In the book The War after the War, by Nayan Chanda, he talks about the aftermath of the Vietnam War. In most of the history that we’re taught about Vietnam in the United States, that history stops after the Vietnam War. However, Chanda goes beyond and continues to tell the story of Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon. He tells us about the clashes between the Vietnamese and Cambodian Communist government over the controls of the islands in the Gulf of Thailand. These series of events goes to reveal how wrong the premise for American intervention in Vietnam was (7). Instead of a unified Indochina alliance with China, the Vietnamese became the Chinese’s rivals and the Cambodians, who at the time of the Vietnam War were allies of the Vietnamese, became Vietnam’s enemies (7). These events serves as a lesson, “history and nationalism – not ideology – shape the future of this volatile region,” (7).
What Chanda states in the quote above is true for the Vietnamese, however this quote can apply not only to the “region,” but also to the Vietnamese Diasporic community. If we were to reshape the quote to work in this context, it would be, “History and nationalism – not ideology – shape the future of [these people],” (7). Yes, we have to acknowledge that this quote doesn’t apply to the whole Vietnamese Diasporic community, because there are those anti-communist Vietnamese who are strongly against Communist ideals. However, many Vietnamese Americans who still feel deeply connected with their homeland despite their different ideologies and are willing to give back to Vietnam to help their families and loved ones who were left behind. Examples of such are Viet Kieus, who travel back to Vietnam. They all have their own reasons for going back, however, one thing that they all share in common is their history and nationality and that they are going back to their homeland. Their shared history and their shared home is what, as Chanda states, “will shape the future of this volatile region,” (7). Lastly, a question for us to leave off is, how might we change the views of those Anti-Communist Vietnamese, who view that giving back to Vietnam is supporting Communism?
Thanh Nien News. (2015, September 30) Viet Kieu in Vietnam, [Photograph]