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Discussions of what happened because the US fought the Vietnam War should also take into consideration what could have happened if the US had failed to fight the war. Mr. Porter makes a couple of points: 1) "50,000 Vietnamese troops to occupy the entire area of Thailand East of Bangkok is beyond implausible. Since the Vietnamese knew that the Thai Communists were not even willing to cooperate with the Vietnamese against the American bases during the war, why would they have any reason to believe that these same Communists would be happy to be occupied by Vietnamese troops after the war was over? " 2)"...there was not the slightest reason [for the Vietnamese] to contemplate the use of military force against Thailand." My reply is that: 1) Maybe, and there's ample proof of some of this, the Vietnamese communists were simply stupid, or delusional, or as Bui Tin says in his first book _Following Ho Chi Minh_, they were arrogant. They were not rational at times. For example, angering the Chinese "big brother" by performing ethnic cleansing of Chinese living in Vietnam (creating land and sea refugees by the thousands), then invading and occupying Cambodia (a Chinese ally--the Khmers Rouge were Maoists to the extreme) wasn't too smart. 2) Mr. Porter might have a point except for what Bui Tin admits about the Vietnamese communists, "the role that the CPV arrogates to itself has always been to communize first the whole Indochinese peninsula and then the rest of Southeast Asia." Combine my answers and all of a sudden what two fellows say offhandedly has a little more plausibility than Mr. Porter's post admits. Rob MacNichol Irvine Valley College >From: Gareth Porter <firstname.lastname@example.org> > >Rob MacNichol writes: "A former Thai communist claims Hanoi offered >them 50,000 troops and heavy armor to cut off the eastern portion of >Thailand. This is not conclusive evidence of what would have happened, >only because it never did. However, it offers a view of communists >planning to control all of SE Asia and witnesses who attest to it." > >This off the cuff comment by a former Thai Communist some 35 years after >the fact is a very unreliable version of what transpired between >Vietnamese and Thai communists during -- not after the Vietnam War. Two >Thai historians with access to a number of former Thai communists in the >late 1970s recounted in 1980 article what had actually happened: After the >United States began bombing North Vietnam in 1965, the North Vietnamese >asked the Thai Communist Party to give high priority to attacking U.S. >airbases in Thailand apparently with Vietnamese advice and assistance. >The Thai Comunists refused, and the Vietnamese went ahead and carried out >sapper attacks on the bases themselves without Thai permission. (See >Napporn Suwanpanich and Kraisak Choonhavan "The Communsit Party of >Thailand and Conflict in Indochina," paper for the seminar on "Vietnam, >Indochina and Southeast Asia : Into the 80s", The Hague, September >29-October 1, 1980). > >Needless to say relations between the two parties were quite strained >during the war, since the Thai party leaned heavily toward Maoism. After >the October 1973 "revolution" in Thailand which overthrew the military >dictatorship and began a period of civilian government, the Vietnamese >made it clear that they no longer supported the Thai Party's strategy of >armed struggle against the government. According to a U.S. diplomatic >cable, the Vietnamese rejected Thai Communist requests for military >assistance after the 1976 right-wing coup. After that relations between >the two parties became increasingly contentious, as Sino-Vietnamese >relations deteriorated. > >With this as the well-documented background of relations between the two >parties, the notion that the Vietnamese would offer to the Thai party to >make available 50,000 Vietnamese troops to occupy the entire area of >Thailand East of Bangkok is beyond implausible. Since the Vietnamese knew >that the Thai Communists were not even willing to cooperate with the >Vietnamese against the American bases during the war, why would they have >any reason to believe that these same Communists would be happy to be >occupied by Vietnamese troops after the war was over? As for the >Vietnamese, who were uninterested even in supporting the Thai Communists >armed struggle, and who had high hopes for the emergence of democratic and >anti-U.S. forces in the cities after 1975, there was not the slightest >reason to contemplate the use of military force against Thailand. And as >MacNichol admits, they didn't. The statement cited does not provide real >evidence of anything, let alone a "plan to control all of Southeast Asia." > >Gareth Porter