not low hanging fruit, but fruit in a basket
I'm a veteran of that war and I'm fine with partnering up. After all, they gave the Chinese a sound thrashing a few years ago. Good work, Mr. Charles.
A few years ago I did a very short twitter thread on this potential partner. The openness to which the people want this relationship, and the government's willingness to permit those positive displays, is telling. The VCP may have its ideological relationships with the CCP. The people... not really in the same place and the VCP knows it. https://twitter.com/joemosch/status/1312876768353644544
Noah Smith, Noahpinion, is w you on this. Me too for what it’s worth.
Really wish this attitude existed 60 years ago. What could have happened if we chose construction instead of destruction? The strongest argument for the free world is that it was free. We could have let them choose communism and take the consequences. Which pretty much happened anyway. Ideology has to be fought on its own terms or it will live to fight another day.
Washington probably won't want to offend China so it wouldn't be a big surprise if they took no meaningful steps to cozy up to Vietnam because it is an oppressive Communist dictatorship. This is 2023. Never mind the logic.
Excellent piece. Are you familiar with the book "The Precarious Balance: Four Centuries of the European Power Struggle" by Ludwig Dehio? Although it was first published before the Vietnam War and deals with European geopolitics during the 450+ years from Charles VIII's invasion of Italy through the end of the Second World War, Professor Dehio's central thesis goes a long way toward explaining why, while America's decision to engage in Vietnam back in the 1950's and 60's may have been questionable, a strategy now to contain China that includes an alliance with Vietnam would be wise.
Very much in agreement. I served in Viet Nam, have assisted Vietnamese residents here, and have some more recent experience in facilitating educational exchange between us. Their main suspicion toward foreigners centers on the PRC. I've been asked by Vietnamese, "Are you Russian?" My reassurance that I'm American brings immediate smiles.
The Vietnamese are respected, feared even, in SE Asia. They have invited port visits by the US Navy. We do have common security interests in addition to commercial; Covid spillover will result in more US investment there, as well as by other foreign investors.
Glad to have them. They fought us to a standstill and more back in my youth. That's the kind of country you want for a partner. Plus China has been their historical enemy since ancient times.
I am curious: let us recognize that Vietnam could be a partner in certain ways (and not an ally as the CDR notes). What forms would that partnership take?
Economics: Vietnam would be willing to do a fair bit of the work that Chinese citizens did for the last few decades in the big factories, but now increasingly don't want to do. Vietnam could host multi-national corporations for such work. We would buy these products as well as the indigenous products that country would produce. Vietnam would benefit. How would we?
Military: yes, we could have informal arrangements, perhaps some weapons sales, the occasional joint-training exercise (done in cooperation with, say, Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, etc.) and port calls. Vietnam would benefit. How would we?
For this to work both sides have to benefit. I see tangible benefits for the Vietnamese in terms of economics and military affairs but I'm not sure what the tangible benefits are for us. And I want tangible benefits, not just 'good will'. Both sides would benefit culturally, but since this is a 'partnership', I want to know what we're getting. Am I asking too much?
Excellent! as a Vietnam war vet (three tours - Staff COMPHIBGRU ONE (61-63), including a trip up the river to Saigon, Fleet Air Recon Squadron One (65-68 with one in three-month deployments to Danang Air Base), and two+ years on the Seventh Fleet Staff (68-70) with tons of time in the Gulf of Tonkin.
There must be a cohort of children left behinf by American servicemen. How many? Are they discriminated against? How are they treated?
One of the potential downsides of building a relationship with Vietnam is that it would potentially make them more vulnerable to China, or at least give the Chinese another reason to consider regime change in Vietnam. Having a puppet government in Hanoi would be appealing to the Chinese from several perspectives. It would give them defacto control over a lot more of the South China Sea, 'resolve' a lot of disputes over oil their in the Chinese favor, eliminate Vietnam as a manufacturing competitor and extend the reach of their navy to the Singapore Straits. I recognize that Vietnam would not be a pushover, but unlike Ukraine, no Western country is going to supply arms to Vietnam in any quantity; even if we wanted to doing it would be very hard logistically. And it doesn't involve an amphibious operation that is arguably harder than Normandy was, executed by a military that no matter how much practice it does, hasn't had to execute an amphibious operation under fire in its history. It appears to me that the Chinese could simply grind Vietnam until they had no wherewithal to fight with, which the Russians can't do in Ukraine as long as the West is supplying support. Thoughts?
Anybody with a room temperature IQ or better knows that, unlike France, the U.S. involvement in Vietnam was not colonial.
It was intended to permit those who did not wish to live under Communism the right to not live under Communism.
Funny thing is, today, all of Vietnam, even in Saigon a/k/a Ho Chi Minh City, is heavily capitalistic.
How do you like that, Ho?
I'm waiting for the day they invite U.S. warships to visit Cam Ranh Bay, just to see the nervous breakdown in Peking.
Boy the Navy is all in on War with China, huh?
Something to do...
The Vietnamese have a longer history with China than the 1979 war, and over the last 800 years probably remember the West more fondly.
Having said that, if they do become our “partner” we’ll “partner” with them the way we did Ukraine, and we’ll have our revenge at last.
Very good and accurate article. I fought with the 1st Divsion in 68-69 and travel to Vietnam often. The country has made incredible progress despite the Communist govt. The people are very positive toward Americans. The article hits the mark in every respect.