18 February 2017
Blog Week 7
Immediately after the U.S. left Indochina in 1975, some communist parties scrambled to spread their power over the region. Particularly, in Nayan Chanda’s book Brother Enemy: The War After the War, China and Cambodia were paranoid over Vietnam’s socialist expansion in Asia. It is amazing that the internal post-war conflicts among communist states continued, even after communist victory in Vietnam.
For instance, China feared that Soviet influence in Indochina would manifest in Vietnam’s economic rise; so, Chinese reporters were quick to uncover any Vietnamese ties to the Soviet Union such as Soviet bases in Hanoi and credit for Northern Vietnam Victory. These propaganda, in fact, were shown to Malaysian trade officials to scare them into denying Vietnam an ASEAN membership. Vietnam’s response to China’s advances were just as subtle; one Vietnamese diplomat told Chanda, in an indignant way, “Do you think it is possible for the Soviets to ask for bases in our country?” (Chanda 23)
I never learned about these post-war communist relations in school, and perhaps it is because the U.S. seeks to paint the Vietnam War’s aftermath differently. Chanda somehow relents that the Vietnam’s subsequent recovery is a slap-in-the-face to the US, for it reminds of communist victory and socialist dominion. I believe, however, that these only quarrels demonstrate the downfalls of communism in Indochinese histories. In class, we learned that the Cambodian genocide is an often-forgotten history. After this reading, I wonder why it is not taught heavily, because the atrocity demonstrates the flaws of a centralized government. [Question] Perhaps it might consequently show Vietnam’s invasive power when we learn of their later takedown of the Khmer Rouge? I believe that it will benefit informed audiences in understanding all facets of the war.