The Fall of Saigon took place on April 29, 1975 as North Vietnamese troops took over Hanoi. United States helicopters evacuated its remaining troops and Vietnamese comrades. Other political and economics elites were prioritized for evacuation at the American embassy at the Saigon river. The North Vietnamese attack on the Thieu regime at Central Highlands town of Ban Me Thuot on March 10 marked the end of the war. On April 29, Operation Frequent Wind was launched to evacuate all US troops and Vietnamese comrades. This ended in the morning of April 30. This marked twenty ones years after the CIA initially trained South Vietnamese anti-Communist Army of the Republic of Vietnam. Communist flags were planted at the palace and marked the end of the war.
Then a massive exodus of Vietnamese took place at the end of the war. Yet, many were relieved that the end came without a massive bloodbath. Many were also anxious about the state of the future, however, there was at least feelings of peace and that the country would gradually sort itself out.
For Cambodia, however, there was much unrest and little assurance that things would get better. The Khmer Rouge had ended just thirteen days before the Fall of Saigon. Following the Fall of Saigon and the claim of Phnom Penh were bloody battles over control of islands in the Gulf of Thailand, coupled with diplomatic conflicts between Cambodia, Vietnam, China, and the Soviet.
There exists a long historical conflict in Indochina. Cambodia views the Vietnamese as hereditary enemies, in which Vietnamese villages suspected as Vietnam sympathizers were attacked. Cambodia has long viewed Vietnam as their historic enemy predestined to take over Cambodia. While, China has long been viewed as Vietnam’s enemy, as well. China has historically subjugated Vietnam and has intended on keeping Vietnam obscure. Nayan Chanda illustrated in detail the way in which the Indochina conflicts are heavily rooted in history and nationalism, and how the future of the region is perpetually shaped by them, rather ideologies being responsible.
The conflicts depicted by Chanda conjures up old memories and past experiences in Southeast Asian conflict between Cambodia and Vietnam. Moreover, the narratives described by Chanda parallels with conflicts presently happening with Syrian refugees, the diaspora, as well as historical, nationalist, and ideological means that contribute to the issue. To connect my recollection of the conflict between Cambodia and Vietnam, I was very unaware of and confused about the conflict and history; and I am concerned about this perpetuation of the lack of awareness of historical and nationalist premises that shape the social, political, and cultural climate around particular parts of the world. I recall Chandra saying that the United States military at one point demonstrated military dominance at Mayaguez to boost American morale and confidence after having to retreat from Vietnam and Cambodia. The United States wrongly and unnecessarily intervened in affairs that exacerbated diplomatic conflicts, as well as the current historical and nationalist conflicts between Indochina.
Thus, how does the United States military not learn from such salient mistakes? Why do such similar conflicts continue today across different nations and cultures? How does the United States contribute to these pervasive issues?
Cambodia: VIETNAM INVASION OF KAMPUCHEA