lee Kuan Yew's speech in full (the download timed out on me) to see if he actually has something to support his assertions, but given that the Sino-Soviet split is an obvious miss, I suspect there's not much meat to some of his other points.

troung
10 Apr 08,, 04:54
1975 also saw the USSR win additional allies in Africa on top of the fall of all of Indochina - Indochina-2 was a loss for the non communist world.

Rifleman
10 Apr 08,, 05:17
Did good things come out of our involvement there in a roundabout way? Probably so; however, we did not prevent the communist north from taking over the south. So in that sense we "lost." We did not achieve our objective.

Silent Hunter
10 Apr 08,, 12:21
The US had left Vietnam by 1975, though. It's definitely a policy loss, I'll concur with that.

Blademaster
10 Apr 08,, 14:18
I thought the bigger goal had been achieved and that was the prevention of Dominoe theory. Look at SouthEast Asia now. Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Phillipines are capitalist societies and they are well better off than Vietnam.

Shek, in 1975, US was still the dominant power in terms of economic and social mobility. US was able to recover from Vietnam in a fairly quickly manner and USSR's advantages was negated in the early 80s. The NATO alliance was still firm and strong. Western Europe's economy was on the upswing no longer needing America financial aid. So I would not say that it was a loss but more of a stalemate and strategic and tactical withdrawal and rearrangement of forces for a better posture. And that's what exactly happened.

troung
10 Apr 08,, 17:11
I thought the bigger goal had been achieved and that was the prevention of Dominoe theory. Look at SouthEast Asia now. Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Phillipines are capitalist societies and they are well better off than Vietnam.

Indonesia wrapped up their commie problem before hand (1965), the Philippines is still fighting their commies (who rose up after 1968 for different reasons) - Indochina-2 didn't change much on either front. Attempts politically to connect the killing fields with NPA communism failed in the Philippines, totally different set of issues and actors.

Albany Rifles
10 Apr 08,, 18:39
No, it was a loss. The Sino-Soviet rift existed prior to the conventional intervention in 1965, and how does not fighting change the economic paths for the dragons and the tiger?

So where did the US stand in 1975? Visible defeat in SVN. An emasculated presidency with an ascendant Congress that would say no to most any conflict. On the verge of a President whose first three years in office were a disaster vis a vis the USSR. A hollow Army riddle with drug use and racial infighting. Weaponry that was often outclassed by the USSR. A USSR that had achieved nuclear parity in terms of #s of warheads thanks to a lack of continued capitalization of the nuclear force during Vietnam.

Vietnam is a "gift" that keeps on giving today. Many politicians and voters still see the world through Vietnam, which clouds judgements. It hampers recruitment, as parents of the sons and daughters of American often counsel their kids not to sign up to join their generation's "Vietnam".

I'd have to see Lee Kuan Yew's speech in full (the download timed out on me) to see if he actually has something to support his assertions, but given that the Sino-Soviet split is an obvious miss, I suspect there's not much meat to some of his other points.

Not to mention it also set the stage for disco.

And what a tragdey THAT turned out to be.

No, as was said in Stripes so well...We are 10 and 1 after that.

S2
10 Apr 08,, 18:51
Thanks. You're absolutely correct and reminded me again of the very bitter taste of defeat. Nothing but. Don't know the elixir I'd consumed that allowed me to nuance my posture into factual irrelevance.:biggrin:

Mr. Yew's observations of Asia's economic miracle have far more to do with these nations' success in spite of our defeat in SVN.

Blademaster
10 Apr 08,, 20:13
Indonesia wrapped up their commie problem before hand (1965), the Philippines is still fighting their commies (who rose up after 1968 for different reasons) - Indochina-2 didn't change much on either front. Attempts politically to connect the killing fields with NPA communism failed in the Philippines, totally different set of issues and actors.

Suharto's power was relatively weak after succeeding to the throne. He still needed time to consolidate his power base and Americans gave him that.

The Phillipines are still fighting the commies but the commies was never allowed to rise to a major player status like the Maoists in Nepal. Now the Maoists have risen in Nepal, the same thing would happen to the Indian Maoists. It is another strategic blunder by the GOI. GOI should have actively assisted the Nepal monarchy in suppressing the Maoists in Nepal as to deny any power base to build upon and export their ideologies / project their influence abroad.

That's what the Americans accomplished in Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese gov't was so weak to be concerned with the affairs abroad with the exception of Cambodia for perfectly understandable reasons. However that being said, it must be remember that Vietnamese communism ideology was quite different from Soviet communism and was never a really strong platform. It was more of a national ideology that drove the N. Vietnam to take over S. Vietnam. It was akin to Lincoln's stand that the Union shall not be divided.

S2
10 Apr 08,, 20:28
"That's what the Americans accomplished in Vietnam."

Our own debilitation was so profound that it was hardly worth the cost to achieve the same effect in the N. Vietnamese. Not to dispute the fact, but it was hardly an intended explicit objective. Neither might the resultant condition of the Vietnamese gov't really mitigate against our sense of inadequacy.

The unforeseen downstream effects of history are compelling and part of the sum narrative. Sometimes, they're so compelling as to defy our imagination as to how they couldn't be anticipated. Still, when actions are viewed against objectives, instead of actual outcomes, the picture is often different.

Mr. Yew's comments fit a vogue perspective which I've entertained about the insidious power of American culture and the immutability of economic progress to synergize some amazing results. It's a revisionist view that seeks to balm our sense of objective failure, though. This perspective ignores that America could have quite possibly, though not easily, avoided the SVN calamity altogether via a different operational approach and still retained a useful role in the Asian economic miracle.

rj1
12 Apr 08,, 16:26
Our objective, as far as I can tell, was the continued existance and defending of South Vietnam.

South Vietnam no longer exists, so I can't see how that's anything other than a loss. To say otherwise is a bit like these politicians going on stage after a poll shows them doing terribly and they go, "We're not doing terribly. The people think we're doing great."

Here's our country's record:

American Revolution: Win
War of 1812: Draw
Mexican-American War: Win
Civil War: Win for the Union
Spanish-American War: Win
World War I: Win
World War II: Win
Korean War: Draw
Vietnam War: Loss
Persian Gulf War: Win
Iraq War: Win

So we've got a record of 8 wins, 1 loss, and 2 draws, IMO.

troung
12 Apr 08,, 20:44
The Phillipines are still fighting the commies but the commies was never allowed to rise to a major player status like the Maoists in Nepal.

The NPA was a major player up to and past the fall of Marcos. They grew locally, and became a bigger player after China cut all support to them (which at best had a very limited impact in helping them). The NPA had control over lots of territory, had widespread public support and lots of arms in the 1980s. I'm too lazy to list where they had fronts and how many at the time but they were large. Loss of public support and decades of fighting have reduced them in power, but they are far from gone. Indochina-2 didn't save the RP from the Communists, who in fact never disappeared after the Huk revolt and were a local phenomena.


Now the Maoists have risen in Nepal, the same thing would happen to the Indian Maoists. It is another strategic blunder by the GOI. GOI should have actively assisted the Nepal monarchy in suppressing the Maoists in Nepal as to deny any power base to build upon and export their ideologies / project their influence abroad.

Just put it in the list with all of the other strategic blunders by the GOI... :)


Suharto's power was relatively weak after succeeding to the throne. He still needed time to consolidate his power base and Americans gave him that.

That was aid which would have come regardless of Indochina-2.

Oscar
12 Apr 08,, 21:26
You lost not only South Vietnam but Laos and Cambodia too in 1975. For the latter your meddling in its internal affairs and then your departure triggered the rise of the khmer rouge and the genocide that followed (1.3 million murdered people cannot be forgotten so easily) .

glyn
12 Apr 08,, 21:47
You lost not only South Vietnam but Laos and Cambodia too in 1975. For the latter your meddling in its internal affairs and then your departure triggered the rise of the khmer rouge and the genocide that followed (1.3 million murdered people cannot be forgotten so easily) .

Before that Vietnam was known as French Indo-China. The Viet Minh defeated the French forces after the debacle at Dien Bien Phu. Remember? The Americans were invited to assist the South Vietnamese later.

Officer of Engineers
12 Apr 08,, 21:50
For the latter your meddling in its internal affairs and then your departure triggered the rise of the khmer rouge and the genocide that followed (1.3 million murdered people cannot be forgotten so easily) .Oh come on, there is NO WAY whatsoever the Americans could ever be responsible for that butcher's bill. That is Khmer Rouge sole responsibility. No one else's.

Oscar
12 Apr 08,, 21:56
The Americans invited us first to defend Indochina. The war couldn't have lasted as long without their help. We had to defeat the Viet minh (because of the Cold war) and then declare their independence. Not very motivating to continue the fight: whatever the outcome we had to leave.

Officer of Engineers
12 Apr 08,, 22:04
That still does not mean the Americans lined up those 1.3 million to be shot.

Quick question. What would've happened had you won DBP? It was an all or nothing battle for the Viet-minh. They had nothing left.

Oscar
12 Apr 08,, 22:06
Oh come on, there is NO WAY whatsoever the Americans could ever be responsible for that butcher's bill. That is Khmer Rouge sole responsibility. No one else's.

The coup that ousted Sihanouk created a huge mess in a country as traditionnalist as Cambodia. The king was a living God. And the Khmer rouge were a bizarre specie of "Hitler meets Mao".

That's the nationalist side of this movement that promised to oust the Americans and the Vietnamese that gave them credibility among the Cambodians.The genocide occured because of the Vietnam war. So the responsibility is shared with the Vietcong.

Oscar
12 Apr 08,, 22:10
That still does not mean the Americans lined up those 1.3 million to be shot.

Quick question. What would've happened had you won DBP? It was an all or nothing battle for the Viet-minh. They had nothing left.

We would have won nothing. We were busy negociating our departure with the viet cong during dien bien phu

Officer of Engineers
12 Apr 08,, 22:15
You're mixing up a lot of groups. The VC was only a name after Tet. The NVA took over operations after that. But even if you blame Hanoi, they were the ones who finally stopped the butchering. They invaded Cambodia.

What about the Chinese? They were the ones giving Pol Pot and gang his guns. Hell, they even went to punish Vietnam for invading Cambodia.

In the final analysis, it was Pol Pot and his group who did that butchering. Nobody else. Nobody was lining his victims for him. He had to go out and do that himself. Nobody was forcing him to shoot his victims. He was the one doing that. All by himself.

Oscar
12 Apr 08,, 22:31
The khmer rouge don't come out of nowhere. Had Sihanouk stayed in power they would still be in their jungle. But the king wanted to be neutral in the vietnam war even if the north vietnamese and the "south vietnamese resistance" , used the cambodian territory.

The coup that overthrowed him was made by pro-american officers. That's what everyone saw. Maybe they received some help of the Americans maybe not but that's not the question. The rural population was deeply loyal to his king and they felt disoriented, and the only "national force" that could chase the new regime which was viewed as American-influenced was the Khmer rouge. At the beginning it was only a maoist guerilla group numbering no more than a few dozens people, they swelled after the overthrowing of Sihanouk.

Oscar
12 Apr 08,, 22:33
And I'm not saying the Khmer rouge were the allies of North Vietnam. It would be like saying Iran and Bin Laden are buddies.

Officer of Engineers
12 Apr 08,, 22:44
Chinese uniforms. Chinese weapons. Chinese advisors. Chinese money. Chinese troops. Chinese vengeance. Let me know when you get the hint. Chinese support. Chinese UN veto. Chinese punitive war. Chinese Special Forces ...

Oscar
12 Apr 08,, 22:52
Chinese uniforms. Chinese weapons. Chinese advisors. Chinese money. Chinese troops. Chinese vengeance. Let me know when you get the hint. Chinese support. Chinese UN veto. Chinese punitive war. Chinese Special Forces ...

That's right and the enemy of my enemy is my friend too. So you were on the wrong side when the vietnamese invaded Kampuchea to oust Pol pot.

Officer of Engineers
12 Apr 08,, 22:53
Me? I wore a Canadian uniform.

But the point remains that you have to go through a lot of others before you can lay the Pol Pot at the foot of the Americans, if ever.

Oscar
12 Apr 08,, 23:12
You lost not only South Vietnam but Laos and Cambodia too in 1975. For the latter your meddling in its internal affairs and then your departure triggered the rise of the khmer rouge and the genocide that followed (1.3 million murdered people cannot be forgotten so easily) .

That was my first post. I wrote that the Americans created a mess in Cambodia and then left. The power vacuum that followed gave a chance for the Khmer rouge to emerge.

And the reason why I typed this comment was that I found a thread with people discussing the aftermath of vietnam, and the consequences that resulted while completely forgetting what happened to the Cambodians after the retreat of the US army.

S2
12 Apr 08,, 23:45
How is it that Sihanouk permitted use of both the Cambodian border as sanctuary as well as the shipments of weapons and other supplies through Sihanoukville port?

How nice that Sihanouk wanted neutrality. The reality was quite different long before Lon Nol took power.

Haven't you spent enough on a Sorbonne education? When shall it begin showing here?

Officer of Engineers
13 Apr 08,, 00:02
And the reason why I typed this comment was that I found a thread with people discussing the aftermath of vietnam, and the consequences that resulted while completely forgetting what happened to the Cambodians after the retreat of the US army.But the USArmy retreat did NOT trigger the Khmer Rouge. Cambodian neutrality guaranteed that the Khmer Rouge had no interference with their operations. They were going to win with or without the American "wink-wink", if it ever existed. The Chinese saw to it.

Oscar
13 Apr 08,, 00:04
First, Cambodia was a little kingdom and didn't want to choose sides between the USSR and the USA because Sihanouk thought (rightly) that his country could only lose in this fight. But I know it's the last of your worry S-2, because you're either with us or you're against us . That's your favorite motto, I presume?

And Sihanouk didn't authorize the smuggling of arms through his territory he was just trying to save his throne for him it was the least bad solution. He simply knew if he had taken measures against the vietnamese he would be considered an enemy by the soviets.

Officer of Engineers
13 Apr 08,, 00:32
First, Cambodia was a little kingdom and didn't want to choose sides between the USSR and the USA because Sihanouk thought (rightly) that his country could only lose in this fight. But I know it's the last of your worry S-2, because you're either with us or you're against us . That's your favorite motto, I presume?

And Sihanouk didn't authorize the smuggling of arms through his territory he was just trying to save his throne for him it was the least bad solution. He simply knew if he had taken measures against the vietnamese he would be considered an enemy by the soviets.And that shows that you know very little of the situation. You're missing the most important power in the region - China. The Sino-Soviet split had already occurred forcing the communist world to choose sides and the Great Prolitereat Cultural Revolution had already ripped apart China's sanity and was exported to the world, including the Khmer Rouge. It was Peking, not Moscow, and certainly nothing to do with Washington, that brought Pol Pot to power.

troung
13 Apr 08,, 01:20
The coup that ousted Sihanouk created a huge mess in a country as traditionnalist as Cambodia. The king was a living God. And the Khmer rouge were a bizarre specie of "Hitler meets Mao".First, Cambodia was a little kingdom and didn't want to choose sides between the USSR and the USA because Sihanouk thought (rightly) that his country could only lose in this fight. But I know it's the last of your worry S-2, because you're either with us or you're against us . That's your favorite motto, I presume?

BS, Sihanouk supported the Khmer Rouge after his overthrow.


And I'm not saying the Khmer rouge were the allies of North Vietnam. It would be like saying Iran and Bin Laden are buddies.That's right and the enemy of my enemy is my friend too. So you were on the wrong side when the vietnamese invaded Kampuchea to oust Pol pot.

China and Sihanouk along with the Khmer Rouge themselves get credit for the Khmer Rouge.

Oscar
13 Apr 08,, 01:37
And that shows that you know very little of the situation. You're missing the most important power in the region - China. The Sino-Soviet split had already occurred forcing the communist world to choose sides and the Great Prolitereat Cultural Revolution had already ripped apart China's sanity and was exported to the world, including the Khmer Rouge. It was Peking, not Moscow, and certainly nothing to do with Washington, that brought Pol Pot to power.

There was a united URSS-China front against the US in Vietnam because both wanted them out of the peninsula for different reasons. The same for Cuba btw.

Mao forged an alliance with the US in 1972 when he was sure that the US was leaving Vietnam and realised that after this war the USSR would become a greater threat to China with the brejnev doctrine

I was not talking of the Khmer rouge in my previous posts. But basically the vietnamese chose the russian camp because they didn't want to be a satellite of the Chinese and the Cambodians (Sihanouk and the Khmer) chose the chinese camp because they didn't want to fall into Vietnam's zone of influence.

But against the US they (Vietnam, China, USSR) closed the ranks. That's why Kissinger advised Nixon to pull out of Vietnam because that would inevitably break the communist camp. And that's what happened.

Back to the Khmer rouge: only one Maoist guerilla group succeeded in taking power, among all the Maoist groups who got subsidies by China in the world . Guess where?
Guess why?

But the Khmer rouge once in power were no more puppets in the hands of Mao because they were not only maoist they were nazis too. These guys were obsessed by the purity of the Khmer race, deeply nationalist and completely paranoid about any sort of foreign interferences. They didn't obey Peking's orders they did it all by themselves so it's not the Chinese. But they were backed by Mao (and tacitely by the US) to counter the Vietnamese-soviet axis after 1975.

Oscar
13 Apr 08,, 01:51
BS, Sihanouk supported the Khmer Rouge after his overthrow.


Sihanouk supported the Khmer rouge after his overthrow by pro-american officers with the help of the CIA btw. Who played dirty first?


China and Sihanouk along with the Khmer Rouge themselves get credit for the Khmer Rouge.


Sihanouk was just a Chinese puppet at that time; he endorsed them at the beginning because he wanted his throne back but he realised quickly that the Khmer wanted him just for the ceremonies and he quickly broke with them. It was a Chinese inspired movement and it worked because this one was anti-vietnamese and nationalist. They could have ended like the other maoist movements around the world but there was no one to fill the void in Cambodia at this time and they were seen first as liberators so they entered in Phnom Penh and took the commands.

Officer of Engineers
13 Apr 08,, 05:59
There was a united URSS-China front against the US in Vietnam because both wanted them out of the peninsula for different reasons. The same for Cuba btw.*** sigh *** So much information out there and so few efforts. There was no united Soviet-Chinese front against the US in Vietnam. Mao has been quoted that he was willing to fight the Americans down to the last Vietnamese.

Soviet MiG-21s shipped through China to Vietnam were replaced by inferior J-7 copies.

Over 300,000 PLA troops fought in the Vietnam War, including over 200,000 PLA engineers who built the Ho Chi Minh Trails but NOT one ever cross over the DMZ.

What does that tell you?


Mao forged an alliance with the US in 1972 when he was sure that the US was leaving Vietnam and realised that after this war the USSR would become a greater threat to China with the brejnev doctrineChina had a shooting war with the USSR since 1968. By 1972, the Soviets went from 10 Divisions, 0 nukes, 24 aircrafts to 45 Divisions, 200 nukes, and 2000+ aircrafts. On top of that, Nixon detailed the meeting in which Brezhnev asked for American support in a Soviet nuclear strike against China. That was 1973. In other words, it ain't the next war after Vietnam, that war was going to start right there and then ... and Chinese intelligence had already determined it.


I was not talking of the Khmer rouge in my previous posts.Excuse me? Who else butchered 2 million people that you so graciously (and extremely insultingly) blamed on the Americans?


But basically the vietnamese chose the russian camp because they didn't want to be a satellite of the ChineseDoes the fact that China helped create three countries (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam) instead of one (Indochina) mean anything to you?

And do you seriously believe that Moscow would've joined up with Hanoi if they knew that the Vietnamese were planning a shooting war with the Chinese? Especially when they were preparing their own little adventure in Afghanistan?

You are way out to lunch here.


and the Cambodians (Sihanouk and the Khmer) chose the chinese camp because they didn't want to fall into Vietnam's zone of influence.Who else was left?


But against the US they (Vietnam, China, USSR) closed the ranks. That's why Kissinger advised Nixon to pull out of Vietnam because that would inevitably break the communist camp. And that's what happened.That's NOT what happened.


Back to the Khmer rouge: only one Maoist guerilla group succeeded in taking power, among all the Maoist groups who got subsidies by China in the world . Guess where? Guess why?Oh, I know the answer and I know you don't.


But the Khmer rouge once in power were no more puppets in the hands of Mao because they were not only maoist they were nazis too. These guys were obsessed by the purity of the Khmer race, deeply nationalist and completely paranoid about any sort of foreign interferences. They didn't obey Peking's orders they did it all by themselves so it's not the Chinese.The fact that the Little Red Book and their version of it spread throughout Cambodia didn't tell you anything?


But they were backed by Mao (and tacitely by the US) to counter the Vietnamese-soviet axis after 1975.Mao was already babling idiot when Nixon visited. He was senile to the point of death.

Your facts are out of whack.

Bigfella
13 Apr 08,, 07:59
I'm planning a post on the main topic of this thread soon, but I wanted to get a few things straight on this topic first. As per usual, Cambodia is till being used by outsiders - this time to score debating points.

For the entire period of the second Indochina war, all that the government of Cambodia (and as best we can tell most of its people) wanted was to be left the hell alone. Unfortunately the government of Nth Vietnam & it allies in the RVN, China & Russia had zero concern for Cambodian (or Lao) neutrality. The communist Vietnamese treated the areas bordering Cambodia as their own. Given the willingness of the PAVN & its allies to take on American firepower, the notion that Cambodia would ever have been capable of expelling the Vietnamese by force is not only laughable, it usually represents an attempt to excuse bad behaviour on the part of America.

Under these circumstances Sihanouk did the best he could. Using a solid personal relationship with Zhou Enlai to pressure the DRV & NLF he was able to limit their activities strictly to the border areas. He was also able to guarantee little to no assistance to the Khmer Rouge, which remained an insignificant joke while he was in power. The quid pro quo was that he wouldn't attack the Vietnamese & that Sihanoukville would unload supplies for the Vietnamese.

There was another side to Sihanouk's balancing act, and it involved America. Initially the Johnson tried to respect Cambodian neutrality. Troops were prevented from crossing the border, even in 'hot pursuit'. There was bombing, but it was relatively limited in scope. The bombing stepped up as combat in Vietnam did. Sihanouk's side of the deal was that he made relatively little fuss about US bombing. There were occasional outbursts, but not enough to make any serious trouble. I'm pretty sure the US also sold the FANK (Cambodian Army) equipment & maintained ties with senior Generals.

The important part of this unhappy compromise was that neither the US or Vietnamese pushed Cambodia to become part of the wider war. While it was an unhappy compromise, an equilibrium was reached that could have been maintained for a good deal longer.

So, what changed? Those who link the success of the Khmer Rouge to America's withdrawal are correct, but not how they think. What changed was that Richard Nixon & Henry Kissinger decided that withdrawing US troops 'with honour' was more important than the fate of Cambodia. First the bombing stepped up, pushing the Vietnamese into areas they had previously stayed away from. What Nixon really wanted, however, was to remove the Vietnamese from Cambodia entirely to 'cover' the withdrawal of US troops.

With Sihanouk in power this would have been difficult, if not impossible. Unfortunately Sihanouk's grip was slipping. While mild by most standards, his rule did become increasingly autocratic and erratic. Despairing of hope for reform, some young intellectuals such as Khieu Samphan took the the jungle to join the Khmer Rouge. While it was still small, rural unrest had allowed an expansion of numbers by the end of the 1960s. The general unrest presented an opportunity for the ambitious &, sadly, the stupid. The ambitious was Sirik Matak, a member of Cambodia's business & social elite and from a branch of the royal family passed over when the French chose the Norodoms as rulers. he tapped into elements at the top of Cambodian society who felt excluded by Sihanouk. The stupid was Lon Nol, commander of the Army. A proud patriot, he was increasingly angered with the presence of Vietnamese troops in his nation and was encouraged by Americans he was in contact with who promised to build up the FANK to take on the Vietnamese. He appealed to a rising sense of resentment among educated Cambodians & Khmer nationalists at the presence of the Vietnamese.

The Lon Nol/Sirik Matak coup in 1970 was the single worst decision in modern Cambodian history. The next worst was Sihanouk's subsequent decision to ally with the Khmer Rouge.

Decision one gave a green light to the US/RVN invasion of Cambodia, an event whose major achievement was to push Vietnamese forces into parts of Cambodia where they had never been before. It also set the pattern for future clashes between the FANK & any Vietnamese force - devastating victory for the Vietnamese. Put simply, the very best FANK units were equivalent to a below-average ARVN unit. The worst units were barely military formations, not least because greedy officers sometimes created 'ghost' soldiers, allowing them to pocket their pay & sell their equipment on the black market (i.e., to the enemy). Cambodia was now a 'player', and as far as the Vietnamese were concerned any restrictions on attacking Cambodian Government targets were gone.

Decision two turned the Khmer Rouge from a ragtag bunch of fanatics to a large & formidable force within a year. Sihanouk still maintained a big following in Cambodia, so his support led to a flood of recruits. Arms & advisors flowed from Vietnam. Cambodian communists who had been training in Vietnam returned home. Unfortunately they had little impact because the paranoid lunatics who ran the Khmer Rouge killed them all as potential Vietnamese spies. I say unfortunately because the tragedy of 1975-78 was directly linked to just how crazy Pol Pot & his clique were. The Vietnamese brand of Communism may not have been pleasant, but neither was it genocidal.

The fate of Cmbodia was sealed. The FANK made its last offensive in mid-1971, a disaster. By this point the Phnom Penh government controlled less than half the country, a figure that was to shrink steadily over the next four years. All that kept the Communist forces from removing Lon Nol was the occasional application of US air power & the refusal of the Vietnamese to allow the Khmer Rouge to complete their conquest before the war in Vietnam was won. During this time several hundred thousand Cambodians (perhaps 500,000) died in the civil war. Hundreds of thousands more became refugees, more than doubling the population of Phnom Penh. When the end came for the Lon Nol regime the only surprise was that it had taken so long.

(note: the death of close to 2 million Cambodians as a result of government policy, Vietnamese invasion & subsequent famine are the responsibility of Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Kieu Samphan, Ieng Sary, Kieu Ponnary & the other senior Khmer Rouge leaders. This does not, however, excuse those who allowed them the opportunity to destroy their country)

So, if we want to play the blame game for the rise of the Khmer Rouge, who do we blame?

*First & foremost the North Vietnamese. They decided that their war was more important than Cambodian neutrality. They armed & trained the Khmer Rouge. They actively assisted them in the destruction of the Lon Nol regime.

*Second place is a three way tie:

1) America, and more specifically the Nixon administration. Nixon & Kissinger showed precisely the same contempt for the fate of the Cambodian nation as the Vietrnamese & Chinese. The impact of their decisions was out of all proportion with actual American involvement in Cambodia.

2) China: no other country had as much influence over Vietnam as China. If any nation could have influenced Vietnam to respect Cambodian soveriegnty it would have been China. More critically, China provided direct support for the Khmer Rouge from 1970 and continued to do this until the eventual disintegration of the movement in the early 1990s. Appalling.

3) Norodom Sihanouk: In power he was Cambodia's best hope. Out of power he undid all his good work & more. While the Khmer Rouge would probably have overthrown Lon Nol without Sihanouk's support, he made the task so much easier. In the holocaust that followed at least 4 of his children & one of his wives were murdered. Too late, Sihanouk came to undrstand the consequences of his actions.

*Red Herrings: the biggest red herring in relation to Cambodia originates from that particular species of American conservative who seeks to paint the Democratic party as being a bunch of traitors responsible for eveyrthing bad that has ever happened. While the impact of post-Watergate Congresses on the RVN is open to debate, the case for Cambodia is different. The war there was over before the first burglar entrered the Watergate, it just took a few years for the result to become official.

Officer of Engineers
13 Apr 08,, 12:23
I cannot and will not agree with the US sharing equal blame with China and Vietnam. Their contempt for Cambodia in no way comes even close to the direct actions of the Khmer Rouge communist allies. Yeah names hurt but the Communists were breaking bones with sticks and stones ... and rockets and bullets.

Bigfella
13 Apr 08,, 13:53
I cannot and will not agree with the US sharing equal blame with China and Vietnam. Their contempt for Cambodia in no way comes even close to the direct actions of the Khmer Rouge communist allies. Yeah names hurt but the Communists were breaking bones with sticks and stones ... and rockets and bullets.

OOE,

If that was aimed at me then I think you misread me. If we are playing the blame game, Vietnam wins by a lap and change. Everyone else is a LONG way back.

I don't have time to argue the point on the US right now, but in addition to some real heavy & frequently indiscriminate bombing, I think it is fair to say that had Nixon not been so hot to knock Cmbodia out of the 'neutral' column then the disastrous civil war that paved the KR's path to power might never have happened.

Officer of Engineers
13 Apr 08,, 16:44
I would go further and state that the butcher's bill belong to Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge solely. Yes, they got help coming to power but nobody forced them to butcher their own people.

S2
13 Apr 08,, 19:24
"I don't have time to argue the point on the US right now..."

There seems little point if you believe this-

"First & foremost the North Vietnamese. They decided that their war was more important than Cambodian neutrality. They armed & trained the Khmer Rouge. They actively assisted them in the destruction of the Lon Nol regime."

Further, the NVN gov't actively assisted the Sihanouk kingdom's de-stabilization by proxy (Khmer Rouge) and direct intervention long before the ascendancy of Lon Nol's clique.

"China: no other country had as much influence over Vietnam as China... Appalling."

But predictable, particularly between 1964-1969, that NVN, the Pathet Lao, and the Khmer Rouge would all be beneficiaries of the prevailing socialist spirit of the internationale. Maoism, cultural revolutions, wars of nat'l liberation, Che...the whole vogue schtick. To do otherwise by not supporting these wars in their backyard in violation of accepted norms of neutrality would have been very surprising.

"Norodom Sihanouk: In power he was Cambodia's best hope. Out of power he undid all his good work & more."

I hope he wasn't Cambodia's best hope. He acquiesced Cambodian sovereignty well before the Americans arrived in force. When 1st Cav collided w/ NVA regiments at Ia Drang in October-November 1965, those forces came from and retreated back into Cambodia.

Every nation and/or actor on your list had a direct role in the subversion of Cambodia from true neutrality well prior to America's border invasion. In the face of that cumulative net impact by Sihanouk, the Khmer Rouge, the PRC, and NVN, America's reaction in May, 1970 is hardly surprising.

Actually, what's surprising is the time expired to reach that decision. Given the salient aborgation of Cambodia's sovereignty, our entry was belated and tentative. I don't honestly believe that America then possessed the ability to prosecute the war effectively in Cambodia and SVN, so it could be suggested that our weakened entry was a function of our past unwillingness to do so. By the time we'd achieved the moral determination to do so, the means to achieve a decisive effect were diminished.

Bigfella
14 Apr 08,, 15:16
I would go further and state that the butcher's bill belong to Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge solely. Yes, they got help coming to power but nobody forced them to butcher their own people.


Agree

As I mentioned earlier, Cambodia was once used by international powers in their power games. Nowadays its history is similarly used in attempts to score points in skirmishes about history, mostly American history.

There are those on the left who want to blame Nixon for the mountain of bodies. There are those on the right who want to blame the Democrats (or in one case I encountered, Ted Kennedy personally). The real culprits, of course, were the senior members of the Communist Party of Kampuchea & leaders of Democratic Kampuchea (as previously named). They organised the deportations & the killings. They imprisoned the millions. They launched the suicidal attacks on Vietnam & they created the circumstances for the famine of 1979.

I do think that those whose actions paved the way for the Khmer Rouge to attain power & those who supported them before, during & after the DK period need to be called to account for their wanton disreguard for a people who were in no position to resist. It is also importyant to recognize the considerable death, destruction & dislocation of the Civil War. Everyone played their part in that, with only China not directly involved in combat.

I think that the title of William Shawcross' book 'Sideshow' neatly summarized the situation. A bunch of bigger, more powerful nations consistently put the interests of Cambodians last in their games of 'realpolitik'. That does not make them responsible for the deaths of the DK period, but it does make them pretty poor excuses for human beings.

zraver
16 Apr 08,, 04:16
Z,

That's the popular opinion but what was the real result? We still lost Vietnam.

It was not until Deng Xia Peng to win his civil war against the Gang of Four that we've really actually turn China to our side in practical terms. That time period was Jimmy Carter.

OoE, we didn't lose Vietnam until 1975.

1- Imagine if you will that we were forced out in 1968 following a defeat in Tet. This is before the Amur River clash, would the PRC have still been open to us if it looked like we were not actively prepared to fight the Soviets?

2- Also consider that following Vietnam the Soviets stopped directly supporting wars of national liberation. It is much easier to oppose rebel groups when they are being supplied by 2nd and 3rd tier communist powers. Vietnam and Cuba don't have the means to seriously threaten the status quo on a global scale.

3- Vietnam spurred the revolution in technology that doomed the Warsaw pacts conventional dominance in Europe and cemented American mastery of the skies.

America emerged from Vietnam in a much better strategic possition than we thought.

ddang10
17 Apr 08,, 04:35
*First & foremost the North Vietnamese. They decided that their war was more important than Cambodian neutrality. They armed & trained the Khmer Rouge. They actively assisted them in the destruction of the Lon Nol regime.
pardon me? If it had been your war and there had been someone willing to help, would you have used him? And besides the Vietcong didn't train the Red Khmer with the intention of killing Cambodians. It was China (specifically Mao) to be blame for the massacre, not the North Vietnamese.


we didn't lose Vietnam until 1975.
How can you lose something if you don't even have it?

Officer of Engineers
17 Apr 08,, 04:53
pardon me? If it had been your war and there had been someone willing to help, would you have used him? And besides the Vietcong didn't train the Red Khmer with the intention of killing Cambodians. It was China (specifically Mao) to be blame for the massacre, not the North Vietnamese.Not even Mao was that stupid.


How can you lose something if you don't even have it?Why don't you ask Saigon that?

Bigfella
17 Apr 08,, 14:22
pardon me? If it had been your war and there had been someone willing to help, would you have used him? And besides the Vietcong didn't train the Red Khmer with the intention of killing Cambodians. It was China (specifically Mao) to be blame for the massacre, not the North Vietnamese.

Nice try ddang, but you are wrong.

First, 'your war' involved forcing tens of millions of Vietnamese who did NOT want to live under communism to live under a communist regime. In doing so the DRV & its southern allies were prepared to exhaust their own nation & lay waste to the RVN and Cambodia. Do not try to justify what was done to Cambodia in pursuit if this goal.

Second, Cambodia was not willing to help. Sihanouk knew the Vietnamese Communists well enough to know that they would simply take what they wanted if it were not freely given. He knew that the PAVN & the NLF would occupy the border areas by force & kill whomever got in their way. He knew his army could not stop them. I doubt any Cambodians wanted Vietnamese soldiers occupying part of their country (not even the Cambodian communists wanted it). Many resented it violently. I find it ironic that the Vietnamese people who so hatred being occupied by foreign nations themselves should care so little about doing the same to someone else.

Third, not only did the Vietnamese train the Khmer Rouge (KR) to kill Cambodians, they helped them to do it. What did the Vietnamese expect the KR to do with the weapons they gave them? Were these 'non-killing' weapons? Despite being a tragically poor excuse for an army, the FANK had been able to contain the KR until Vietnam started flooding in the arms and advisors. Even worse, because Cambodians DARED to opposed the Vietnamese occupation, the PAVN crushed the FANK in a series of bloody operations in 1970 & 1971. This left the people of Cambodia defenceless against the KR.

Trying to blame Chairman Mao just won't wash here. First, Chou Enlai was the main architect of Cambodia policy. Second, while China was responsible for doing a lot of things wrong in relationship to Cambodia, its role in the rise of Pol Pot was a LOT smaller than Vietnam's.

As a Vietnamese you have much to be proud of. There are also things to be ashamed of. What was done to Cambodia from 1960 to 1975 is one of those things. Deal with it.

troung
19 Apr 08,, 04:18
OoE, we didn't lose Vietnam until 1975.

The Paris Peace Talks lost the war, America went home and the NVA didn't have to.

Bigfella
19 Apr 08,, 15:06
I'll get the simple stuff out of the way first. Was Vietnam an American loss? yes.

America intervened in Indochina to stop the spread of communism. This first took the form of assistance to the French from about 1947-54, then support for, assistance to & eventually direct intervention in Indochina.

The primary focus of this effort became maintaining the independence of Republic of Vietnam from communist control. Some people maintain that by withdrawing American troops under the Paris Accords America technically did not 'lose'. Putting aside that those accords were the worst sellout since Munich (and with even worse motives), the simple truth is that all of America's objectives in Indochina failed. Not only did all four nations in Indochina go communist, but they still are (and one no longer exists).

To attempt to claim this was not a 'loss' in any meaningful way represents an heroic dedication to the belief that America cannot lose, not a position based on any understanding of the events of the war.


Lee Kuan Yew:

Quote:
ÖThe conventional wisdom in the media now is that the war in Iraq is an unmitigated disaster. Conventional wisdom in the 1970s assumed that the war in Vietnam was similarly an unmitigated disaster. It has been proved wrong.

It is true that the war has been seen largely as a disaster, but not without reason. Lets see, several million dead Vietnamese, several more million dead Cambodians (no war = no Pol Pot), perhaps hundreds of thousands of dead Lao, four nations devastated and one invaded & absorbed into another. Millions of refugees. Easy to see why some might see this as a disaster

Has the extent of the disaster been exaggerated? yes, but largely among Americans. The tendency of some Americans to view everything in which they are involved soley as an American endevour has rarely been more pronounced than in the case of Vietnam. This led some, particluarly in the immediate aftermath of the war, to overstate the importance of the loss. Hindsight always gives perspective.

The loss was a setback to American power and influence. It had pronounced ill effects on the US military. It helped to produced a period of despondency in US politics. Outside the family & freinds of the dead & wounded, however, the effects on America were limited & temporary. Unpleasant, but not a disaster of the highest order.


It bought the time and created the conditions that enabled non-communist East Asia to follow Japanís path and develop into the four dragons (South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore), followed by the four tigers (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines).

Did it really buy time? Time from what? By 1960 communism was no longer a threat to Malaya/malaysia & the Phiippines. It never seriously was to Thailand, and events in Indonesia had very little to do with Vietnam.

The best that could be said about this statement is that there is some evidence that some of the rivers of money that washed throught the US effort in Vietnam overflowed into some of the growing regional economies (as the Korean War had into Japan).


Time brought about the split between the Soviet Union and China, and that led to China attacking Vietnam when it attacked Cambodia and thus broke the domino effect of communist victory in Vietnam.

Last time I checked the Sino-Soviet split preceded the deployment of US combat formations to Vietnam by at least 5 years.

Did this really 'lead' to China's attack on Vietnam. i always thought that had to do with supporting DK, a long running border dispute & anger over the expulsion of Chinese from Vietnam. Indeed, China continued to support Vietnam during the worst of the Sino-Soviet confrontation.

The domino theory was crap. Sorry, it just was. Could communist movements in bordering nations assist each other? sure. Was it somehow destined to be? no. Laos was always going to end up in someone else's sphere of influence. Cambodia only ended up communist because it was drawn into someone else's war. There is no evidence Vietnam would have invaded Cambodia had Pol Pot not repeatedly attacked Vietnam.

Had it not been for the war, Cambodia might have been a fifth 'tiger'.

The four dragons and four tigers in turn changed both communist China and Vietnam into open market economies and made them freer societies.

None of which required a war in Vietnam.

If the unexpected developments of war in Iraq are addressed in a resolute, not a defeatist manner, conventional wisdom, now pessimistic, will again be proved wrong. A stabilised Iraq, less repressive, with its different ethnic and religious communities accepting each other in some devoluted framework, can be a liberating influence in the Middle East.

Perhaps. An argument for another thread.

Zemco
19 Apr 08,, 16:31
Look at SouthEast Asia now. Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Phillipines are capitalist societies and they are well better off than Vietnam.

That's a bizarre statement.

The countries you name didn't suffer 25 years of warfare, and didn't endure an additional 20 years of US economic sanctions after the war ended.

I would remind you that in just a mere 30 years Vietnam has jumped ahead of your pet puppet dictatorships in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala providing a higher quality of life and better standard of living, even higher than Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia, and they will surpass the Philippines and Thailand by the end of the decade if their on-fire economy keeps growing at 8%-10% per year.

Just think where the country would be today if they hadn't been set back 55 years.

The US still hasn't learned how to distinguish a nationalist from a communist.

Officer of Engineers
19 Apr 08,, 17:39
Just think where the country would be today if they hadn't been set back 55 years.You mean policies like military expansion, collectivization, Boat People, fighting two wars on two fronts? Vietnam would be exactly where it is today with the leaders that they had.

Bigfella
20 Apr 08,, 07:43
That's a bizarre statement.

The countries you name didn't suffer 25 years of warfare, and didn't endure an additional 20 years of US economic sanctions after the war ended.

I would remind you that in just a mere 30 years Vietnam has jumped ahead of your pet puppet dictatorships in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala providing a higher quality of life and better standard of living, even higher than Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia, and they will surpass the Philippines and Thailand by the end of the decade if their on-fire economy keeps growing at 8%-10% per year.

Just think where the country would be today if they hadn't been set back 55 years.

The US still hasn't learned how to distinguish a nationalist from a communist.


Lets not get carried away here.

You are right about the dictatorships of Central America. Nothing to write home about there for the US. Most of them, however, did suffer extended wars (if not of the same intensity as Vietnam).

They actually point to a fasinacting phenomenon which is rarely commented upon - the lack of democracy & social equity in 3rd world societies where Catholicism is dominant. This is an issue for another thread, but it crosses cultures & societies.

I would also be VERY careful about using Laos & Cambodia as points of comparison to Vietnam.

As I have made clear at length, Cambodia's impoverishment is largely the fault of Vietnam. Even beyond the fall of DK, Vietnam occupied Cambodia until 1989. It did precious little to help that nation, spending just enough to keep it functional & capable of supporting their war against Pol Pot & his royalist/nationalist allies.

Laos is an even clearer example. Vietnam helped to fund a 15 year civil war in Laos, and then effectively turned it into a satellite when the communists won. Indeed, until the mid-1980s Laos was practically forbidden to trade with anyone but Vietnam. That Laos remains a dictatorship & economic basket case is largely the fault of Hanoi.

As for Vietnam being set back '55 years' by the actions of outsiders, not even close. In the early 1960s the DRV (Nth Vietnam) had a choice. It had to choose between focussing its energies on building as proaperous a nation as it could in the North, or focussing its energies on overthrowing the government of Sth Vietnam. It chose the latter & started down a well documented path.

Had it chosen not to do this the 1980s would undoubtedly have seen two Vietnamese nations more prosperous than the one that actually existed. The Nirth, however, would be facing the problems of all communist societies in thew 1980s - having built the basis for a modern industrial economy, how do we sustain it? A best case scenario is that the comrades followed the reforms of their near neigbour. A better situation than they had, but not a generation ahead.

The south would most likely have been a 'tiger' economy. With its large & successful Chinese business community and its links to the US & other local economies, the RVN would probably have been quite successful, perhaps along the lines of Thailand or even Malaysia (best case).

In addition, Cambodia might well have shared in this prosperity. Laos would probably have still undergone a lengthy proxy war & either ended up Vietnamese or de facto partitioned.

Had America chosen not to commit units to ground combat in Vietnam there would still have been a fierce war, but one that might have ended five years earlier. Still lots of death & destruction. Still millions of refugees. Still the same economic dunces who almost engineered famines in the late 70s & mid-80s despite having some of the most productive agricultural land in the world.

The war certainly set Vietnam back, but not by 55 years. Further, most of the problems had to do with the comrades in Hanoi, not US Administrations in Washington.