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I've been a little puzzled - in the arguments over Afghanistan, people look back at Vietnam and talk about how that could have been won with different tactics and troop commitment levels.

Given the current state of Vietnam, would an American win there in the 70s have produced anything that looks as positive and forward thinking as the place is today?

 Economy - overview:

Vietnam is a densely-populated developing country that in the last 30 years has had to recover from the ravages of war, the loss of financial support from the old Soviet Bloc, and the rigidities of a centrally-planned economy. Since 2001, Vietnamese authorities have reaffirmed their commitment to economic liberalization and international integration. They have moved to implement the structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive export-driven industries. Vietnam's membership in the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and entry into force of the US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement in December 2001 have led to even more rapid changes in Vietnam's trade and economic regime. Vietnam's exports to the US increased 900% from 2001 to 2007. Vietnam joined the WTO in January 2007 following over a decade long negotiation process. WTO membership has provided Vietnam an anchor to the global market and reinforced the domestic economic reform process. Among other benefits, accession allows Vietnam to take advantage of the phase-out of the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, which eliminated quotas on textiles and clothing for WTO partners on 1 January 2005. Agriculture's share of economic output has continued to shrink from about 25% in 2000 to less than 20% in 2008. Deep poverty has declined significantly and is now smaller than that of China, India, and the Philippines. Vietnam is working to create jobs to meet the challenge of a labor force that is growing by more than one-and-a-half million people every year.

Given a pretty successful mixed economy and a reputation for hospitality for tourism and relatively safe streets, I'm wondering what a Saigon oriented political tilt would have done to make the place better than what it is today.

Originally posted to high bitrate on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 08:43 AM PST.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Urizen, EthrDemon, Neon Mama, Sunspots

    The "choice" offered by capital is illusory. If you cannot afford the choice, you don't have the freedom to choose.

    by high bitrate on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 08:43:42 AM PST

  •  thing is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Urizen, trashablanca

    Vietnam didn't have the taliban and their woman-hating creed, nor did it share a long and porous border with an unstable nation in possession of a nuclear arsenal.

    not that I think the Af-pak war is sane or winnable - i'd leave it to the drones and special forces, as someone else said, but not sure in 30 years it'll look like Vietnam.  

    "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver, 'The Summer Day'

    by Airmid on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 08:56:45 AM PST

  •  I believe that war had the right outcome (4+ / 0-)

    for Vietnam and a negative one for the US.  The scars of our "loss" still persist (as do the scars of the maimed, stressed, poisoned, etc. Vietnamese people), most problematically in the hearts of the hawks who want to "redeem" the national ego around it.

    To my mind, attempting to nation build in Afghanistan is completely foolish and doomed to a similar failure.  I can understand the desire to finish the original mission (I.e., "get" bin Laden), not so much because because I care about him, but because I suspect avoiding that same sense of failure would be healthier for our national mental health.

    I don't believe anybody can achieve any kind of positive social engineering through force and violence.  If we want to create social pressure for change we will have to do it culturally by presenting stimulating and enjoyable alternatives to Taliban culture.  I think we'd do much better building movie theaters, concert halls, and dance clubs, than fortresses.  The weakness of the Taliban (the place we should confront them) isn't military, it's that the life they offer isn't any fun.  I've never met a young man who wasn't interested in fun (like hanging out with girls and all that).  If there was fun to be had, I suspect their troops would soon desert them.

  •  South Korea did okay. n/t (0+ / 0-)

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