Vietnam . Appears to be a major printing error in the newspaper. But what about the television footage beamed all over the world showing him in capital
Hanoi . What is he doing there? Learning or unlearning some bitter lessons of history. When asked pointed questions to compare
Vietnam , he tried to skirt them by talking about reforms in
Vietnam . However, he tried to convince that pre-mature exit from
Iraq would be a mistake, implying thus that the
US withdrawal from
Vietnam in the summer of 1975 was a move taken in haste.
Ambushed by the Democrats, Bush went to
Vietnam , the place which not only haunts over 58,000 American families, who lost their sons in a decade long battle, but the entire country. He perhaps wanted to imitate the Democrat Bill Clinton, who six years back, became the first
US President to be there. But he became the first Republican President to arrive on November 17 on a four-day trip. In fact, he was there to attend the annual summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, being attended by the leaders of 21 countries of the region, which include
South Korea , etc. He individually met several of them. The general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nong Duc Manh, the strongest man in his country, said that
Hanoi wanted “to push aside the past and look forward towards the future.”
Vietnam is considered the fastest growing economy in
Asia . This is too tempting for the capitalists of the world.
Since the global attention is shifting from the Atlantic theatre, that is, between
Americas to the Pacific, that is,
Americas , the West is bound to swing into action. The rapid economic growth in some countries of the region and its strategic importance have compelled even the hardliners in the
US and European establishments to soften their stand.
The Supreme Commander of the American army, navy and air force was in
Hanoi and in other capitals of the regions with an agenda of economic imperialism and not military (mis)adventurism. Unlike between 1965 and 1975 he is not leading a gun-totting army. The world has changed in the last three decades since the end of war in the Indo-China, that is
Cambodia . Now Communism is not a big threat.
The West now realises that the French and the Americans committed stupidity by trying to re-colonise
Vietnam after the end of the Second World War. In that War,
France lost this territory to
Japan . Besides,
France itself came under the German occupation –between 1941 and 1944. The narrow-minded post-War French leaders tried to re-occupy all these regions lost in the War and attacked it in 1946. The Vietnamese under Ho Chi Minh, considered the father of the nation, fought bravely as they did against the Japanese. After eight years the French retreated in 1954. The French were in fact inspired and funded by the
US as it did not want the Communist presence in the region.
But since the struggle was led by Communists, the French with the backing of Americans divided the country into two – South and North. While the Communists continued to control North with
Hanoi as the capital, the South had its headquarters in
Saigon . Under an agreement an election was planned in 1956 to decide the future of both the
Meanwhile, the Americans trained and equipped the army of the puppet Prime Minister Diem’s regime in the South to check the menace of Communism coming from the North. Diem was a Roman Catholic, who now forms over 10 per cent of
Vietnam ’s population.
For about a decade the Americans backed South and North, which enjoyed the support of the then
Soviet Union and
China , the two Communist giants, fought indecisive war and skirmishes. But Diem’s government gradually got weakened because of the resistance by Communists and several religious groups within his country. The
US , as it is its wont, got rid of good friend Diem, when he started proving a liability, by getting him killed in a military coup in 1963. The situation turned further worse compelling President Johnson to send the
US marines directly to that country in March 1965. From then till May 1975 what happened is more or less known to the world. The Communists finally managed to capture the South and the name of
Saigon was soon changed into the
Ho Chi Minh City . This legendary warrior was no more to see the unification of his country.
Vietnam is getting repeated in
Afghanistan . The Americans are getting killed and there is turmoil in the country. Like good friend Diem in
South Vietnam , Maliki and Talibani of Iraq or Karzai of Afghanistan may face liquidation. Uncle Sam has mastered the art of betraying good friends.