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Mr. Horowitz's remarks notwithstanding, I would still insist the Vietnamese had a right to determine their own future, however that turned out. In short, if the US had not helped the French in the 1940s, Ho Chi Minh et al would probably have won independence....and the U.S. would have avoided the post-1950 situation which led to deeper involvement all around. As for "two Communist imperial powers" intervening in behalf of "North Vietnam," I assume this refers mainly to the period following the 1954 Geneva Conference. But in the earlier period of Stalin, the Soviet leader was always dubious about Ho's revolution, and U.S. officials saw Ho as having become the symbol of Vietnamese nationalism/independence, although Washington decided differently. And such aid as the PRC began to give after 1950 had to do with fear of the U.S. building a bevy of hostile states on the PRC's borders no less than building revolutionary states. Had the US been a little more hands off, the world (and the U.S.) would have been spared many deaths and the US might have begun doing business with the PRC and Vietnam a whole lot sooner. Arnold Offner Lafayette College