Friday, December 03, 2004

No More Vietnams Two

CHAPTER TWO - How the Vietnam War Began

SYNOPSIS:
In this second chapter, Nixon sets the stage for East/West conflict in Vietnam. He presents the reasons for French failure, and presents the role played by Red China and the USSR in planting Communism in Vietnam. He reveals the truth about Ho and his phony "nationalism"; exposing Ho's brutality and the lack of support he enjoyed among the Vietnamese, north and south. Nixon then charts the rise of Ngo Dinh Diem, a true Vietnamese natinalist. Nixon explains the partition of Vietnam by the Geneva Conference of 1954 and dispels the myth that South Vietnam and the U.S. were bound to reunite Vietnam according to Ho's dictates. Nixon explains the truth of the domino theory and gives support for it. Finally, Nixon explains that it was Ho and his invasion of South Vietnam that set off the war.

QUOTES:

1. "The fasionable view that only Ho Chi Minh's Communist party sought independence [from France] is a myth. Scores of political groups organized to alter Vietnam's status as a colony." (pg 25)

2. The fall of China to Mao's Red Army in 1949 swept away previous assumptions. The French, had planned to grind down their weak opponent, now had to fight an enemy who, as a result of assistance from the Chinese, was better armed and supplied." (pg 27)

3. "The fall of Dien Bien Phu dealt a death blow to French moral ... Ho Chi Minh had once said, "you can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose and I will win" ... In the end, the war was lost [by the French ] on the home front in France rather than on the battlefields of Vietnam." (pg 29)

4. "We wanted to prevent the loss of Vietnam because we believed it would lead to the fall of the rest of Southeast Asia. This came to be know as the "domino theory." ... John F. Kennedy, then a senator, expressed the domino theory even more vividly two years after the fall of Dien Bien Phu, when in a speech he described Vietnam as "the cornerstone of the Free World in Southeast Asia, the keystone to the arch, the finger in the dike. Burma, Thailand, India, Japan, and obviously Laos and Cambodia would be threatened if the red tide of communism overflowed Vietnam." (pg 20)

5. "Our first critical mistake in Vietnam was not to have intervened in the battle of Dien Bien Phu ... We should have intervened alone if necessary to help the French because they were the strongest regional power fighting Communist agression." (pg 31)

6. "The Geneva Conference of 1954 temporarily settled the question of who would be the successors to the French. Its declaration divided Vietnam into two countries: Communist North Vietnam and independent South Vietnam." (pg 31)

7. "The typical line on Ho runs like this: Ho, though he was a Communist, was first and foremost a nationalist. He was variously described as a charismatic Vietnameses George Washington who led his people against French colonialists; an Asian Tito who turned for help to the Soviet Union and Communist China only after being spurned by American administrations obsessed with the Cold War; and a humanitarian Uncle Ho who preached about the need for liberation, literacy, and land reform. In fact, Ho Chi Minh was a brilliant fraud who spent his life pretending to be exactly the opposite of what he really was. He was a nationalist only in the sense that he could not establish a Communist state inVietnam if it was part of the French Empire. His only loyalty was to winning power for himself and his ideology." (pg 32)

8. "Nine years later, he [Ho] was a founding member of the French Communist party. ... in 1923 the Soviets brought him to Moscow, where he was trained and indoctrinated as an agent of the Communist International." (pg 33)

9. "He cooperated with true nationalists only if he could advance his ambitions by doing so. When their interests collided with his, he destroyed them." (pg 33)

10. "Though he used the rhetoric of nationalism, Ho was first and foremost a Communist totalitarian. He used nationalism to serve Communism rather than the other way around." (pg 35)

11. "These so-called trials [in North Vietnam] commonly ended in a sentence of death. Throughout the terror of the land-reform program, Ho Chi Minh's party dutifully acted according to one maxim. "It is better to kill ten innocent peole than to let one enemy escape." Estimates are that 50,000 [North] Vietnamese were executed and that another 100,000 were sent to forced-labor camps." (pg 36)

12. "He wanted excessive violence and deliberately planned for it. ... Behind Ho Chi Minh's cruel policies was a brutally simple motive: He wanted to demonstrate with searing clarity that there was no alternative in North Vietnam to life under Communism." (pg 37)

13. "Diem's government provided far more freedom than had the French." (pg 39)

14. "When the two leaders are compared side-by-side, the suggestion that Ho would have out polled Diem head-to-head seems ridiculous. Yet during the war, many critics of the American effort to save South Vietnam argued this very point. They said the Geneva Declaration of 1954 legally bound Diem's government and the Unitied States to unify the two halves of Vietnam through elections and that Ho would have inevitably come out the winner. They were wrong on both counts." (pgs 40-41)

15. "Reunification was supposedly to be decided by free elections. "Because elections would not be free in North Vietnam, South Vietnam could legitimately object to holding them. ... We were not afraid of holding electons in Vietnam, provide they were held under the conditions of the genuine freedom that the Geneva Declaration called for. But we knew that those conditions would exist only in South Vietnam." (pgs 41-42)

3 comments:

Joyces-Iom said...

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Dr. Health said...

Nixon explains the partition of Vietnam by the Geneva Conference of 1954 and dispels the myth that South Vietnam and the U.S. were bound to reunite Vietnam according to Ho's dictates.

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