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And the US military is helping communists… why exactly?

It seems just a tad perverse that whilst uttering rhetoric about supporting freedom and democracy, the US is sending its military to help train Communists in Vietnam.

Why, exactly?

21 comments to And the US military is helping communists… why exactly?

  • The enemy of my enemy, Perry.

    The Vietnamese and the Chinese have an enmity going back lo, these many centuries. Assuming, as I think we must, that the primary enemy of the West after these jihadi barbarians are disposed of will be the ChiComs, well, it makes sense to build up their neighbors.

  • To fight other communists – the Chinese ones – as they have done quite successfully in the past., in a new application of the strategy of containment, although this time targeted as China. As unsavoury as they are, the Vietnamese aren’t likely to invade Taiwan, have naval battles with Japan or the Phillippines or supply food and energy to North Korea.

  • Then we are making the same mistakes we made in the Cold War when we backed many ghastly regimes just so long as they claimed to hate the commies. And in so doing we pushed several national liberation movements that were NOT our enemies into the hands of the Soviets. The USA looks like making that mistake in Uzbekistan (pushing people into the arms of Al Qaeda) and I hope that this is not the start of something equally reprehensible (though as there does not seem to be much opposition to the Hanoi regime, the utilitarian downside does not seem quite as large).

  • Guy Herbert

    I concur: China.

    The US government per se has no more interest in promoting freedom per se than the PRC. Domestic policy may be a bit more constrained than elsewhere by popular attachment to constitutional liberties, but anything can be justified if it involves foreigners.

  • Jacob

    “The enemy of my enemy, Perry.”
    Yes, and bases.

  • Julian Taylor

    Why train Vietnam though? Surely the USA can not be about to send troops [yet again] to help support a [yet another] rotten Vietnamese regime? If anything they should be helping to train up Chinese troops, hell – China’s main air defence is an Israeli copy of the F16.

  • Bernie

    I think the foreign policy of any state comes down to what is in the interest of that state. Rarely will it coincide with the interests of the subjects of that state, and I would be highly dubious about it ever having anything whatever to do with freedomanddemocracy.

  • Improbulus Maximus

    I think the Vietnamese are probably the best potential allies we could have in Asia. Their country is small and poor, but US trade deals are helping. Though far from libertine, Vietnamese Communism was never as bad as in China or Russia. Ho Chi Minh’s favorite historical document was the US Contstitution, or so I’ve heard, so his ideals really couldn’t be that far off from ours, ergo his political heirs might be more likely to accept American ways politically and economically. I think it could actually be a benefit that we fought one another, because now there is more respect between America and Vietnam than animosity, which can’t be said about China, who continues to play the part of friend and enemy at the same time.
    We have to give them a chance to change on their own, but it doesn’t hurt to establish good relations. We will need a strong ally in SE Asia soon, because the Muslims are taking over Thailand, Japan is paralyzed with fear and complacency, and China will only encourage and aid the terrorists. Times change, people change, nations change. Enemies become friends, and friends become enemies.

  • Paul Rattner

    Scattered observations:

    Vietnam is not seriously communist anymore, nor is China. They are socialist, in a feeble sort of way, and they are authoritarian police states, but that is sort of weak, too.

    America seems to be acheiving some level of diplomatic breakthrough with Vietnam. Vietnam is becoming freer and wants to do business. Vietnam also has reason to fear China.

    In the 80’s, Vietnam repelled a Chinese attack in the North. I don’t remember the real reasons for the attack, but the Chinese said at the time they were sending the army to “Teach the ungrateful Vietnamese a lesson”.

    Several months ago the U.S. Navy sent a ship to Saigon as a friendly gesture. I was in Saigon at the time and saw some of the sailors walking into a bar in uniform. I hadn’t heard they were coming and couldn’t believe my eyes. American sailors in Saigon!

  • All of the above, plus I could really do without all the freedomanddemocracy rhetoric anyway.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Paul Rattner – In 1984, I thought the Chinese were repelled from some Vietnamese territory they took in ’79. I believe the Chinese were literally blown off the territory they’d held with thousands upon thousands of Vietnamese artillery shells.

    This is all from memory, apologies for any inaccuracies. I recall reading the above tidbits as part of a “Don’t fuck with the Vietnamese” style critique of their modern military history.

  • D Anghelone

    Natural resources (oil) coveted by the Chinese.

    Nostalgia for the excellent naval facilities the U.S. built in Vietnam.

  • Given that it is usually the winners who tell the losers how to win wars, why then are the Vietnamese getting military training from us, since their first response to anything they disagree with will more than likely be, if you Americans are so damn smart how come we won and you lost?

  • akaky – I believe the NVA never won a significant engagement against the US Army. We left (militarily) before the war was lost (militarily), and the South Vietnamese without us were no match for the NVA.

  • John J. Coupal

    One more reason to be “friendly” with the Vietnamese: their cooperating in the search for remains of American kia/mia from the Vietnam War. That’s been going on for decades.

  • Pete(Detroit)

    Seems to me that we can use good allies in the area – against the Islamazis that are destabilizing SEA (hell, the whole WORLD, no?) now, as well as China later.

    Agreed, is GOOD real estate for naval bases. convienient to LOSSA places.

    MY $.02, fwiw

  • Paul Rattner

    Gentlemen, the war is over. It’s been over for 30 years. It didn’t end to our liking, and there’s certainly been a lot of suffering because of that, but it’s in the past, and times have changed.

    In many ways Vietnam is like China in its explosive economic growth. The difference is that Vietnam harbors no military adventure fantasies, and pretty much just wants to be left alone to make money.

    On a personal level, the people here are as capitalist as any Westerner. Probably more so, since they have to work so much harder to make it. Sure, there’s corruption and contempt for rule of law, but that’s improving year by year. I wish the same could be said of Europe!

    I think that Western goods will win the war where Western bullets did not. Engagement and trade will lift Vietnam into the circle of civilized countries. It’s happening right now. Seven years ago, most people in Vietnam rode bikes to work. Now everyone has a scooter and a cell phone. Progress!

    Suffering for my art: That little war against the chinese I’m sure they’re proud of. They don’t want to be ruled by them again. Back when the French were resuming control of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh had said: “I would rather eat French shit for five years than Chinese shit for the rest of my life.”

  • I’m with Perry. First, it’s not like strengthening Vietnam’s military is going to create some sort of magic counter-weight to China’s influence in the region. Second, Bush has made such an issue of not engaging in the classic Cold-War deals with the devil style toleration of really nasty regimes so long as said regimes were geopolitically opposed to our enemies.

    I’m not suggesting we should start leveling sanctions or touch off Vietnam War II, but it’s senseless to do things which lend support to an oppressive government.

  • Julian Taylor

    John Coupal, did you read the Washington Times article? They still refuse to admit that there are any MIA in Vietnam, even with the evidence of a possible sighting of US troops in the late 1990’s.

  • Wild Pegasus

    The US is training bad guys? How can this be?!? The US is the world’s beacon of liberty and freedom!!

    – Josh

  • speedwell

    Just like the Roman Empire before us did with their mercenaries, the US’ll have experienced enforcers to bring into our country when we citizens start protesting communistic maneuvers like Kelo.