Foreword by the Saker: I don’t know who “Conical Hat” really is. All I know is that he is a Vietnamese reader of the blog. And judging by his article, he is somebody with superb knowledge and understanding of Vietnam’s history and international relations. We emailed each other a couple of times and, one day, I suggested that he write up something about the geostrategic position of Vietnam. What Conical Hat sent back to me was the most detailed and most interesting analysis of Vientam I have seen in a very long time. I am immensely grateful to him.
This is the 2nd Special Report I am posting on this blog. I put the first one (about Macedonia) into the SITREP category as it pertains to current, unfolding, events. I will put today report on Vietnam into the “Guest Post” category as it is a more analytical one. However, no matter in which category they will be placed, I am hoping to continue to regularly post high-quality analytical “Special Reports” to provide our community with the kind of real expert reports which are so totally missing from the official corporate media.
Vietnam between the US, Russia and China
by “Conical Hat”
Some historical background
Simply put, Vietnam was under direct Chinese colonization for a thousand years, from 111 BCE until 939 CE. The Han (main Chinese ethnic) could never absorb and transform the Vietnamese people to become Chinese, as they did with other neighboring people, and Vietnam was never becoming a small star on the Chinese flag (composing of one big star representing the Han, and 4 small stars representing the other four principal minorities). From 939 on, China could not subjugate Vietnam for any longer period than 1407-1427 under the Ming Dynasty.
Independent Vietnam always “played by the rules” vis a vis China: accept to be a tributary to the Chinese suzerain. That modus vivendi lasted another thousand years into the 19th century when France occupied Vietnam. But for China, Vietnam was part of it and needs to be “reunited” with the “motherland”. For the last two thousand years, it is always in the Vietnamese psyche to prove that “we are NOT Chinese”. Interestingly, according to Professor Han Xiaorong, as late as 1936 Mao Zedong said to Edgar Snow that it was China’s loss of Vietnam to France that had awakened his national consciousness! (A Story of Việt Nam by Trương Bửu Lâm).
The iron clast guideline of Vietnam’s geopolitics has always been determined by the formula established since the first dynasty of the independent Vietnam in 939: “Nam tiến, Bắc hòa” meaning “advance to the South, make peace with the North”. From a territory comprising present north Vietnam, they expended southward to annex Champa, and half of Cambodia, to form present day Vietnam, only to be stopped by the French colonization.
In 1858 the French started to attack Vietnam, and in 1862 the Vietnamese court signed the treaty recognizing French colonization. French Indochina comprised of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.
Eventually Vietnam, led by the Communist Party, declared independence on September 2, 1945 following Japan’s capitulation ending WWII in Asia.
Then started immediately the Resistance War (the French call it the Indochinese War) against the French, followed by the partition of Vietnam (into communist North and anti-communist South) and the American War (the Americans call it the Vietnam War) that ended 40 years ago on April 30, 1975 with victory of the North over the South.
1945-1975: 30 years of war
During WWII, the Japanese army occupied vast areas of Asia, including Vietnam and part of China. The French Vichy regime who already surrendered to Germany, accepted the presence and rule of the Japanese imperial army in Indochina. For the Vietnamese people, it was “one neck caught in 2 collars”. The Japanese occupation was particularly rude (as it was elsewhere in Asia). For many scholars that occupation was responsible for the big famine in north Vietnam in 1945 that claimed 2 million lives. On March 9, 1945 the Japanese imprisoned all French troops in Indochina (The Japanese Coup) and put the whole area under their sole rule.
After Japan surrendered to the Allies, ending WWII in the Pacific, communist leader Ho Chi Minh declared independence of Vietnam on Sep 2, 1945. At that time, Ho Chi Minh was supported by Stalin and was officer of the Komintern. (It was ironic that Ho started his quest for independence by approaching US President Wilson at the Versailles Conference ending WWI, naively thinking the US would support the right to self determination for all nations as they proclaimed, only to be said no). Bao Dai, the nominal Vietnamese Emperor abdicated and accepted the post of Adviser in Ho Chi Minh’s government, and famously declared “I’d rather be a simple citizen of an independent Vietnam than the emperor of a colonized country” (note that although the French ruled Indochina, they put nominal “kings” and “emperor” in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam). Not long after, he left the communist government and went to China then Hong Kong (British territory).
The Allies decided to divide French Indochina into two zones north and south of the 16th parallel. Chinese troops (nationalist Chiang Kai-shek) were to disarm and repatriate the Japanese soldiers northern of 16th parallel and the British troops to do the same southern of 16th parallel. However, the Brits embarked French troops alongside to reconquer Cochinchina (French name for south Vietnam). The Chinese sent more than 200,000 troops into Vietnam north of 16th parallel. Ho Chi Minh negotiated with the French to come to north Vietnam to replace the Chinese (that formula also suited French and Chinese in their bargain related to Chinese territory occupied by French). The Vietnamese communist leader was reported as famously saying: “I’d rather smell French shit for a little while, than eat Chinese shit forever”. French and Vietnamese started negotiations on the future of Vietnam. They could not agree on a satisfactory solution, and in December 1946 the Viet-Minh (Vietnamese resistance movement led by the Communist Party) officially launched the National Resistance against the French, starting what the French call the Indochinese War. Not all Vietnamese accepted the communist rule. There were many non-communist movements that were fighting against the French colonial power. However, their degree of organization, manpower, and determination was pale comparing to the communists’. The French, in their effort to fight against the Viet-Minh, tried to find/create local allies. They called in Bao Dai, the emperor who abdicated to the Viet-Minh in 1945, to become head of the State of Vietnam, with promises of future independence. The non-communist movements are to be gathered behind Bao Dai and the State of Vietnam to fight against the communists. That was the “Bao Dai solution”. In the meantime, Mao Zedong and the Chinese communists defeated Chiang Kai-shek and the nationalists who were forced to retreat to Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China was proclaimed in 1949. Support from (communist) China for the Viet-Minh escalated tremendously, from weapons to advisors. Eventually the French were defeated at the famous battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, by the Viet-Minh under general Vo Nguyen Giap. The Geneva Agreement was signed in July 1954 which partitioned Vietnam into communist North (The Democratic Republic of Vietnam with Ho Chi Minh as Head) and anti-communist South (The State of Vietnam with Bao Dai as Head. He was eventually dethroned in 1955 and South Vietnam became the Republic of Vietnam), with the 17th parallel as demarcation. The partition was supposed to be temporary for two years until general elections be held in 1956. South Vietnam never agreed to hold the general elections, arguing that the Geneva Agreement was signed by the French and the Viet-Minh, and not by the State of Vietnam. It was a spin narrative, because South Vietnam benefited from that same agreement and inherited the territory south of the 17th parallel. It also applied the agreement in organizing (with US help and command) the migration of 1 million people from North to South, fleeing the communist regime; and also accepted the repatriation of communist partisans from South to North also according to the Agreement.
The French left Vietnam entirely. The Americans filled the void. The American War as the North Vietnamese call it, or Vietnam War as the Americans call it, started immediately. We are right in the Cold War. South Vietnam was presented as the “vanguard of the Free World” fighting against communism. For South Vietnam, it was a self-defense war against the aggression from the North that violated international rules by attacking a sovereign country (the South); and the sovereign country has all the rights to ally itself with another sovereign country (the US) in its self-defense. For the North, it was simply the continuation of the war for independence, with the Americans replacing the French, as they (and their South Vietnamese allies) violated the Geneva Agreement by refusing the general elections; thus it was a “Liberation” war, to finish up what was left in 1954. For world geopolitics, the war in Vietnam was symbol of the Cold war, between the “Communist World” and the “Free World”.
The relationship between North Vietnam (NVN) and the USSR and China are not as straightforward as that of South Vietnam (SVN) and the US. As revealing anecdotes, one can refer to the CIA’s estimate that general elections to be held in 1956 (per Geneva Agreement) would give the communists big victory; the US then “advised” SVN not to accept to hold elections. On the NVN side, immediately after the signature of the Geneva Agreement, Chinese Premier Chu En Lai offered a friendly hand to SVN, proposing recognition of the two Vietnams, to the big disappointment of NVN. SVN eventually declined the offer, under US “advice”.
China never wanted a strong Vietnam on her southern flank, and found a divided Vietnam as a perfect solution from her viewpoint, as we will see the Chinese attitude during the war and after the victory of NVN over SVN.
The USSR always supported the communist regime in NVN. As we said, Vietnam was the hot spot of the Cold War. NVN masterly navigated that symbolic situation to court favor of the two competing entities at the top of the communist world: the USSR and China. Both supported NVN, or may I say both have to support NVN (leadership obliges).
The US engaged more than 500,000 ground troops in SVN. The war escalated. NVN infiltrated troops and war material to the South, via a complicated network of trails through rain forests and mountains in Laos and SVN alongside the border. Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia (officially neutral) let NVN troops use his country as a sanctuary to attack SVN. The first major communist offensive was in Jan 1968 (the Tet offensive) where 70,000 communist troops launched a coordinated attack on more than 100 cities and towns in SVN. They were eventually pushed back by SVN and US troops. Militarily, it was a defeat for the communists who lost 100,000 troops and agents altogether. But politically it was a big victory for NVN. The last point is very important, because NVN leadership always considered the war in Vietnam is to be “won in Paris and Washington” (After the war, General Võ Nguyên Giáp had a talk with one of his US counterparts who said “’hey, we won every tactical engagement against you” and Giáp replied “it’s also irrelevant”)
The fact that the Vietcongs (name calling the vietnamese communist) are able to coordinate a general offensive on the whole SVN, and especially they could attack and get inside the US Embassy in Saigon (capital of SVN) and hold in for hours, already by itself attains the objective. The $ 1.2 billion US Embassy was just built a few months early and presented as an invincible fortress. All of that could be seen almost live on TV around the world. That psychological effect turned the tide in the public opinion and eventually forced Jonhson to seek negotiations that ended 5 years later in Jan 1973 with the Paris Peace Agreement. It was the longest peace negotiation in world history.
Let’s go back to some important points to understand the complexity of the situation as well as the complex relationship between Hanoi (capital of NVN) and Beijing. As stated earlier, Cambodia was used as a sanctuary to attack SVN. Suffice to look at the map to see that SVN cannot be defended as long as Cambodia is in hostile hands. In 1969 Nixon secretly bombarded Cambodia. In 1970 general Lon Nol overthrew Prince Sihanouk and established the pro american Republic of Kampuchea. The Cambodian communists started a resistance and “liberation” war under Khmer Rouge (Khmer means Cambodian, Rouge is the French word for Red) leader Pol Pot, supported by China. In Feb 1972, Nixon arrived in China for an official trip. It was a big geopolitical coup that worried NVN as much. According to NVN intelligence, Kissinger would assure (premier) Chu En Lai that the US would stay neutral in case China reclaims the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea (The Vietnamese call it the East Sea) hold by SVN at that time. One month later, NVN launched the Easter Offensive that lasted from March to October 1972. That was the first ever full scale conventional offensive with hundreds thousands troops crossing the demarcation line, equipped with modern Soviet military hardware. The move had many motives: it was a signal to Beijing that Hanoi could always count on Moscow for military support, and whatever the Chinese might agree with the Americans, NVN pursued its own interest. It also intended to test Nixon’s “vietnamization” of the war (giving SVN troops more means and responsibility to conduct the war, in the aim to reduce US exposure), and also to force Nixon to promise the end of the war, when campaigning for reelection. In January 1973, the Paris Agreement was signed. Nixon, so eager to get the agreement to appease the US public pressure, acquiesced to the main and only goal of NVN: per agreement, the US withdraws troops from SVN, while NVN troops remain in SVN. That was the ultimate goal assigned by the NVN politbureau to Lê Đức Thọ, chief NVN negotiator: “quân Mỹ rút, quân ta ở lại” (the US out, we stay). Thọ had full powers to negotiate as long as THE GOAL is in the agreement. NVN knew too well once the US withdraws from the VN quagmire, the US public would never allow and the US as a country will have no gut for any kind of substantial re-commitment, no matter what Nixon says or threatens. NVN also knew too well that the “vietnamization” would crumble without US air power (during the 1972 Easter offensive, SVN troops finally got the battlefields back only thanks to US airpower). In Jan 1974, China attacked and seized the Paracel Islands from SVN, under the neutrality of the US. According to SVN admiral Hồ Văn Kỳ Toại, the US 7th fleet just watched SVN sail men drowned in the Pacific Ocean. Exactly like the NVN intelligence predicted. And the Chinese presence there only grows until now, and the Paracel Islands are right now in hot dispute between Vietnam and China, and were part of the US argument for the “pivot to Asia” policy.
China was duped by the US, in thinking the Paris Peace Agreement would guaranty the US support for SVN. From the Chinese perspective, they hold the lever for the fighting in Vietnam. The more pressure they put from the North (into intensifying the hostilities), the more the US have to do to support their client in the South. Vietnam would stay divided (thus weak), and China would hold the command lever. That was a gross error of interpretation of US intention. For the US, to drop SVN is not a “betrayal” in any moral sense. Just need a “decent interval” (Kissinger’s words) between the agreement and the collapse of SVN. That interval was 27 months. It’s just like you close a bankrupt company and plan another business model. The business model is to use Vietnam as a bait to put a wedge between the two communist giants: the USSR and China.
In 1975, Hanoi decided to launch the final offensive against the south, convinced that the US would never re-commit itself to defend its “ally”, and the SVN army would not stand a chance without US airpower (the whole military doctrine taught to the SVN military was to wage war with US air superiority). The over million regular and 600,000 regional troops that composed the SVN armed forces crumbled in more than a month almost without a fight. On April 30, 1975 SVN surrendered.
From Hanoi’s point of view, only now the business of Independence Fight is finished.
Tension with China immediately after Vietnam is unified
Immediately after the war is finished in Vietnam, the Khmer Rouge (who just won in Cambodia around the time NVN won SVN) started to attack Vietnam. On May 4, 1975 Khmer Rouge troops assaulted the Vietnamese Phú Quốc island in the Gulf of Siam, and massacred 500 civilians. Vietnamese troops fought back. The Khmer Rouge regime was under Chinese control. Escalations between Cambodia and Vietnam grew ever since and culminated on Dec 13, 1978 when the Khmer Rouge launched 10 out of 19 divisions, heavily armed by the Chinese, across the border with Vietnam in an attempt to seize the provincial capital of Tây Ninh.
Now, let’s put the big picture into perspective. China was not pleased to see a unified Vietnam, especially one that is allied with the USSR. It instigated an attack by the Khmer Rouge from Cambodia. Vietnamese leadership knew too well that the southern part of Vietnam cannot be defended if Cambodia is hostile, for it itself took advantage of the Cambodian territory during the war against SVN. Inside Vietnam, it was estimated the Chinese ethnic to top 2 million, with 1.5 million in Saigon area and 300 thousands in North Vietnam. The problem posed for Vietnam was evident: no stability and peace if the Khmer Rouge continue their hostilities on Beijing’s order, but invading Cambodia would trigger a fierce response from Beijing and Vietnam would have no chance of resisting with such a huge Chinese 5th column. Thus, while defending the territory against Khmer aggression (without ever crossing the border into Cambodia), the Vietnamese applied methodically all measures aimed at breaking the back of the Chinese 5th column, from economic to social measures. That led to the bankruptcy of 50 thousand important Chinese owned businesses, and eventually hundreds of thousands of people of Chinese descent forced to leave Vietnam. In the meantime, Hanoi set up a group of pro Vietnamese Cambodians to govern Cambodia in the near future.
When the Khmer Rouge attacked on Dec 13, 1978, Hanoi was ready to retaliate (and expecting to be retaliated by Beijing). The day before Christmas Eve 1978, VN launched its own offensive to invade Cambodia. Phnom Pen (capital of Cambodia) fell 2 weeks later, and 2 weeks after that, on Jan 17, 1979 the whole Cambodia was under Vietnamese control. The pro Vietnam government was installed in Phnom Pen. Exactly on month later, on Feb 17, 1979 China launched a cross border offensive against Vietnam with 100 thousand troops. Devastation in the Northern provinces of Vietnam was appalling. After a month, China declared victory and withdrew. Vietnam also claimed victory. Each side counted 50 thousands casualties (dead and wounded). The USSR officially condemned China, but did not substantially engage in the sino vietnamese conflict besides helping the Vietnamese with transportation means in moving troops.
Vietnam did what it had to do for existential reasons. But it did not wholly foresee “the Cambodian trap” set by China. Vietnam was stuck in the quagmire for more than a decade until Sept 1989 when it withdrew troops and accepted a political settlement under Beijing’s terms. The occupation of Cambodia drained substantial Vietnamese resources, which were already very scarce. Vietnam was totally isolated diplomatically on the international arena. The Khmer Rouge still kept the Cambodian seat at the UN, with US and China’s insistence.
Right after winning the war, the Vietnamese engaged in 1976 negotiations with US in view of normalizing the relationship between the two countries. The Carter administration was keen to the idea. During his trip to the US, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping warned Carter that the US had to choose normalization with China or with Vietnam, not both. The US did not really have a choice. Relations between Vietnam and China became normalized only after 1989 (although the 1979 war lasted only 1 month, low intensity fighting continued for another decade). Note that in 1985 Gorbachev told the Vietnamese that the Soviets had to stop aid to Vietnam and Hanoi had to be on its own. The US maintained the embargo vis a vis Vietnam. That was the period when Vietnam was most isolated diplomatically. In 1986, Vietnam decided to launch its own reforms called Đổi Mới (Renovation) and adopted market economy, phasing out the typical communist subsidized centralized economy. Normalization with China was a must. And treat the “elder brother” with reverence as Vietnam always did for a thousand years. In 2009, after thirty years of negotiations, an agreement on the land border was signed between China and Vietnam. What Vietnam gains is an official recognition of the border by China (first ever in the history of the two countries), but what Vietnam looses is a symbolic loss of a historic landmark: the Nam Quan pass that historically symbolized the sovereignty of Vietnam. Although the pass has no strategic or economic value, its symbolic value cannot be overstated. I guess that is the price demanded to Vietnam as a reverence to the “elder brother”. Symbol plays a big role in Asia. Most Vietnamese still resent that fact, and consider it as a “proof” that the Vietnamese leadership is nothing less than vassal to the Chinese, no matter the fact that the same leadership is the only one that dared fighting a war with China when it had to in 1979 and that it took 30 years of negotiations, almost kilometer by kilometer to come to agreement. But that is for land border. Vietnam still contests the Chinese 9 dash line called the cow tongue line in the East Sea (South China Sea for the Chinese), and still claims sovereignty on the Paracel and Spratly islands.
Main developments since then, and where does Vietnam stand?
1989: normalization with China
1991: the USSR collapsed. Russia remains a friend of Vietnam until present day.
1994: the US lifted all embargo on Vietnam.
1995: Vietnam joins the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)
1995: establishment of normal diplomatic relations between the US and Vietnam
2007: Vietnam joins the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Since the adoption of the market economy, Vietnam gradually joins the international playfield as much as it possibly could. It made big progress in term of lifting the economic condition of its 90 million people, and combatting poverty. Infrastructure modernization, agricultural production, manufacture, etc… took off, and Vietnam became one the Asian “dragon” cited as example by the World Bank. Of course, much still needs to be reformed especially on the human rights and corruption areas but that is for another topic.
Where does Vietnam stand on the moving ground of international geopolitics in the post Cold War era of globalization?
The official position of Vietnam is “to be friend with everyone”.
Vietnam is a very active member of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), busy promoting a more structured and integrated regional association.
It enjoys booming trade with the US and Europe, boosting the economy for the last 20 years. Foreign investment skyrocketed, especially from regional neighbors from Japan, China, Taiwan, the ASEAN countries, Australia, Korea.
It maintains strong economic, cultural, and especially military ties with Russia that provides modern hardware ranging from Su-30 fighter jets, to SA-300 missiles, to Kilo submarines with Klub missiles, tanks T-60, BMPT, etc…. Russia also helps Vietnam in Petroleum industry, Satellite construction, and Nuclear Energy, etc…
Vietnam also buys military and civilian equipment from the US and Europe, as well as India.
With China, Vietnam is pursuing a very warm relationship, maintaining deep economic ties. But one can argue that Vietnam’s attitude is polite (even reverential) with China, but not totally trustful. The two countries still contest the Paracel and Spratly islands. Vietnam welcomes the US presence in the area as a guarantor to the “right to navigation”. The US is courting Vietnam in its China containment policy called “pivot to Asia”. It especially dreams of using (again, as during the Vietnam war) the Cam Ranh deep water base for its Navy. Vietnam rejected the idea. But Russian bombers are allowed to use the location for refueling, triggering a protest from the US on 3/11/2015 (which Vietnam ignores).
The US (as much as the ASEAN nations) knows too well that in the region, the only military capable of standing ground facing the Chinese PLA is the Vietnamese People’s Army.
Observing the balancing acts of Vietnam, playing nice with “everyone”, one can observe that it tries at all cost to avoid being a US base against China, while flirting with the US just enough to send the message to the “elder brother from the north” to not “push too hard”. In the meantime, it deepens friendship with Russia, the one big power that did not fail Vietnam in the past.
Its posture with China is carefully calibrated to show enough reverence to the “elder brother”, while maintaining a hypothetical high cost to any Chinese aggression attempt. The 1979 war showed to China that fighting Vietnam does come with a (very) high cost especially now that China is in its quest to develop Eurasia with Russia through the ambitious New Silk Road project. But the 1979 war also showed to Vietnam that when it comes to fighting China, it is on its own. Not even the big friend Russia would confront the “elder brother”, and especially now that Russia and China are in symbiotic mode. The big friend is still very useful though in talking positive to the elder brother to look at the big picture and not to bully the little guy Vietnam.
Vietnam knows too well that it should not trust the US. Should it participate in the China containment policy, and should China retaliates, it would be the first to be sacrificed by the US, in order to preserve its strength in South Korea and Japan.
In summary, Vietnam
- Says Hi to everyone
- Tries to consolidate its role in ASEAN, and participates in all international forums
- Shows reverence to China, without trusting it, while pushing business and economic ties
- Does as much business with the US and the West as possible, and let the US court it without trusting the US and ultimately without “marrying” it
- Deepens friendship with Russia, the only true friend so far that did not fail it in the past, and to whom the Chinese extend a listening ear.
The last point is interesting, in consideration that all the other powers have failed Vietnam in the past: China, US, France, Britain (bringing the French back to Vietnam in 1945), Japan (harsh occupation and provoked famine).
Notice that Vietnam is among the “founding members” negotiating the American Trans Pacific Accord (TPA) project, has Free Trade Agreement with the Russian led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) starting mid 2015, and is among the “founding members” of the Chinese led Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB).
In view of the redistribution of cards in world geopolitics, Vietnam must have a global view and a clear notion of its place in the region, before determining where to stand on the global stage. In that view, ASEAN integration is of utmost importance for Vietnam. It’s an existential issue.
Think ASIA, from an ASEAN viewpoint
The US/Western centered international System is collapsing in front of our own naked eyes. From the financial crisis since 2007, to the social unrest in many developed countries (Greece, Ireland, France, etc…) to the popular revolts called the Arab Spring, to the turbulence in the Middle East (Lybia, Syria, ISIS, Yemen,…) to Ukraine, to the “new Cold War”, etc…, to the inability of the G20 group to come up with coordinated solutions for the world crisis, to the abysmal US debt problem, the world is heading toward the end of the US/Western centric order. Many other global players are claiming their share in the world governance.
The global systemic crisis engenders a geopolitical dislocation of worldwide proportion (see GEAB). Many geopolitical blocs will emerge in a new system which will be multipolar, such as Europe (and Euroland in particular) even though it’s in crisis at present, the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), Latin America, and of course the giant China. And the biggest next geopolitical event is the “symbiotic alliance” (to borrow the term from the Saker) between China and Russia and the creation of the Eurasian space.
China is rising to (re)claim its world superpower status. And its consequences are tremendous for the world at large and for its neighbors in particular.
An Asian bloc centered on China will appear within the next decade. This is part of the general historical trends, no matter if one likes it or not. In that context, some thinking needs to be put forward, regarding the Asian countries in the natural sphere of Chinese influence. Depending on the actions and decisions of the political and social elites among those countries, we will witness a smooth successful and mutually beneficial Asian integration, or a conflictual tide encompassing the whole region, pulled by the attraction force of world superpower China. To borrow the metaphor from F Biancheri, China is like a super-sized supertanker navigating the world ocean engendering waves and currents on its path. An individual neighboring country can be:
- An “independent” raft alongside the super-sized supertanker, with the inherent risk of being drowned just by the waves from the latter.
- An “independent” raft pulled by another supertanker in opposite direction with the Chinese super-sized supertanker, with the certainty of being crushed in ocean.
- Absorbed by and be part of the super-sized supertanker, with the loss of national identity and independence.
- A part of a midsized tanker alongside the super-sized supertanker.
Only the last option is mutually beneficial for all countries involved. But it does not come naturally, and demands a great deal of efforts and determination from the political and social elites.
ASEAN UNION – the Evolution through necessity vs the Revolution through ideology
Since its inception in 1967 with 5 countries, ASEAN has evolved into a much more integrated entity of 10 countries with many structures of coordination in the economic, political, cultural spheres. As a group, ASEAN has a population of more than 600 million, and ranks 9th in the world (3rd in Asia) in term of GDP. The ASEAN Charter (15 Dec 2008) that turns ASEAN into a legal entity, aims to moving closer to an “EU style community”. ASEAN has also concluded numerous free trade agreements with China, Japan, S Korea (Asean + 3), Australia, New Zealand, and India, and is negotiating an agreement with EU, and Taiwan.
As we can observe, ASEAN is moving toward a greater integration. It must accelerate the pace of integration to become an ASEAN Union similar to the European Union. The social and most importantly the political elites of the member countries must have the determination to act toward that goal. The “ASEAN Six majors” (Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam) can form the head wagon, pulling the other four (Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Brunei Darussalam) in that direction, without necessarily waiting for unanimous consensus among the ten. Time is flying fast and historic trends will accelerate the pace. ASEAN as a Union will be that midsized tanker alongside the super-sized supertanker. If the ASEAN countries fail to push further their integration into a Union, they will face the unenviable position of having to choose among the bad and worse of the three remaining options.
Any political, social, cultural, educational, environmental, economic reform or evolution in each member country must aim at that Union goal. As a Union, a harmonization in all spheres of society must take place among all the member countries. All need to move toward that end. Thus, the political and societal management system in each country must go along with the path of union integration. Such evolution is desirable for all. But the elites must keep in mind that if evolution is desirable, revolution is on the contrary to be avoided at all cost. A revolution brings necessarily within itself a high degree of instability, and that’s the absolute unwelcomed ingredient in the march toward Union integration. Some well intended activists from countries like Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam might feel encouraged by the “revolutions” happening in Arab countries, or the siren of so called “color revolutions” and might think they should take the issues on their own hands. But actually, by derailing the path to an ASEAN Union, they ultimately derail their own country’s future with a great risk of being in option 2 (An “independent” raft pulled by another supertanker in opposite direction with the Chinese super-sized supertanker, with the certainty of being crushed in ocean).
When Union is on its way, necessity of openness will bring each individual country in par with the others and democracy, market economy, educational system, etc… find common ground in the whole group. Evolution through necessity is much more desirable than revolution through ideology.
The Asian bloc centered on China that will appear during the next decade will encompass all the countries of ASEAN plus Japan, the Koreas, and China. In the optimal option discussed above regarding the small countries, ASEAN countries must be part of the Asian community as an ASEAN Union and not as ten separate members. This Asian community will compose of:
– A super-sized supertanker China,
– A supertanker Japan,
– A midsized tanker ASEAN,
– And a tanker S Korea (N Korea will be considered “absorbed” by China or S Korea)
Those four members can work toward a more integrated community, without unbearable disproportionality between themselves. Such an Asian Community will decidedly be one of the biggest world players, for the benefit of all.
I don’t mention India as it is a subcontinent by its own weight. Same for Russia.
Through projects like the Russia centered Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), and the Chinese infrastructure and development mega project known as the New Economic Silk Road and Maritime Silk Road, the above mentioned Asian Community only makes more sense.
WEST PACIFIC COOPERATION
The West Pacific region is the world’s most dynamic area. With the formation of the Asian Community, this part of the world will be of utmost importance to the environmental, economic, political, social spheres of the planet. Many issues directly related to this area have arisen in the past and will continue to arise in the future. A formal cooperation framework between the countries bordering the West Pacific Coast is of vital interest. All issues between those countries relating to the coast and maritime activities, including territorial disputes, economic zones, sea lanes, etc… must be discussed and resolved within the “Cooperation”. Of course, it should be bore in mind that the WestPac area should be considered as a specific domain of the WestPac Cooperation, and not an “international” domain where a hegemon located thousands of miles away can claim as its own area of “vital interest”. The West Pacific region from north to south should comprise of Russia, China, Japan, Korea(s), Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Brunei Darussalam.
With the collapse of the US centered world system, several geopolitical blocs will emerge within the next decade. China will be the center of an Asian bloc. Regarding the latter, the smoothest and most beneficial for all will be the finalization of the ASEAN Union which is member of the Asian Community, and the creation of the West Pacific Cooperation to manage issues related to the WestPac area.
Pushing for ASEAN integration is an existential matter for Vietnam. Any necessary change in the organization of the political/societal life must follow the path of evolution through necessity and not revolution through ideology. The nation’s existence is at stake.
thanks Conical Hat ..
This is really interesting for us not familiar with the detail of Vietnamese history. I read this with great interest. Thank you so much, Conical Hat!
Your Russian reader
While I think the post is overall excellent, I have reservations about the points of China being hostile to Vietnam during the Vietnam war era. During that time, I read news sources from both English based newspapers and Chinese based newspapers. The English papers were of course, overwhelmingly pro-US (and SVN); while the Chinese papers were definitely overwhelmingly pro-NVN. Also, even when the 100Ks of Chinese ethnic people based in Vietnam were desperately running for their lives after the “fall” of SVN, even the Chinese papers make no mention at all of the fact that many ethnic chinese were basically forced to flee. It’s only much later when I met some “boat people” from Vietnam that I learned many were of Chinese ethnicity and were basically forced to flee for the lives….
I distinctly remember many Chinese felt they had been “betrayed” by the Vietnamese after NVN had won, as they had whole-heartedly supported NVN througout the Vietname war.
Here is a segment of a US article that thoroughly supported this view, as Nixon even went so far as to contemplate using nuclear bombs on China to stop their support:
Military leaders were unsure, for example, whether conventional bombing of Chinese supply lines in North Vietnam would be sufficient and assumed that at least ground forces, and possibly nuclear weapons, would be required. Admiral Harry D. Felt, Commander in Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC) believed that in the event of a major ground war, there was no possible way to hold off Communist forces on the ground without the use of tactical nuclear weapons, and that it was essential that U.S. commanders be given the freedom to use them as the contingency plans assumed. Chair of the Joint Chiefs General Earle Wheeler opposed using nuclear weapons to interdict supply lines but thought they would be necessary in a major war against China, and should be used only in extreme cases such as to save a force threatened with destruction or to knock out a special target like a nuclear weapons facility. However, General Maxwell Taylor, who had served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs and for a while as U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam, was more doubtful about the need for nuclear weapons.
Very interesting article!
It is refreshing to see another view of the world events through other people’s eyes. Especially for SE Asia, largely unknown to me.
Thank you very much!
I don’t know if the Chinese in SVN were really a potential fifth column. The ones I have met have all been Cantonese, interested in doing business and making money, and they were all very fond of living in Saigon.
Yes, I have same view on that point. Fact is over seas Chinese are totally politically ignorant, and certainly do not form any kind of “fifth column”, they were only interested in bettering their lives economically. The result is that they suffer horrendously in various “pustch” type actions, e.g.
in Indonesia when Sukarno was overthrown (with CIA’s help), about 400 thousands or more ethnic chinese were killed – blamed as “pro-communist” elements;
in Malaysia, thousands of Chinese were rounded up and sent to “new villages” in the 50s, this time, done by the British,( who simply “ran away” when the Japanese marched down during WWII, but once the Japs were defeated, they had the gall to came back and re-colonised Malaya, at the same time flush out all home-grown resistance, who were mainly chinese);
similarly after the fall of SVN, these ethnic Chinese were basically fleeing before they get killed for being chinese ethnically.
You don’t need millions of people to have a fifth column. Only a few motivated elements who can support by giving information, shelter and influence. Like the sayanims.
When I read an article like this, I think of the millions of people who have been slaughtered to build the next great stage of civilization, this time supposedly multi-polar; but really another slippery step to mighty-polar. For what? So we can all be big time consumers like the Americans were? What madness! The US is sinking. The roaches and rats will leave that sinking ship and infest the new global ark being built. Nothing important will change; only get worse, until we face the farce of patriarchy. I know, I know, the word is off the table. But then so are we, with all our dreams of glory built on the bodies of our gory history. Too bad we got mis-named homo sapiens; homo stupidens would have fit better. The poor Vietnamese, and a thousand such countries, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, getting sucked into the sick soup of patriar-kill progress. We’d be better off still tending our rice paddies, before the first kings showed up to show us their road to hell, here and hereafter. There is a way out but few there are who find it.
Totally agree – what you say is already happening.
The Islands issue (not just the Paracel Islands) is of prime importance for the countries involved.Besides the fact this issue allows the Empire to sow chaos in East Asia.It ,on its own right, causes disputes between China and her neighbors.In all territorial disputes between countries ( non-settler countries).I always look at them in three ways,in history,ethnic,and natural features/location.These island groups are difficult,because with no real long settled population,the ethnic dimension is out.So we are left with history,and natural feature/location to consider.Depending on the island group,the natural feature/location seems to favor one country.While the history favors the other.So they are far more complicated because of the loss of the long settled ethnic component.
Sadly for Vietnam,the Paracel Islands are easier than the others to decide on (for me that is).They aren’t really closer to Vietnam than China (the islands off China’s Southern Coast),so Vietnam gets no advantage there.What little population there is,is Chinese.Giving China the ethnic component,such as it is.So to my mind we are left with the historical component.And again here Vietnam falls short.There are remains (and records) of Chinese rule there from the 600’s in the Tang and Song Dynasties.And from then on China has claimed the Islands.Even when they weren’t able to enforce their rule over them.The earliest Vietnamese visits and activities there is recorded in the 1400’s.And even then it wasn’t settlement.China has always claimed the islands as part of their territory.And I think the evidence backs them up.The only proviso to that is that Taiwan also claims them,But as China also claims Taiwan (rightly) as part of China.That only strengthens China’s claim to the islands.
The other island disputes are just, if not more complicated.Without going into details (it would take a while). On a short note,China’s claims to the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands are very strong.While their claims to the Spratly Islands are mixed.Probably about 50/50.
Agree with your analysis.
Here is precisely the reason why all these multi-polar world order dreams will never amount to much. Just about all the major proponents of this concept only advocate it to advance their own imperial ambitions, not to improve peace and tranquility among America’s victims as they pretend to do. Why should Japan and the other contestants in the pacific rim contribute to the effort to cage the American hegemon, when it’ll only result in reducing their leverage over China and her imperial ambitions in their neighborhood? The empire has yet to be even fought, let alone beaten, and we have China’s cheerleaders claiming preeminence in the division of spoils. We still have to get past our differences in order to decide who the enemy is, let alone marshal our forces to face him. Let’s at least pretend this cause is worthy of its cost for all concerned before revealing our true natures and intentions. Who wants to bleed in the effort to remove one empire, just to replace it with another, what’s the point.
While all the non US/Zion/West countries have issues between them, that does not mean they will not be able to co-operate to build a multi-polar world. Fact is most of them by now see the West for what it is: a giant Hegemon in the form of US, where even the European countries have basically lost their own sovereignty. We don’t live in a perfect world, but the way to over come this is to abandon the “winner-take-all” approach of the West, as Xi Jinping says, and build win-win situations as much as possible.
See my comment to Uncle Bob1 (using hypothetical Indian claims to Burma, South-East Asia and Indonesia as a counterpoint to using historical claims from over 1 thousand years ago as a rational to claim territory today).
One should not give a pass to any empire or potential empire. I thought the whole point of multipolar world is to a multipolar world and not replace it with another Unipolar World where the usual weakminded brown-nosing/collaborator types can genuflect in front of the next big guy on the block.
I having nothing against China, quite the opposite, I highly respect their civilization. My respect for them is so strong that I’ve taken the effort to learn to read and write their language (the more I learned the language, the more respect I developed). In addition, I have a lot of respect for their current leadership because they’ve delivered concrete results to their people, they’ve accomplished a lot and many in the leadership sincerely care about their people.
That does not mean we should park our judgment because of irrational romanticism or ethnic-nationalist bias. To borrow a term attributed (unproven) to Lenin: we should not allow ourselves by become anyone’s “useful idiots”.
* Why should Japan and the other contestants in the pacific rim contribute to the effort to cage the American hegemon, when it’ll only result in reducing their leverage over China and her imperial ambitions in their neighborhood? *
so you are parroting the zwo meme that china is *bullying* oh so poor defenceless japan ?
the jp, those still thinking ones, know better.
*Many Chinese today may hate the Japanese, but they also know that America is doing to them today what America did to Japan before the Pearl Harbor attack.
They may hate to openly admit this, but America is slowly trying to put a chokehold on China’s oil supplies by conquering Iraq, Libya, South Sudan and, soon, Iran. America is already stirring up trouble in South China Sea.*
the irony is that tokyo today is abetting washington to *do a jp 1930* on china.
The choke hold on oil supplies… look at the US “pivot on Asia”
whats the unitedsnake doing in yemen ?
think oil transit chokepoint !
“There are remains (and records) of Chinese rule there from the 600’s in the Tang and Song Dynasties”
“That only strengthens China’s claim to the islands. ”
By the same logic India should be able to make claims on most of South-East Asia (large chunks of which were conquered and civilized by the Chola Dynasty of southern India) as well as huge swathes of Indonesia (which were Indianized under various Southern, Eastern and Northern Indian Dynasties). You’ll note that India does not and will not make this type of ridiculous claim – because it’s absurd!
Let’s take it one level more ridiculous: since Burma was once part of British East India and had been conquered by Indian troops under British rule, therefore Burma/Myanmar belongs to India (because it was part of the same empire); Also in ancient times Burma was populated by Indo-Aryan & Kol tribes (the same people that make up India today), so therefore India has a claim on Burma (since the current “Burmese” invaded/migrated much later) – Ridiculous.
Let’s take this one level further, since the current Tibeto-Burman people of Burma originated from, what is today, China’s Yunnan province. I suppose that by their logic then all of Burma also belongs to China.
Genuflecting in front a power you fear and blinding yourself to the truth is so soul destroying. I’m not accusing you personally of this – because you haven’t done that, but I am pointing out that many in their zeal against the “Empire” are parking logic in the toilette and giving truth the backseat.
You misunderstood what I said. I used “three” points in judging territorial claims,”history,ethnic,and natural features/location” (there is a fourth that I leave out,and that is pure force).Only one of them was historical.As those island groups are non-inhabited,mostly.We are left with no population to base ownership on.That leaves the other two dimensions to work with.And in two of the three Island groups,those two dimensions favor China’s claim.While the third Island group is a 50/50 situation.One dimension favoring China,and one not favoring China.
as much as I feel for your logic, I can’t support your idea of india as a whole. india was never really a united kingdom/civilisation based on the present day borders. it was mostly made up of an amalgamation of different and independent kingdoms who ruled their own territories until the british east india company had defeated each kingdom to create the india of today…
Believe me I’m not trying to be offensive when I say: You are clueless when it comes to Indian history, having been fooled by the British narrative and pop-culture regurgitation. I really don’t mean to offensive, I’m just stating a fact. The statement you made is a well known British propagated lie that India was just a bunch of small independent kingdoms; people that don’t know better then just regurgitate this, unknowingly, not knowing it’s a falsehood. Unfortunately this “slogan” has currency even in India, amongst the less-educated or mis-educated 5th-Columnists.
India has had uniform systems of laws, traditions and dress-code from kanyakumari (on the southern tip of India) to kashmir (to Northern tip into the Ferghana valley), (despite the different languages) the same cannot be said of Europe, which truly was made up of diverse and independent kingdoms. India could not have had the level of uniformity in customs, local governance (traditional), traditions secular civil laws, social mores and even the dress code, if it’s peoples weren’t part of a unified native political entity (empire or other form of Superstate) for a very long time.
Huge swathes of India have been under the rule of various Indian empires under the rule of “Samrats” (yes! thats “emperors”, samrat means emperors, like Samrat Chandragupta Maurya, Samrat Chandragupta II, Samrat Ashoke, Samrat Harsh, Samrat Harsh II, Samrat Gupta, the Vijyanagar Emperors, the Harrapan Emperor, the Chola Dynasty, etc. etc. etc.). Let’s name a few Empires, Saraswati, Maurayan Empire (all of India, Afghanistan, parts of Persia and Central India, minus a tiny part in Southern India), the Gupta Empire, the Pali Empire, the Empire ruled by Harsh the 2nd, the Kushan Empire, the Sathavahana Empire, the Pandya Empire, the Maratha Confederacy, the Sikh Empire, the Vijaynagar Superstate, etc. etc., etc.
You really should do your research before making comments regurgitating one of the biggest lies the British used to put a positive spin on the mass theft, and mass murder they foisted on India (British Colonial protoNazi propaganda to Indians “aw look we united your country” – the Indian response to the colonial British “you conniving scum, we were well on our way to (re)uniting ourselves when you thieves came in and implemented your divide and conquer policy”). Oh by the way, if India was already divided into small little kingdoms (as propagandized by the British), then what need was there for the British “Divide and Conquer” strategy in India – they don’t need divide that which was already divided (of course therein exposes the lie;-))) — obviously since the British had to divide India to conquer it, it was because India was far more unified than your statement made it out to be.
But all of that is beside the point, you missed the logic of my point entirely (???). The point I am making is that being part of an empire does not automatically entitle the successor state to all the territories of that empire (especially those parts that were never really or willingly part of that culture or state, based on the will of those people, their language and their culture) – Vietnam, Catalonia, Scotland, it is ridiculous to make that assertion based on ethics, truth and logic. Of course, one can make that assertion based on greed, dishonesty, hypocrisy and psychopathic self-interest – but then lets be honest about the motivations and the basis of those arguments that some state actors have used.
Emperor Asoka, who demarcated India’s borders and who’s symbol is on the Indian flag pretty much ruled the present day borders of India and he instead of spreading even further started spreading Buddhism, sending his sister to Ceylon and china. The borders pretty much ended in Iran and Afghanistan and pretty much a lot of lands claimed by china and now also other countries. Remember, these borders were demarcated 2000 years ago and in many places it is currently used as the border markers. The mogul empire that surrendered to the British had over 100,000 war elephants. Considering Alexander considered them the equivalent to a tank and was the reason he decided to not advance further.. Which minor or major empires have such capability? The british defeated them with trickery just like they defeated the native americans.
This article by ‘Conical Hat’ is a terrible reactionary CIA diatribe, in which he (accidentally?) fails to mention some Very important facts.
Can anyone guess the biggest omission in by ‘Conical Hat’ in this medium length so-called ‘informative’ article?
I’ll give you a hint, Ted Kennedy. US Senate subcommittee? Got it yet? Hmm!
1. Senator Ted (Edward) Kennedy, the brother of our last Constitutional President, (but you knew that), headed a Senate committee which attempted a summation of the total casualties as a result of the American War Against Vietnam.
The committee decided on a total figure of dead, at -Two Million. Of these 2 million, most were Vietnamese civilians, and most of them died as a result of the American Terror bombing. The committee did not explain the casualties in these terms, but they did (to their, and Ted Kennedy’s credit) state the total. Our author omitted all mention of the horrendous casualties that Vietnam suffered as a result of the US imperialist assault on the Vietnam Nation. America had 8,000 aircraft shot down or destroyed on the ground in the course of the 12 year long war. Those aircraft were not dropping roses.
Mr. Hat omitted all mention of the fact that the United States Air Force dropped more explosives on Vietnam, than the total tunnage of explosives used by both sides in World War II. The American assault against Vietnam accelerated after the destruction of the American Republic on November 22, 1963. Agent Orange, Napalm, the Phoenix Program, go unmentioned. Not even a brief whisper.
According to Mr. Hat, everybody was a little bad in Vietnam. But he reserves his careful inuendos for Ho Chi Minh. After all, according to Mr Hat, they were invading the south. Wait! Isn’t that what the American imperialist leaders said?
“The war escalated. NVN infiltrated troops and war material to the South, via a complicated network of trails through rain forests and mountains in Laos and SVN alongside the border. Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia (officially neutral) let NVN troops use his country as a sanctuary to attack SVN.”
As part of the American terrorist Phoenix Plan – used against the Vietnamese Revolutionaries, a million Indonesians were massacred in 1965. *Just google “Indonesian Massacres” with or without the date and see what you come up with.
2. Next, ‘Conical Hat’ whitewashes the horror of American genocide against Vietnam, and also fails to mention the illegal and unconstitutional Bombing of Cambodia by the US governments of both Democrat gang LBJ (one of the murderers of JFK and the American Republic), and Republican gang Nixon, another of the participants in the Coup d’etat in Dallas.
3. Mr. Hat paints a depressing picture of Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese relations. He is wrong here. He ignores the presence of a great world leader, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his High Road to world peace, prosperity, and freedom. He attempts to mis-direct eyes away from the fact that President Putin, and the electric example of the Novorossyan Militia are driving India, China, and Vietnam, into each others arms (even if he must drag them as they are kicking and screaming). The broad arms of the finest world leader (remember the VISION), who is gluing an anti-imperialist world coalition, are not mentioned.
Much has changed since the Militia, and their Democratic Republics have appeared on the world scene. Did Mr Hat fail to see the Chinese leader in Moscow? Did he fail to read his tribute to the anti-fascist warriors?
It is one thing to critique. It is another to cross over to the other side.
For the Democratic Republics! Here and There!
It is not always about the USA. And not always about numbers killed.
This is an excellent overview of the politics involved over 100 years., The US always does all its politics with bombers, so nothing new worth mentioning there.
It is also not always about Russia. They can help and they can be friends, but they cannot tell everyone else what to do. That is a USA specialty. All these countries are adults, they can work it out for themselves.
I was wondering when someone was going to object.
In addition to the points made above, there’s also the fact that the (roughly) 1940 – 1975 segment, about what led to, and the nature of, the US involvement, as well as the relational history of “North Vietnam” and “South Vietnam” (neither of which had any basis in legality, whether nationally or internationally) consists almost entirely of a recycled US propaganda version of that history, and most of it is patently false.
If I, a US citizen (and an anti-Vietnam war campaigner for several years) can recognize this, then there is cause to wonder why Mr. Hat cannot. Is he, in fact, a native Vietnamese, as he claims to be, or . . ?
The application of the terms “North Vietnam” and “South Vietnam” are a dead giveaway on the mediocre to poor quality of the narrative. Only someone not knowing any Vietnamese who represent other than those who were boat people (ex-Saigon govt soldiers, people who served the foreign invasion forces and chinese, as examples) or helicoptered out, Hat omits that hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese from the southern part of the country went north to join the Vietnam Peoples Army and fought and died in huge numbers. Many were away for as many as 25+ years, many never returned. Those who did return and their children suffered horribly from birth defects from Agent Orange for one and the effects of PTSD as two examples. It was and is a massive obligation of the government of Vietnam being undertaken to serve such people. Many families of the southern half of the country lost almost all their men. Both the Peoples Army and the NLF or Viet Cong, composed of mostly those from the south, were fighting for a single country, Vietnam. There was only ever one country, Vietnam. The concept of Vietnam as two countries or entities is an imperial one, and referring to a north and south is to exhibit a colonized mind.
Filing my little comment here in reply to Peter J. Antonsen since, while I know close to nothing about these South East Asian countries, the first things I think of when hearing Vietnam (apart from the friendly Vietnamese greengrocer who was my neighbour in Berlin) are Napalm and Agent Orange so generously dispensed upon the Vietnamese people by Uncle Sam, and that is indeed totally eclipsed from the article above.
I was struck by this passage:
“Any political, social, cultural, educational, environmental, economic reform or evolution in each member country must aim at that Union goal. As a Union, a harmonization in all spheres of society must take place among all the member countries. All need to move toward that end. Thus, the political and societal management system in each country must go along with the path of union integration. Such evolution is desirable for all.”
That’s 100 % what the elites are doing on the old continent to transmonstrify Europe into a remote-controlled EU which is now 100 % subservient to the United States (and possibly has always been).
An interesting fact is that Norway and Switzerland are doing alright without having joined the EU. I question the need for “harmonization”, which only moves the decision center further away from the people. Keep in mind there is no such thing as a “European people”, there is only national peoples in various countries. Even though I’m not a believer in “democracy” as implemented in Germany, France or Italy, I find these systems preferable to an EU style internationalist corporatocracy that is impenetrable to the ordinary citizen’s understanding.
Russia is being magnified by the facts that 1) the USA strategy is so ruthless and immoral, 2) defending their interests coincide now with the application of international law. Will they continue when they differ? However there is a real middle class emergence in Russia and the gov policy has good results for their people.
I see I am almost 5 years late to this party.
Ho Chi Minh did cooperate deeply with the American OSS in WW-2, and American planes flew overhead when Vietnam declared independence, but that was quickly reversed by Washington. Uncle Ho sent numerous letters, which Truman (a puppet) would not open.
The American misunderstanding of the relationship between Vietnam and China was important in how American decisions were made. American “China hand” experts were ignored for “losing China” to Mao.
Ho Chi Minh was primarily a Vietnamese Nationalist, and conveniently a communist.
That did not fit the post-WW-2 American military-industrial-complex narrative.
Also, whose puppet was Truman? FDR never trusted Harry at all, not one bit.
Thanks to the author for this extensive and solid article. Conical Hat has given us plenty to absorb and use as we think about Asia, conflicts and cooperation among the nations emerging.
ASEAN nations, except for Vietnam, are all capable of being manipulated (and have been for half a century) by the US, using coups, economic blackmail, (Missing Airplanes), engineered election rsults and local stand-in Australia.
Leaving Australia out of West Pacific groupings is fallacious. Two reasons: Australia is connected to China because of minerals. Thus, China would drag it into any group. (AIIB formation showed that Australia stepped up immediately and defied the US by joining.) And Australia would never allow itself to be left out.
Also, the Maritime Silk Road development is going to be transformative. Chinese rail projects and a new canal through Thailand (which will happen even with the Military running the place) changes the American naval hegemonic control over the Straits of Malacca.
China will call most of the shots in the coming decades because of its wealth and its desire to help develop infrastructure of all the neighbors and regional states. This is a unique superpower move to risk loans and investments from its own wealth to move billions of people out of poverty.
If China can find some way to share the oil and gas in the South China Sea in defusing the hostilities with its neighbors, it will be a stroke of genius diplomatically. China has many examples of clever moves in its history. It needs one for South China Sea and another for the border dispute with India. The border dispute with Russia has disappeared. Anything is possible.
Yes, I agree. China should use more charm in the S. China Sea.
The rail west-wards all the way to Europe is of utmost importance. The Chinese were only able to continue their fight against the invading Japanese throughout WWII due to availability of the “Burma Road” for supplies, as the S. China Sea was completely closed by the Japanese at the time.
Australia did not step up to the AIIB immediately.
Our US backed PM, shortly after coming to office, told us Australia is part of the Anglo-sphere and that is where our future lay.
He stated the AIIB was not rules based, parroting US script.
It was only after UK declared their intention of joining that our honourable PM grudgingly decided to join.
“The USSR officially condemned China, but did not substantially engage in the sino vietnamese conflict besides helping the Vietnamese with transportation means in moving troops.”
But it was during the Iranian Revolution, when Vietnam had no oil. So, that was a vital help.
I always was asking about the situation of Vietnam and why is in good tight relationship with US despite the big war, and now I understand what they have in mind. Thank you for this very explicative and clear explanation.
Nice one, thank you!
Interesting that China seems a larger threat than the ZPC/NWO, whose pindo asset killed vastly more people in Viet Nam than China ever did. I suspect “conical hat” no longer lives in Viet Nam.
A big difference between short sighted and traitor. The difference between say.. Putin and Stalin.
In addition to the global opponents, our cooperation, albeit to a lesser extent, will be sabotaged by local opponents.
First of all, they are the sincere, but short-sighted patriots of Russia and China, focused on the local issues and not endowed with a strategic vision. This causes them to concentrate on the natural contradictions of bilateral development which without being inflated by them can be settled routinely in daily negotiations.
This problem is solved by the development of the current system of mutual obligations, neutralizing excessive fears and hopes, and preventive work with the opponents, preventing the wide spread of their objections. Since these views reflect a weakness and low efficiency of Russia, the normalization of our state and its transition from looting the Soviet legacy to modernization and development of the country, will automatically neutralize them and relieve the existing discomfort.
The comparison may not be the best, But it seemed you were calling conical hat a traitor?
It is a good article, the analysis of the future may or may not be right. Big deal.
The comparison may not be the best
[personal invective removed] the war with the west including the French and the US only in 150 years max, but the war with the chinese for thousands of year. You just don’t get it, in side the Vietnamese mind, even in their sleeps, they always watch out for the chinese invasion. What the chinese now doing to Vietnam and the world somewhat caused more lives but slow death, poisoned foods, contaminated products, damaged the environment. Look at china to day and say to yourself that china will do any good to this world.
“The Pentagon is considering sending U.S. military aircraft and ships to assert freedom of navigation around growing Chinese-made artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter requested options that include sending U.S. military ships and aircraft within 12 nautical miles of reefs that China has been building up in the disputed Spratly Islands, the official said.”
Perhaps I am wrong but the US seem to be putting Europe/Russia on hold while they concentrate on the Asia Pacific and China. Any minor disputes ect that countries like Vietnam have will be used to try and isolate China from its trading partners.
An interesting article in fortruss.
An important issue is Taiwan. Their youths are anti-China, last year their representatives seized and for three months occupied the House of Parliament. In the elections of 2017 nationalists will come to power, who can declare independence, which by the laws of China will force it to start a war. The U.S. is especially interested in such development, because in 2018 three Chinese carriers are expected to enter into operation, which will radically change the balance of power and therefore is unacceptable to the United States.
The aggravation of the Taiwan crisis will objectively bring Russia and China together (just as did the Ukrainian catastrophe), but the price of such rapprochement is unacceptable.
Putin to Vietnam President Truong: We maintain a very rhythmic political dialogue and develop our strategic partnership.
Truong to Putin: It was a great honour for us to take part in the parade on Red Square this morning. We could feel the spirit of victory. All the songs, the music we heard today in Red Square are also very dear to us, Vietnamese people. http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/49444
Very interesting – thank you Conical Hat.
Wondering where Cambodia/Kampuchea, one of the worst places in the world to be poor and female, fits into this vision.
I can remember – to my then-bafflement – Khmer refugee kids (from the K Rouge era) on the Thai/Cambodian border yelling about ‘Nam, – not the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot. Even those that seemed to be the kids of the Khmer Serei..
I also remember constant complaints of incursions by Vietnamese and Khmer communists over the Thai border in the South east..
This was in the eighties. Was there at that time a communist alliance between Cambodians/Vietnamese that transcended nationalism?
I would be interested in your perspective.
Hi Eimar Clark,
The Vietnamese invaded Cambodia in 1979. I truly believe Cambodians in general were relieved and thankful to the VN for eliminating the Khmer Rouge regime. However, I truly believe they even welcomed the Vietnamese more when the latter withdrew their troops and left their country. The Cambodians are distrustful (and rightly so) vis a vis the Vietnamese, even more than the latter vis a vis the Chinese.
In the 80′, there were pockets of resistance from Khmer Rouge, Khmer non communist but anti VN (an anti pro VN Cambodian government), and also anti communist Vietnamese, along the border Thailand / Cambodia and they took refuge inside Thailand. There was reports that those different groups made some tactical alliances in their operations. That might explain different incursions into Thailand by various entities.
I did know some Cambodians at that time whose family was victim of the Khmer Rouge, but who were fiercely against the VN occupation of their country. On one’s nationalistic viewpoint, I could only agree with them.
My 2 cents :)
Dear Conical Hat
Your article is outstanding.
Thank you for this. I learned more about Vietnam in this concise and complete article than I have in years of interactions with my Vietnamese colleagues and friends.
You also helped answer quite a few questions about the behavior of North Korea and South Korea and their relation to China. It’s making a lot more sense now that we understand the geopolitical dynamic that was being engineered on the Vietnamese before the North took the decisive action to unify their country and forestall the same type of fate that occurred to Korea.
One of the best articles I ever read.
This is about ASEAN and quite properly so. This is a critical counter-balancing bloc in this emerging multi-polar world. Criticising this article because it made a short historical overview is ridiculous, it is not what it is really about.
The other bloc which is now-where seen yet is the Austral micro-pacific, it will never be a super bloc, but it will be a pole.
This is a very good summation and analysis of the past.
No one can forecast the future, as Conical Hat knows well. But, if “the economic and social elites” -as he calls them- have their way, it is more likely than not that the future will turn out much like he anticipates. They will have to pay the people a little bit more each year and they will have to find “a place to live and a place to work” for them; but they will not educate them. For, once they have eaten from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, the people will not be quiet.
Human nature being what it is, there will be rebellion against the elites; and a lot of resources and attention will have to be directed at suppression -especially in the early stages- and on concessions at other times. The era of Asian economic miracles is coming to a close.
The political and social turmoil in Myanmar and Thailand is not going to be placated by their respective elites. For one thing, those elites have no intention of spreading opportunity and power over the broader populations. For another, these elites are hell-bent on acquiring the lifestyles of their richer counterparts in America and Europe. The heat of rebellion and resentment in Malaysia and Indonesia has been cooled for sometime now; and the rebellion in the Philippines has been localized. But the economic plight of the many will not improve without without rebellion against the establishment. There has never been a time in human history when one privileged class have surrendered their privilege, wealth, and the power voluntarily to another. It is not going to happen now nor in the future.
Populism is growing in America and in Europe. There is a growing resentment against the process of globalization, which has brought on widespread unemployment and stagnant wages. Eventually, there will be populist “protectionist” governments in America and Europe, which will cut off access to their domestic markets by Asians. Eventually, Asians will have to look to themselves to create and maintain prosperity for themselves.
No amount of agreements among the economic and social elites will be able to harmonize the ensuing discontent among their respective peoples. Get ready for an era of “Asian Springs”.
Regarding the political and social turmoil in Myanmar and Thailand it is worth looking at the US involvement.
Through the region down to Indonesia US involvement is similar in some ways to South America.
China, Russia and Vietnam should be friends.
while china had invaded vn during the warring yrs in ming dynasty thousands yrs ago, in comtempary history china more than redeemed itself by helping vn defeating the french and the unitedsnake.
the one who inflicted the most carnage on mordern vn are the evil empire and its cohorts, wiping out almost one generation of vn in the war.
this unrepentent evil empire is now back with a vengence, stoking the previously dormant scs, ecs issues into an inferno for its nefarious ends.
hanoi should think twice in courting the unitedsnake which is only too happy to use philippines, vn, japan as proxies to bait china.
divide and conquer , the oddest trick in the zwo playbook
if the evil one succeeds in pitting jp, asean against china, the outcome would be disastrous and we can forget about the socalled asian century.
Khmer Rouge was not under control of China. The Cambodian attacks on Vietnam were independent actions taken by the Khmer Rouge regime. Vietnam had plans to push for a Indochina federation , that was one of the reasons for poor relations between Khmer Rouge and Vietnam, although relations between the two had been poor for a long time even before 1975.
“Vietnam is a founding member of TPP”. This is part of the US strategy on “pivot to Asia” which intends to marginalize China and gives US corporations the right to sue nations conveniently elsewhere. A secret trade pact which we know only little via Wikileaks and which just failed ‘fast track’ at the US senate. Anybody supporting TPP is a clown of US globalization, in this case Vietnam too.
they dont call tpp the *economic nato*
for nuthin !!
TPP is the perfect nightmare. Governance by Big Business without public oversight – the fascists’ wet dream come true. And Vietnam is a founding member of this pact with the devil? Worst mistake ever!
Mario is correct.Vietnam has endorsed the return of Monsanto,the makers of the poison Agent Orange.This time for agricultural use of genetically modified seed.How can this be?Monsanto,as they did in the USA,will sue any local farmers that use their seed,even if that contamination is caused by wind drift.They will not only destroy local farmers livelyhood,but also will eventually destroy
the heirloom seeds used by Vietnamese farmers for centuries.And it is the TTP agreements that will accomplish this goal.It saddens me….
Yes, if TPP is signed, all those countries will regret it 10 years later – they will all become slaves of the US master.
One point little covered in studying Southeast Asia,is the ethnic component of the countries.It is every bit as complicated as Europe,maybe even more so (just little reported on in the West).
In Thailand ,besides the vast Thai ethnic groups,they have a large overseas Chinese minority population.While the trouble spot there is the far South.The reason for that is the people there aren’t Thai,they are Malay.And have felt oppressed for years.They were conquered by the Thai over a century ago.And when the British controlled Malaya,they didn’t care about lost territories of ethnic Malays.In Myanmar the long standing rebel areas are peopled by groups ethnically “Thai” related.Though the newest area where there is violence, is the Southwest Muslim area .Muslim majority Indonesia is a hodgepodge of dozens of ethnic minorities. The same is true of the Philippines,with the added component of religious unrest, between the majority Christian population (the only majority Christian population in Southeast Asia) and the Muslim South islands.Malaysia,besides having a Muslim Malay majority (barely) has a very large ethnic overseas Chinese minority.And Singapore has a vastly ethnic overseas Chinese majority population.Cambodia is mostly Khmer (Cambodian) with fewer minorities than most of the other states.They were at one time much larger,but lost large areas to Vietnam and Thailand over the centuries.Which accounts for the distrust of those countries by Cambodians today.Laos,along with some minority groups has a majority population of Lao,which are a Thai ethnic people,closely related to Thailand’s Northern Thai people.Vietnam, as was mentioned in the article, through the centuries expanded the Vietnamese areas to the South. Conquering the separate peoples there.So the distrust they have of China,is mirrored by the distrust their neighbors have had of them .
Northern Southeast Asia has three large ethnic groups mostly Buddhist.The Burman (related to Tibetans) in Myanmar , the Thai (or Tai) who originally immigrated from South West China many centuries ago,spread through Thailand,Laos,and Eastern Myanmar .And in Vietnam, the Vietnamese,who are also distantly related to Southern China.All three of those peoples immigrated centuries ago into the region.Assimilating and displacing other peoples.Many of whom are now small minority groups throughout the region.The only people in Northern Southeast Asia still existing as a nation from the original peoples are the Khmer (Cambodians).
Southern Southeast Asia (from Southern Thailand through the large Island areas) is inhabited in the main by various “Malay” related peoples.United and divided by religion,Christianity in the Philippines.And Islam everywhere else, including the South Philippine areas.There are other smaller ethnic and religious groups,and large overseas Chinese immigrant communities, in most cases a century or more old.
*. Why should Japan and the other contestants in the pacific rim contribute to the effort to cage the American hegemon, when it’ll only result in reducing their leverage over China and her imperial ambitions in their neighborhood?
so what do u suggest ?
jp and asean gang up with the unitedsnake against china ?
This article is in want of many corrections of which I just want to give two as examples, one minor and one major.
The meaning of the five stars on the flag of the PRC is as follows. The central largest star stands for the Chinese Communist Party. The four smaller stars stands for the four main classes in the Chinese society: the workers, the peasants, the petit bourgois, and the national bourgois.
The PRC has always steadfastly supported Vietnam in the war for reunification and provided the most generous aid even during its own hard time.
What China does not want is a Vietnam exclusively allied with the USSR with the ambition to annex Laos and Cambodia to form the “Indochinese Union”.
Thank you Conical hat for your piece. It was very interesting.
The article assigns to much strength to the US, in the 1970s.
1975 really was a very difficult year for the United States. The Western World was facing stagflation, after the US defaulted on the gold standard. Also, the strategic situation in the Mediterranean — which was not good, after the liberation movements of the post-war period won independence from colonial rule for Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria — got much worse, in the 1970s.
In Portugal, a country plagued by poverty and forced, by a far-right regime, to fight a prolonged colonial war, there was an anti-fascist military coup, in 1974. Captains and lower-ranked military, unhappy with a war that was going to end in defeat, organized the putsch, surprising everyone in NATO. The coup was, thus, sparked by deep divisions among the Portuguese elite. Then the street took over, and an attempt at a Marxist revolution started — on a NATO country, alright! Also in Italy, an eurocommunist party (meaning, not aligned with the Soviet model) was getting enough votes to enter government. And Greece was under a military fascist regime, which could collapse under popular insurgency. In the words or Henry Kissinger, these developments could spell the end of NATO. At the same time the US, still bogged down by the quagmire of South Vietnam, was showing signs of division among its own elites (e.g., the Kennedy murder and the Nixon impeachment).
Under those existential threats to its main power base, Kissinger was forced to adopt a defensive posture. The US normalized relations with China, in a bid to split the USSR/China alliance. It also abandoned South Vietnam, and concentrated its full attention on Europe and South America. The European South, plagued by poverty, was brought into the EU and developed, in Marshal plan style, with northern European countries bearing the heavy capital costs of the required investment (1). But the South American backyard was less fortunate: it was put under fascist juntas, in the same way as Ukraine now; those juntas executed neoliberal policies that chocked development and increased poverty.
After the stagflation crisis was gone, in the early 1980s, and the microelectronics economic revolution created the business expansion opportunities that eluded the West in the 1970s, the position of the US vis a vis the USSR and China got much stronger. That enabled the switch back to an offensive posture. This, coupled with the failure of Soviet economic strategy — both the communist ideologists and the management nomenklatura ignored the importance of computer science, and the impact it was bound to have in enterprise management — led to economic exhaustion, followed by political collapse, of the Soviet Union.
(1) After 2008, and under the mighty recession, the north Europeans are now looting back the capital they had grudgingly put in the hands of the European South, in a bid to follow the best practices of the US, in South America.
Saker,reading these last few guest posts i would dare say that your efforts invested in Saker community has begun to bear fruit.
And a mighty fruit it is!
It was worth the wait. Good choice. Thank you and be well!
the unitedsnake is employing the same m.o. to bait russia, china, iran……using *lilliputians* to tie down the giants !
ukraine is the catpaw to provoke russia.
jp, ph, are the bitches to snap at china, is vn foolish enough to join ?
in homuz straits, washington used a ship registered in the marshall island, another us bitch, to stir up trouble with teheran.
since there’s no way russia, china, iran would attack the evil empire, this is the only way the cunning one could get at its designated enemies….. by using proxies.
the best part is it could spin it into an act of chivalry. !
Great analysis!! Would you sometime be able to give us your views on Thailand and it’s relationship with Vietnam and other local powers?
1. The Five-Star flag has no racial underpinnings. It represents five classes, the peasant, laborer, intellectual,etc, that struggled for the success of the revolution. To claim that Vietnam does not want to be another little star on the Chinese flag is ignorant, or disingenuous.
Even Chiang Kai-shek declined Roosevelt’s kind offer to hand Vietnam over to China after WWII. China – at least, modern China – does not want Vietnam.
It is not a “core interest’’, unlike Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and even the South China Seas.
Even as the French encroached upon Vietnam, the Qing managed to put up a surprisingly strong fight. But Vietnam was eventually let go, because Empress Dowager Cixi wanted to consolidate only the key bits of China proper.
The modern `big brother/little brother’’ version of the suzerainty mode will help to preserve regional peace.
2. The 5th column claim is counter-intuitive & an excuse for the assets grab from the Chinese minority. Most were traders and businessmen in Saigon’s Cholon quarter, and many had multi-generational pedigree in Vietnam.
They supported “democratic’’ SVN and the American invaders through coercion as much as pragmatic choice.
There was even less reason to back the Beijing government, given the agonies of the Cultural Revolution and the upheavals before that. What 5th column?
How many of today’s Vietnamese wealthy elites can trace their fortune to boat people forced to give up everything they owned, for a passage to watery death in un-seaworthy vessels?
My late godbrother Suong-minh was in Hong Kong waiting to leave for an American education, when Saigon fell, and he was forced to join grudging relatives in France. He lived out his life in menial work. I post on this thread, as a matter of justice for him.
3. As for Ho Chi-minh declaring that he would not eat Chinese hsit, that is a classic case of biting the hand that feeds you.
Without China, there would not have been Ho Chi-minh the revolutionary, and probably no free Vietnam. Ho Chi-minh started out his career in politics in Guangzhou as a translator and assistant for Borodin, the Soviet advisor to Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Chinese republic.
Vietnam’s Communist party was founded in China, a few years after the Chinese. Its early members were trained and literature published there. Even when Chiang Kai-shek launched the white terror on his erstwhile Communist allies, Ho was smuggled out of China with party help.
If you can proudly proclaim two millennia of Vietnamese determination to prove “We are NOT Chinese’’, you could also acknowledge that it was modern China that nurtured the leaders of Vietnamese independence and revolution.
4. Last year’s anti-Chinese riots are suspected to be a trigger for a color revolution in Vietnam, with strong infiltration by Western cultural and commercial influences and pro-American elements. The relationship between both leaderships however is off to a strong fresh start. The American trade will boom, China and Vietnam will continue to be close, with Russia as a balancing act.
Tank you for taking time to write this post.
I would like to make some clarifications.
Regarding the stars on the Chinese flag, I admit I was wrong. Ironically, the person who gave me the Han+4 explanation was a teacher of mine who was Chinese in Cholon (Saigon’s Chinatown). And 2 years ago (I think) there was an incident where Vietnamese officials distributed small Vietnamese and Chinese flags to children and civilians to welcome a Chinese delegation in official visit in Vietnam. Whoever printed the Chinese flag had it with one big star and FIVE small stars (that same mistake also did happen with the Pakistanis a few years earlier when they welcomed Chinese officials). It was unnoticed until some blogger pinned it out and that lashed out a roar on the VN blogosphere and media saying that it was “proof” that the Vietnamese leadership wanted… Vietnam to the fifth small star and the Vietnamese to be integrated with the Chinese! I just want to explain from where I got that (wrong) explanation.
However, in my text I just wanted to illustrate the point that Vietnamese people have not become assimilated. But true, one should not take a national symbol (the flag) so casually to illustrate one’s point.
Mea culpa! I apologize to all Chinese readers.
You said “The modern `big brother/little brother’’ version of the suzerainty mode will help to preserve regional peace”. I agree totally, and I think that is also the Vietnamese leadership position.
Regarding the 5th column, personally I think most Chinese in Vietnam were busy doing business and just wanted to live like everyone. However, my personal opinion is irrelevant. The Vietnamese leadership at that time got that threat perception. The Chinese community was an influential community in the economy of Vietnam in general and in SVN in particular. And the fact was that there was a very efficient network of Chinese agents (working for Beijing, not Taiwan) that could influence (I don’t want to use the term manipulate) the community, because the Vietnamese communist agents worked in coordination with them during the war. So, the Vietnamese (leaders) knew first hand how efficient (thus potentially dangerous if you are on different sides) the Chinese network could be. They took the decision to force that community to leave Vietnam. That was how they perceived, not how I think that Chinese are 5th column. Paranoid attitude is common during tensions; just look at the Americans who put the Japanese Americans into camps during WWII. I agree with you that a lot of personal assets were grabbed during that period, from Chinese and also from Vietnamese (all the so-called “capitalists” in communist lexicon). But if that was the goal, then they could have just grabbed the assets without forcing the Chinese to leave or with forcing them to go to the so called new economic zones as happened to a lot of Vietnamese.
It was reported that Ho Chi Minh said about eating Chinese shit when he asked the French to replace the Chinese north of 16th parallel. I am not sure he actually said it. Anyway, he was referring to the Chiank Kai-shek troops (it was in 1945). And as you rightly put, he witnessed first hand how those troops treated the Chinese and Vietnamese communists in Shanghai.
In the historical overview of my text, I did mention “The People’s Republic of China was proclaimed in 1949. Support from (communist) China for the Viet-Minh escalated tremendously, from weapons to advisors. Eventually the French were defeated at the famous battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, by the Viet-Minh under general Vo Nguyen Giap”. Of course, all the details cannot be put in a one page overview.
I think last year’s anti-Chinese riots were triggered by some groups in pursuing their own agenda. And the reality on the ground is that the popular Vietnamese psyche is pretty much distrustful vis a vis the Chinese, thus prone to manipulations as long as the anti-Chinese theme is branded. Again, my personal opinion is irrelevant against the “reality on the ground”. Let me tell you one anecdote: 5 years ago, there was a Vietnamese TV series within the context of the 2nd Vietnamese dynasty (around year 1000). I liked it a lot. But in the Vietnamese net and social media and print media, there was a big movement against that series, just because “it looks too Chinese” referring among other things to costumes of the royal entourage. I think it has to “look Chinese” because the Vietnamese culture is from the Chinese culture, and back in 1000 one has to expect every aspect of way of life in Vietnam was modeled on China, especially in the (high society) fashion. But again, it’s just my opinion against the “reality on the ground” of Vietnamese popular perception.
You said “The relationship between both leaderships however is off to a strong fresh start. The American trade will boom, China and Vietnam will continue to be close, with Russia as a balancing act”. I agree. And I consider (now it’s my opinion, and I put it in the part of the analysis of the “future”) that Asia will be China centered and the best outcome for Vietnam is to find its place IN it, not AGAINST it no matter what the siren from thousand miles away sings!
Green_Tara said: “Without China, there would not have been Ho Chi-minh the revolutionary, and probably no free Vietnam.”
Until 1945, the Vietnamese fought, successfully, on their own, without aid, against Japan. But arrogance is a serious problem for the powerful, always accompanied by ignorance and greed. The French, with British support, the night of September 22 1945, attacked the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. In Saigon, Vietnamese sentries were just shot down, and the fools thought they were back in charge.
The surprise attack received the support of Stalin, who did not want to embarrass the French Communists, who were in De Gaulle’s government. Ho Chi Minh dissolved the Communist Party; he had joined it in France, because in the CP, in the 1920’s, there were people who had respect for Third World nationalists. As the war spread out of Saigon, the Brits and the French could not handle it, and they impressed the Japanese Army into the fight. So the Vietnamese were fighting against the entire world.
Fortunately for the honor of the French Communists, in 1947, they were ejected from the Paris government, at which point they saw the light and began to oppose the Indochina war.
Maybe someone could explain to me why did the French Communists, who had engaged in sabotage of trains under the Germans, and had competence in the handling of explosives, why did they not even try sabotage, to save the country from a colonial war, particularly insane since the Vietnamese were so flexible and were willing to remain in the French Union. I guess they just could not think of it. Or was it Stalin’s orders?
“Interestingly, according to Professor Han Xiaorong, as late as 1936 Mao Zedong said to Edgar Snow that it was China’s loss of Vietnam to France that had awakened his national consciousness! (A Story of Việt Nam by Trương Bửu Lâm).” This looks dubios to me as it exaggerates the importance of Viet Nam to China. Red Star Over China is a book that is ready available in both English and Chinese. I have read it many times and I don’t recall this reference to Viet Nam.
Comrade Mao of 1936 was a very different man from Chairman Mao of 1966.
“As for Ho Chi-minh declaring that he would not eat Chinese hsit, that is a classic case of biting the hand that feeds you.” China was not feeding Vietnam in 1945, on the contrary. The Chinese army’s entry into Vietnam was compared at the time to a plague of locusts.
I also want to clarify a detail: the Fontainebleu Agreement between France and Vietnam, was broken by the French navy, which shelled Haiphong, killing thousands of Vietnamese.
The Vietnamese were the most flexible and reasonable nationalists; they were war-time allies of the West, and were betrayed in September 1945, and again in December 1946, and once again in July 1954, at Geneva.
One our most shameful moments came when we began to give diplomatic, economic, and strategic aid to the Khmer Rouge, before finally betraying them, of course.
I wish Pr Lam or Pr Han can give more details.
the author’s of vietnam is very great. I would like to add my tidbit within the author’s information about the paracels and spratley islands. basically, the north vietnamese supported china’s takeover of the paracels by saying it’s within their right. hence the vcp’s hesitant vociferous critique of china on this point (where the majority of the protestors are mainly south vietnamese, besides the huge distrust within vietnam of the northerners and southerners).
lastly, most se asian states had rarely gone against china’s 9 dash line claim until the late 60’s or early 70’s when there was a discovery of oil and gas within the region. which started the round of counter claims by each country…
Love this blog I’ve heard so much of the Saker I had to cheak it out very pleased I did…
Sort of sad that the saker himself & most of the followers felt for such nationalistic white-wash of the VN history that does not help anybody but the corrupt elites in Hanoi (and Vietnamese imaginary pride). It also makes it easier to understand why Chinese look onto Vietnamese as being extremely ungrateful.
A huge part of early Vietnamese history is shrouded in myths and misinformation and disinformation and sometimes outright fabrications. Everything in order to support the nationalistic hot air balloon.
There was no “Vietnamese” nor “Vietnam” nor “China” nor “Chinese” until the late 19th century or maybe later.
There were kingdoms & emperors & mandarins & peasants & mercenaries etc etc
To try and pin national awareness (as we have today) to ancient people is beyond ridiculous and misleading and could only be understood as another Vietnamese story of exceptionalism (that has actually so far hurt VN and neighbors big time).
“Chinese” court gave the name “Viet Nam” to be used by VN kings in beginning of the 19 century after they requested to be called Nam Viet (which was the name of the first recorded statehood (basically a Han-ish kingdom) from around the year 200-100 BCA or so on the territory of what is today northern Vietnam + part of neighboring China). This new name was actually not used until the beginning of 20th century.
The constant influx of the elites (starting with Nam Viet) from the Northern kingdoms (now called China) was of crucial importance in the process of making the Vietnamese as they are today. ( maybe half or so of VN vocabulary is of Chinese origin).
Most Vietnamese still believe that they are descendants of mythical kings from around 2800 BCA and so call everything and everybody that was on this territory as being “Vietnamese”.
Something like if the modern English would call the tribes from 2000 yrs ago being English.
i.e. There are two sister heroines from those times that are being revered as Vietnamese first freedom fighters. They staged a rebellion against the northern lords over taxes dispute (as the only and very short passage from “Chinese” records states).
The author forgot to mention that Champa were basically genocided during Vietnamese push towards the south in end of 15th century and the remnants by the early 19th century.
The standard Vietnamese myth of being ruled and oppressed by the Chinese forever only came around in 20th century with the rise of nationalism that was in not a small way instigated by the French, but it was later on pumped up so much that it became a dogma and of course counterproductive by both NVN and SVN regimes.
Until the very end of the 20th century were Vietnamese kings strictly looking up to the Chinese emperors.
It was the French colonialist oppressors that weaned them off.
The only script used at the VN court was what we call now standard Chinese.
They considered themselves as belonging to Han.
They were regularly sending legation to Beijing in order to gather any kind of latest scripts.
They would even criticize the “Chinese” emperors of not being “enough Chinese”.
And why does this not so short hochiminhing (light bringing) writing omits the killings of the thousands of the Vietnamese non-communist nationalists after 1945 by Viet Minh ?
DBP battle was won by Giap single-handedly ???
Where did he get the tens of thousands of trained, armed, dressed & fed troupes from ?
Batteries of cannons that were pounding on the French came all of the sudden from where?
From jungle factories?
Oh it was the red China that supplied everything. Even large amounts of coolies to help with the logistics around DBP.
And they have thrown in a general etc. as well.
But it is undeniable truth that there were Vietnamese dying in throws.
The Allies agreed on dividing Vietnam sais author– well, it would be at least polite to mention that these allies included Soviets & Chinese. Nobody was supporting united Vietnam in Geneva 1954.
And then came real independence,
but let us not mention the Land Reform in 1955 that has killed 50-200.000 mostly totally innocent NVN peasants (and later also some Party cadres) and left NVN regime in dip shit. So dip, that the only way out was starting a liberation war of the South after they felt cheated by the SVN regime not holding the election agreed in Geneva.
The author has forgotten to mention the tiny little detail that the HCM trail (with huge storages) ran mostly through Cambodia (with Sihanouk agreement of course) and that it was such a vital part of the war effort that there were some 50.000 NVA troupes stationed through Cambodia and that they have defeated the Cambodian army after they tried to get them out of Cambodia after Sihanouk was deposed?
Not to mention that this huge NVA presence in Cambodia brought the infamous US bombing of Cambodian country side (that was never reported or protested neither by Sihanouk and of course not the NVA).
So by the end of the day has NVA actually cleared at least a half of the Cambodia of the Cambodian army and helped the Khmer Rouge effort in not a small way.
Tet offensive was not only a huge & very costly military, but also political defeat for Hanoi, as the main purpose was to instigate widespread people’s uprising of the South that has never happened.
Not even remotely. All the sacrifices were in vain.
Luckily the western media were in the country and made it look like something different.
The 1979 Chinese incursion was not a war, it was Deng’s punitive campaign “to teach Vietnamese a lesson” as he said. He has also said that if PLA would not perform well it would so be a good lesson for PLA as well. Chinese have achieved 90% of their 30km incursion goals within a month and have paid a very high price for that, but they were not defeated. They left with a lesson as well.
One of the dangerous arrogant beliefs of the Vietnamese today is that since Chinese had to input more effort than anticipated in 1979 , they can do the same again today.
1. Chinese could not care less for VN territory
2. PLA changed quite a bit since then.
3. We could be in for a major disappointment on VN side, as we should believe that it is only VN army that is immune to widespread corruption & incompetence etc etc that pervades VN society. (just in the last 6mths there were at least 2 helicopter crashes and a midair jet collision of two old SU’s).
Hanoi knows that they have painted themselves in the corner with anti-China rhetoric and pumped up nationalism.
Even though still pretending that they will sign TPP they can not get seriously close to US (color revolution) and understand that Russia will not sell them arms to fight China.
Russian-Chinese New World Order. Part 4. Our Friends and Enemies
May 12, 2015
The old world has crumbled. Russia and China must create a new one. This report talks about the need to unite the potential of both countries.
This article is based on the report at the scientific-practical conference “China and Russia in a changing world” in Beijing, on May 4, 2015.
Another local tension comes from the regional neighbors (from Vietnam to Baltic States) who are averse to any strengthening of cooperation just because of its scale, as well as countries like India, who fear violating the global equilibrium as such.
The solution to the problem regarding the fair neighbors is naturally a detailed explanation of the purpose and consequences of each of our steps with a door always open for them to join any of our projects.
The unscrupulous neighbors deserve only a deterrent, as they are the representatives of the global business.
If we go back in time enough, we discover that our grandfathers were ruled by lunatics, crooked thugs, and noble heroes, even in the same person. J. Edgar Snow’s Comrade Mao became the demigod Chaiman Mao.
One thing we can learn in this debate between Chinese and Vietnamese: patriotism makes us irrational. It’s not rational to present Ho Chi-minh as an ungrateful creation of China. “As for Ho Chi-minh declaring that he would not eat Chinese hsit, that is a classic case of biting the hand that feeds you. Without China, there would not have been Ho Chi-minh the revolutionary, and probably no free Vietnam.”
I doubt that any Chinese historian would deny that Vietnam fought alone against Japan, Vichy France, De Gaulle’s France, and Clement Attlee’s Great Britain from 1941 to 1949. No Vietnamese historian would deny the value of Chinese help since 1949, in arms, advisors, and engineers. But before 1949, the greatest Chinese contribution was releasing Ho Chi-minh from jail.
The real problem developed when Ho Chi-minh accepted aid from the USSR; Chairman Mao then had a jealous hissy fit and withdrew aid and advisors in 1968.
China, after wiping out the Red Guards, in 1975 sided with their Cambodian reincarnation, even before the boat people tragedy developed. Then came the US-China-Khmer Rouge terror campaign against Vietnam and Cambodia. Lunacy and jealousy in Peking can only explain that terror campaign or the 1979 invasion of Vietnam—right, “the 1979 Chinese incursion was not a war”.
We should learn from the past. Jealousy is self-destructive.
jealous eh ?
china felt it was betrayed by vn big time.
after its colossal assistance in vn’s victory over france and the unitedsnake, at tremendous cost to its own war torn economy and thousands of chinese casualties, hanoi lost no time in ditching beijing for a stronger ussr when the a split developed bet the two giants.
in true tradition of all wars fought by china in comptemporary history, the 1979 attack on vn was another defenssive war,
prior to the attack vn had been shelling chinese border villages for months, china launched the attack after its almost daily warnings to hanoi went unheeded.
the boat people issue could be another powerful reason as beijing had pleaded hanoi to stop the persecution to no avail.
to say that china mounted that campaign merely coz a *hiss fit of jealousy* is
beyond the pail.
beyond the pale
So angry, was Chairman Deng, about Vietnam liberating Cambodia, that he kicked Hanoi’s milk pail over, in a hissy fit.
The Sino-Soviet split started with Kruschev’s beginning to close down the Gulag in ’57.
Vietnam did not jilt China, it was Deng who went crazy, encouraged by Brzezinski.
On January 30 1979, Deng shared his invasion plan with Carter, who feared war would produce sympathy for Vietnam and counselled restraint. Brzeziznski ignored the President, and at Deng’s departure from the US told him he had the US support.
you are repeating yourself.
Sorry, the pail was brand new, and the mill was fresh.
>The standard Vietnamese myth of being ruled and oppressed by the Chinese forever only came around in 20th century with the rise of nationalism that was in not a small way instigated by the French, but it was later on pumped up so much that it became a dogma and of course counterproductive by both NVN and SVN regimes.<
Yes, as Goebbels noted, lies big enough and repeated often enough will eventually convince quite a lot of people. As you noted, the idea of a "China" didn't exist until the last century or two, for the "Chinese" people tended to identify themselves as people from certain designated dynasties. If they were born during the Song dynasty they were people from "Da Song" (Song Empire) or "Da Ming" (Ming Dynasty) as the case might be. The word "zhongguoren" (Middle Kingdom people) was also used though, and most people within this great common political unit often called themselves "Han" or "Tang" people (the latter was a favorite among southerners). This was what my former Vietnamese tenant meant when he said, in English, that the Vietnamese were "Chinese." He was disappointed when I said no, not realizing that to me,"Chinese" is not really an ethnic group, but simply a term denoting a citizen of modern day "China" (the "Chinese" people today don't really call their country "China" either). So all the propaganda of the Vietnamese being hostile against a continuous, monolithic "China" is just "hot air" as some people said here. There were many regions that had fought against central control (of any dynasty) during periods of "Chinese" history. Were all these "Chinese people" then be said to have hated "China"???
What my tenant meant, then, was that the Vietnamese were also "Han", not "Chinese." And you're right – the "Vietnamese" were "Hannish." That is obvious for, again as you noted, they too shared a common script until the French Latinized their language. And until today much of their language are similar to the Cantonese dialect, which means their language also bears similarity with putonghua (though this fact often escaped non-"Chinese" as they seldom understand the difference between colloquial Cantonese and literary Cantonese). The Cantonese call their language "Yue" language, the same "Yue" as "Yue Nan" or "Vietnam." And "Viet Nam" itself means "Southern Yue", meaning that there is a NORTHERN Yue. Who are the northern Yue? Some might say they're the Guangdong people but, actually, people with Yue blood stretch all the way to the Shanghai region. In other words, there are more "Vietnamese" people in "China" than in Vietnam.
And that is why when, not long ago, a joint mainland-Hongkong production of the story of Chinese beauty Xi Shi and the Yue – Wu struggle during the Spring and Autumn period (circa 500-600 BC), Vietnamese fans claimed Xi Shi as their own. And they are right – Xi Shi WAS a Yue, like the hundreds of millions of "Hans" in Eastern China today. It has been over 2,500 years since Xi Shi, and we're all mixed today, the Yue and the Wu and all other ethnic groups that proudly remained together under the "Han" or "Tang" appellations. I once read a blog in which some Chinese claimed that "the Vietnamese are our closest cousins." Wrong: we are ONE people, not merely cousins. But, as you say, the French and other Westerners did a good job dividing us.
Yes, the Vietnamese were disappointed when the Ching court stopped helping them to ward off the French. Like many people in Southern China, the Vietnamese called the Ching officials traitors to the "Chinese" people and "China" itself. Still, despite the Ching betrayal, many ordinary southern Chinese did struggle shoulder to shoulder with the Vietnamese until Dien Bien-Phu, and from then on until what is known today as the "American War." That was why Nguyen Giap, during the first Asian Games organized by New China in Beijing, thanked China for the help against the French and the Americans (Giap himself took part in China's famous "Long March" before he returned to Vietnam to lead the Vietnamese armed forces).
I find some people here defending Deng's role in the border conflict with Vietnam. A pity, for whatever the reason, he should never have used massive force against our kith and kin, the Vietnamese people. I felt that he was merely trying to ingratiate himself to the Americans – it was also Deng who, for no reason at all, said that "Cuba has to be punished." As Castro retorted, "Our country never even pronounced his name. It was a totally unwarranted offense" (June 14, 2012).
Obviously the little man (in more ways than one Deng was a "xiao ren") was overwhelmed by the reception he received during his US visits.
Today, the US is patching up with the Cubans. If only Deng is alive and realize what an ass**** he was.
The five star on Chinese flag is for 5 political parties with CCP the biggest. Any other explanation is false.
interesting. What are the other 4? Are they still present, or are they historically with the CCP when the PRC was proclaimed?
I have to disappoint you. I really do not remember. It has been quite some time since I have been in elementary school.:-) One of them is KMT. But the rest are some very small parties inherited from KMT time I believe.
I checked out on Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_China#Symbolism ) and this is what I found:
“According to the current government interpretation of the flag, the red background symbolizes the revolution and the golden colors were used to “radiate” on the red background. The five stars and their relationship represents the unity of Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. The orientation of the stars shows that the unity should go around a center. In the original description of the flag by Zeng, the larger star symbolizes the Communist Party of China, and the four smaller stars that surround the big star symbolize the four social classes (the working class, the peasantry, the urban petite bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie) of Chinese people mentioned in Mao’s “On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship”. The five stars that formed an ellipse represent the territory of China (including Outer Mongolia) which is shaped like a Begonia leaf. It is sometimes stated that the five stars of the flag represent the five largest ethnic groups. This is generally regarded as an erroneous conflation with the “Five Races Under One Union” flag, used 1912–28 by the Beiyang Government of Republic of China, whose different-colored stripes represented the Han, Manchus, Mongols, Hui, and Tibetans.”
Whatever the meaning of the Chinese flag is I find it extremely very hard to believe that somebody made a mistake and constructed by himself a 1+5 stars flag in Hanoi for that visit.
It is just not discussed as it is not discussed at all about unbelievably huge, well organized, violent and extremely costly anti-Chinese riots from one year ago. (that have mostly targeted Taiwanese and other non-PRC factories).
I am Chinese. That is what we learned from very young. Whatever your found out from WiKI has no bearing on the fact.
It is quite interesting that an independent thinker as Conical Hat so very closely trails the official paradigm. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/NL22Ae06.html
Conical Hat not only white-washes the past he also cherry picks the present. All in the traditional manner that avoids any loss of face to anybody involved.
Still it is sad that after all the killings and suffering and promises of the 20th century VN is again becoming less and less independent and they hardly have anybody else to blame but themselves.
So the whole revolution thing is becoming just a sort of a coup d’etat heist.
Four legs good, two legs better.
It has just occurred to me what is the biggest thing missing in the Hats article.
There is no mentioning at all of any solution for the islands’ issues/problems with China that were a very very big deal in all media (and society) in Vietnam in the last couple of years.
Which makes me think that the author is actually resigned to (the fact) that they are going to be Chinese.
Can not believe that somebody would seriously count on ASEAN mid-sized tanker. Looks more like an ice-berg actually.
Another tiny detail that Conical Hat somehow forgets to mention is the economy.
How can a country have any serious clout without economical might ?
New foreign investments that are the most important part of VN economy are very much down in the last years.
VN depends totally on China for imports of anything – especially raw materials for export industry.
VN state owned companies are still only consuming preferential loans big time and only producing more & more debt.
Public debt has probably already got past 110% of GDP, but since in VN they do not count state owned companies in public debt, they believe that the public debt is below 70 %.
Nobody really knows (wants to tell) what is the bad debt ratio in the banks.
So the only real money is being made by FDI and private sector (that is very much under-capitalized and can’t get state bank credits).
Tourism is down big time as well, while in Thailand that is just around the corner is up big time.
least but not last
Not a small problem could eventually become the not so small distrust within Vietnam between the northerners and southerners (as already mentioned few posts above ).
The regime knows very well that the way that the South was “liberated” has left lasting scars and seeds for future problems. Conveniently enough the unhappy vanquished side resides in US.
Russian-Chinese New World Order. Part 4. Our Friends and Enemies
May 12, 2015
The old world has crumbled. Russia and China must create a new one.
Another local tension comes from the regional neighbors (from Vietnam to Baltic States) who are averse to any strengthening of cooperation just because of its scale, as well as countries like India, who fear violating the global equilibrium as such.
The unscrupulous neighbors deserve only a deterrent, as they are the representatives of the global business.
I very much prefer Mr Peter J. Antonsen’s version. As an Asian who lived thru the Vietnam War in Singapore and seen how our country was used as an R&R base for US forces because our govt chose to align with US forces.
China was a very active funnel of Soviet Union aid to the N Vietnamese forces as the ports are blockaded by US so all Soviet aid must go thru China and Chinese rails were commandeered to serve that purpose. Much of China’s resources were used to ensure a North Vietnam victory.
The Vietnam War was a war of Vietnamese of both the north and the south against a puppet colonial govt imposed on the south.
Historically, it was ASEAN that appealed to big brother China to invade the North to teach Hanoi not to be greedy and push downwards to conquer Thailand. ASEAN was also arming the Cambodian resistant fighters under the Cambodian royal king because we know that Hanoi has greater Vietnam Empire in mind after the conquest of Cambodia.
The demonisation of China by Mr Hat serves only to distort and rewrite history.
This part Mr Hat did not revealed as it destroys his image of Hanoi as a victim.
A most dishonest CIA attempt to rewrite history.
Saker should be wary of Mr Hat who spins part facts and part fiction. Something CIA is very good at.
Beware of Mr. Hat, boys and girls. I see rabbits in that Top Hat. CIA rabbits.
On a more serious note, is it demonization of China, to say that lunatics were in charge in 1989, when they sent 20 divisions to Peking to crush the students? Or to say that jealous lunatics invaded Vietnam in 1979–after getting carte blanche from Brzezinski?
Vietnam was invaded by Pol Pot’s murderous army in 1975. After years of massacres, Vietnam finally responded, in self defense.
Terrorists were in charge in Asian countries who collaborated with CIA to give economic, military, and diplomatic support to Pol Pot.
It looks like the author is:
– A CIA agent, because obviously he whitewashes the American atrocities in Vietnam. He did not mention the Agent Orange, the Napalm, the Phoenix Operation, that killed millions. And last but not least …. He tried to hide that Vietnam invasion of Cambodia proved the nightmare of the “dominoes theory” was right, that’s why the ASEAN asked China to intervene. But wait a minute, does he not know that theory was the core … American narrative to justify American intervention? But well, he is still CIA.
– A (ex)Saigon agent, because when he mentioned Ho Chi Minh declaration of independence, he emphasized he was a Komintern “officer” (meaning agent). That’s the Saigon narrative, denying Ho Chi Minh was Vietnamese nationalist, but just a Soviet agent. He never acknowledges HCM was a nationalist. That’s the SVN narrative presenting themselves as “nationalists” and NVN just as a Komintern hit-man.
– A Hanoi agent, because he whitewashes the NVN atrocities. He did not mention the Agrarian reform (in NVN) that killed thousands of innocent peasants, nor did he mention the Hue massacre during the Tet offensive, or the “reeducation” camps that killed.
– A Beijing agent, because he implied that Chiang Kei-Sheik was shit but not Mao. He also seems to espouse the Chinese version on the Paracel islands or at least the need to solve the problem between the neighboring countries and the “hegemon thousands of miles away” has no business here. That’s exactly what Beijing is saying.
– A French agent, because he implied that the Japanese occupation (4 years) did much more harm to Indochina than the French. And by the way, the French tried hard to save that portion south of 17th parallel for the “Free World” and that’s the Americans who lost SVN to the communists.
– A Russian agent (oh my goodness!), because he presented Russia as a true non-selfish great power that supported Vietnam from the beginning (USSR) until now (Russia), without any hegemonic intention.
That much for Vietnamese peasant hat. Well, maybe finally he is a MPNWO (Multi-Polar New World Order) agent. A spy of the future! :):)
Conical Hat haters are getting weirder, day by day.
I understand the patriotic motivations of Chinese posters, but why would Americans hate him?
Unless “Wait-a-minute” is putting us on, ridiculing the CIA agent theory of “Mark”
It was a sarcastic tone!
Earlier, two people wrote that China 1979 invasion of Vietnam was a defensive war. That got to me, it was too weird.
I was willing to believe you were also for real… a perfect impersonation of a twisted almost real sectarian internationalist.
Yes, It was defensive war. The daily bombing at border villages, and waves of Chinese who was chased out of VietNam was what triggered war. I am not sure where you come from, but you are pretty much unreal with a Slavic name and telling everyone else was wrong in events happened in far east. You pretty much lack of any credibility.
Nwin Nwin, Denk, Mark, and Anonymous all agree that the invasion of Vietnam was a defensive action. So “everyone” agrees.
No denying here that the Vietnamese made awful errors with their banning of wholesale trade, which was Chinese-controlled. Trying to turn traders into farmers was not an ethnic persecution, it was your classic dumb commie policy to seize control of all trade.
So there were border incidents. It’s not reasonable to launch a massive invasion to stop small-scale border incidents.
The real motive for the invasion obviously was to punish Vietnam for defending itself against the mad Khmer friends of China.
Great powers should choose their local friends wisely, to avoid being dragged into war. Little friends like Syngman Rhee or Ngo Dinh Diem or Pol Pot, can start wars. .
“Interestingly, according to Professor Han Xiaorong, as late as 1936 Mao Zedong said to Edgar Snow that it was China’s loss of Vietnam to France that had awakened his national consciousness! (A Story of Việt Nam by Trương Bửu Lâm).”
You don’t need two professors to clarify this point. Just pick up a copy of Red Star Over China which I did and you will see this is false. As I suspected there is NO mentioning of Vietnam in this book in which Snow documented his detailed interviews with Ma Zedong in 1936. This should not be a surprise as with all due respect Viewnam is simly not that important to China.
*On a more serious note, is it demonization of China, to say that lunatics were in charge in 1989, when they sent 20 divisions to Peking to crush the students?*
that *tam massacre of unarmed students* bs happens to be the weapon of choice
in cia’s *china demonisation handbook* !
matt, your slip is showing. !
besides, i dont see what has tam got to do with vn ?
@ wait-a-minute on May 17, 2015 · at 7:32 pm UTC
Great, so you have actually noticed that there is a lot of dodgy stuff in his writing that is arousing different reactions from very different posters, but you are still choosing to blame & shame the messengers without maybe questioning the origin.
Not sure how much do you know or understand about VN, but isn’t it obvious that they are painted in the corner and are trying to throw around everything and kitchen sink to stay afloat.
Still wondering how does the following add up & end up well in the post-Crimean world when you throw in :
hi to all from Vietnam
sort of old buddies with Russia
just reaffirmed great friendship with China
about to sign up to Eurasian Union
letting in Monsanto
getting ready to sign up to TPP as well
cozening up to US
literally begging US for serious arms
arms so far only from Russia, but not really enough cash to buy more
supposedly still sort of arguing with China re islands (probably in order to appease revolted domestic nationalism)
very weak industrial base (pretty much processing only)
import of materials for export processing industry – almost total dependence on China
but export markets mostly in US EU Japan
huge dependence on foreign investment for industrial growth
huge dependence on foreign investment for employment growth
pretty poor infrastructure
sort of trying to get rid of cash guzzling state owned companies for years (having Tony F. Blair for adviser)
high debt to GDP ratio
low productivity compared to the comparable countries in the region
pretty low education levels of the workforce due to mismanaged education system
everybody that is anybody (high politicos included) are schooling their kids in the West, preferably US of course
weak legal system
leadership in Hanoi is very much split along sort of pro Americanish and sort of pro Chinesish lines (At the last Congress they could not even sack the PM despite his obvious misconducts (to put it politely).
I think that he is just spreading some more fog (especially that ASEAN fairy tale) as it is getting more and more obvious that VN is trying to play both sides or at least trying to make all sides court them with more gifts. They have nowhere else to go but to China/Russia as VCP knows very well how to protect itself.
And game like that worked so well for Sihanouk’s Cambodia.
Looks like that you are in charge of covering for Teflon Hat as he has so far bravely ignored every single unpleasant comment showing that intellectual integrity is not his strongest virtue – My face is more important than my honesty – very much typical mandarin arrogance from smbdy within VN apparatus.
Pls do kindly advise where exactly did I claim/suggest smth ludicrous like this:
“Nwin Nwin, Denk, Mark, and Anonymous all agree that the invasion of Vietnam was a defensive action. So “everyone” agrees.”
or are you just trying to create some negative spin in the absence of the ability to counter the bigger issues exposed above ?
Also I have nowhere discussed the “kicking out the Chinese” issue.
“Coincidentally” it is linked with the period of near starvation in the liberated Vietnam and near total collapse of the economy.
There was nowhere near as much hunger in the war years.
Vietnam produced much LESS rice after the liberation compared to the war years.
Rice production actually started to grow after VC were kamikazed in 1968.
“Little friends like Syngman Rhee or Ngo Dinh Diem or Pol Pot, can start wars.”
Sure, but if Ngo Dinh Diem than how was Le Duan NOT deeply involved in starting the war ?
Or ist because he was a big friend ?
Not sure what that grandfather standard of yours (on May 15, 2015 at 9:29 am) should mean since with a bit of luck many become grandfathers and thus by default absolved for the mess we are leaving to our grandchildren ?
Just because of supposedly good intentions ?
Or would that accountability end just by surviving a party congress or with a profound apology in front of a national assembly?
Another not so small diversion (that is used to charm naive westerners as well) is that HCM had any serious clout after the French war.
Actually he was pushed aside by the hardliners to be a devoted & loving face of the revolution after his perceived mismanagement of the negotiations with the French.
He definitely had no serious influence on the way the American War was handled and so absolutely nothing to do with “whose assistance were they going to accept and which hand to bite”.
btw it is also clear that he was (and Giap as well) very much against the Tet uprising.
Oh, and the shit eating phrase is most likely a total fabrication…
Sounds cool though.
Good article, Sir. For a further appreciation of Vietnam and her People and Culture, your readers may like to source the following, which I highly recommend:
1. Wandering Through Vietnamese Culture – Author, Huu Ngoc
2. A Vietcong Memoir – Author, Truong Nhu Tang
3. Vo Thi Sau, A legendary Heroine – Author, Nguyen Dinh Thong.
All are Vietnamese writers who offer a Vietnamese perspective, which helps to balance the narrative about this beautiful country.
Is it possible that the mentioned conference (and frontruss reporting about it) is so irrelevant that nobody cares to comment on it ?
Russian-Chinese New World Order. Part 4.
Our Friends and Enemies
May 12, 2015
The old world has crumbled. Russia and China must create a new one.
Another local tension comes from the regional neighbors (from Vietnam to Baltic States) who are averse to any strengthening of cooperation just because of its scale, as well as countries like India, who fear violating the global equilibrium as such.
The unscrupulous neighbors deserve only a deterrent, as they are the representatives of the global business.
I find your analysis of the possible reaction to a breakup of the U.S. system interesting. In viewing the map above I am very curious as to how you view the future evolution of South Asia, India in particular, and the Australia, New Zealand area all represented above in white. Are they to form blocks of their own?
If America falls into a period of dysfunction which is likely and is excluded from the role it has claimed in East Asia as the above developments would make likely what would be the perceived evolutionary roles of the two regions as the Asian region evolves?
Secondly, what is your view of the overall financial system of this Asian grouping. The argument that the financial system of the West as centrally located in New York, London, Paris and Geneva-Zurich dominates the governments of the West and is the true heart of the Western Empire. It is argued that this financial system is responsible for the collapse of the West. It is also argued that this system will decamp for the East to reassert its claims on power. Do you have an opinion on the possibility of such a threat? Will the new financial institutions of the East Asia be captured effectively by the powers that command the Western ones? could you comment or do you believe this is just a fantasy?
Thank you for the great article Conical Hat. A couple of questions. I was wondering what were the exact economical and social measures the Vietnamese took to rid themselves of the Chinese presence and influence in their society? In a more general sense, were they rough and direct with them or did they pursue indirect policies to bankrupt and disintegrate the entrenchment of the Chinese community in their society? If they were rough, do you think there are better and more effective ways through economic policies like subsidies to local businesses and such to rid oneself of foreign economic occupation?
Before tsunami is the earthquake,before earthquake is volcano eruption, before volcano is the tremors…
Who controls Vienna is controls Malacca, who controls Malacca wil controls South China Sea, who control south China sea wil control Hawaii, who controls Hawaii will control Pacific Ocean, who controls Pacific Ocean will control America, who controls America will control the World (U.N.)…
Before Star War VII is Star trek, before Star trek next generation is Vogayer, before vogager is deep space 9, before deep space 9 is Star trek originals…they get as same as Star War original….
Come and Explores the Universe….Spatley ,Paracels is a mini of Polynesian Honululu, Hawaii … fasta la vista second get none.
First Millenium years wind from the South called Indo wind.
Second Millenium years wind from the North called China wind.
Third Millenium wind from the West called Kamikazi Japan wind.
Fourth Millenium wind from the East called Boats America wind.
Fifth Millenium wind from man made lsland from Philippine West sea called Hemoglobin wind.
Sixth, Seventh….How many stars ? one ? or fives ? or fifty threes ? a brillant star in the sky ?
Thank you very much, Conical Hat.
This is very useful perspective for an American.
The clarifications of the period after 1975, into the 1980s were especially useful.
I had not understood that in as much detail, and not quite right.
My father’s year in Vietnam, as a Marine Major, ended weeks before the Tet Offensive.
I was 9 years old. There were many messages to me that we were being lied to.