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From 1950-1954 the Viet-Minh tried to promote the idea of an Indochinese Communist Party which had geopolitical implications among which was Vietnamese hegemony over Laos and Cambodia. Those dreams died after the Geneva Conference in 1954 when the principal task for North Vietnam was building socialism and anticipating elections which never were implemented. Professor Kaiser, however, is wrong when he states that the USSR was not competing for influence with China. The area of competition was not just Vietnam, but the Third World. The mistake U.S. policy makers made (especially Kissinger & Nixon) was in assuming that both China and the Soviet Union had siginificant influnce over Vietnamese policy, at least certainly not in the long term. The question of Soviet-Chinese competition concerned which of the two countries was a better model for developing nations.Donald Zagoria's Vietnam Triangle discusses many of these disputes and places the Sino-Soviet split in the context of Vietnam. As to the clairvoyance or lack of same on the part of Bundy, Ball, Morse, et al, it maybe obvious in the documents cited by Kaiser but it was hardly in the public domain in 1964 (an election year) nor much in evidence in 1965. Paul Dunn > From: David Kaiser <KaiserD2@cox.net> > > Mark Safranski seems to think it would have required extroardinary > clairvoyance to realize that the defense of South Vietnam might be either > hopeless or much too costly to be worth it in 1964-5. But it didn't. As > readers of my book, American Tragedy, will discover, leading Americans who > had reached that conclusion included Senators Mike Mansfield (Majority > Leader), J. William Fulbright (Chairman of Foreign Relations), Wayne > Morse, Gaylord Nelson, and virtually the entire Southern Democratic bloc > (including Richard Russell and George Smathers) from the Legislative > branch. They also included Undersecretary of State George Ball, Assistant > Secretary for the Far East William Bundy, Assistant Secretary of Defense > John McNaughton, and Ambassador to the UN Adlai Stevenson in the Executive > branch--as well as a recently deceased President, John F. Kennedy, who as > I showed spoke frequently about how fighting a major war in Southeast Asia > would be a very bad idea. General David Shoup, who stepped down as Marine > Corps Commandant in 1963, also opposed such a war. > > Regarding Robert MacNichol's scenario of a North Vietnamese empire, > the Soviet Union certainly was not competing for influence with China in > North Vietnam in 1964-5 in the sense of also egging the North Vietnamese > on. And if there had been no American involvement, the North Vietnamese > army would never have gotten as large or well-equipped as it did. In > fact, it probably wouldn't have had to undertake major operations in South > Vietnam at all, much less embark on the conquest of the rest of Indochina > and Southeast Asia. Remembre, after its victory in South Vietnam in 1975, > the North Vietnamese army was preoccupied with two other tasks--first, the > overthrow of a Chinese-supported regime in Cambodia, and then, a bloody > war with China, which tried to retaliate! Hardly the unified Communist > phalanx that MacNichol still wants to fighten us with, it seems to me. > > David Kaiser >