What Was Australia Doing in Vietnam? – The New York Times

“As Menzies saw it, the risk in American policy was not strategic overreach but isolationism, and what an American withdrawal from Asia in the face of defeat would mean for Australia and its neighbors. As a young man of military age during World War I, and as a youthful prime minister at the outbreak of World War II, he knew how painful it was for Britain and its dominions to be at war without America. The crucial step, it seemed, was to ensure American commitment: Once that was achieved, victory would be certain. Australia’s “forward defense” strategy after 1945 was to make small, but effective, military commitments in order to keep both Britain and the United States, which Menzies called “our great and powerful friends,” committed to Southeast Asia.

Australians had good reason to believe in the domino theory. Since 1945 Southeast Asia had been a caldron of conflicts created by the complex combination of decolonization, the Cold War and longstanding local rivalries. By 1964 the region seemed to be at a tipping point. Malaysia was facing a confrontation with Indonesia, where the world’s third-largest Communist party was exerting increasing influence. Although not a Communist, Indonesia’s President Sukarno had received arms from the Soviet Union and boasted of his close ideological ties with China, North Korea and North Vietnam.”

Source: What Was Australia Doing in Vietnam? – The New York Times

Posted in: Vietnam-American War

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VN objects to Chinese cinema on island – Politics & Laws – Vietnam News

“HÀ NỘI – China’s construction and opening of a cinema on Phú Lâm island in Việt Nam’s Hoàng Sa (Paracel) archipelago violates Việt Nam’s sovereignty over the archipelago, said Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng.Hằng made the statement yesterday in response to reporters’ queries about Việt Nam’s reaction to Chinese activities on Phú Lâm island.“Việt Nam has full legal foundation and historical evidence to affirm its sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa (Spratly) archipelagos,” she said.”China’s actions violate international law and cannot change Việt Nam’s sovereignty over the archipelagos,” she affirmed.”Việt Nam objects to China’s building and opening of the cinema and requests the country not to repeat similar actions,” the spokesperson stated.”

Source: VN objects to Chinese cinema on island – Politics & Laws – Vietnam News | Politics, Business, Economy, Society, Life, Sports – VietNam News

Posted in: News and current events from Vietnam

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Legal framework- roadmap needed for Việt Nam’s wind power – VietNam News

“HÀ NỘI – Việt Nam needs to develop a legal framework and feasible roadmap to turn its wind energy potential into reality, which will help to meet the country’s rapidly rising electricity demand, experts have said.

Tobias Cossen, head of GIZ’s project on supporting the up-scaling of wind power said that Việt Nam has great potential to develop wind power as the country possesses around 3,000 km of coastline with excellent wind conditions.

The Vietnamese government has approved several programmes to encourage the development of renewable energy in the country. As many as five wind farms with total capacity of almost 200MW are currently in operation. More than 50 other projects are in the construction and planning phase.”

Source: Legal framework, roadmap needed for Việt Nam’s wind power – Society – Vietnam News | Politics, Business, Economy, Society, Life, Sports – VietNam News

Posted in: Environment

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Charlie Company and the Small-Unit War – The New York Times

“The rest of the squad returned fire as best they could, but they were trapped. And Don knew it. Maybe Jacque’s parting words rang in his ears; maybe it was sheer instinct. But Don acted to save his friends. Shouting, “You guys run like hell, and I’ll cover you,” Don waited an instant before springing to his feet and opening up on the enemy bunkers with his M-16 on full automatic. The men of the Second Squad who could still move started their dash to safety, but only a few seconds later bullets hit Don’s midsection. He yelled, “My chest! My chest!” and toppled back into the rice.

For the rest of the day, the Vietcong and the remainder of Charlie Company fought over, around and through the battered remnants of the Second Squad. Charlie Company had a total of 14 wounded and one dead that day, while dead Vietcong littered the landscape, perhaps 100 in all — the fearsome cost of standing against American firepower. By any measure it was a clear victory for the Americans.”

Posted in: Vietnam-American War

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Vietnam.com: Chú Cuội or The Man in the Moon

“Chú Cuội or The Man in the Moon

“Long time ago, in a tiny bamboo hut beside the jungle, there lived a poor woodcutter named Chú Cuội. He had lived every day of his life cutting small trees in the woods and gathering dry sticks to sell as fuel in the market. He then would tie the woods and sticks up in bundles and carry them home with a long wooden pole he uses to hold the bundles on both ends, which he would balance on his shoulder. Because Chú Cuội is poor and had no money to buy himself an ox and wood cart, he carries the bundles all the way to town and to the market by himself.

One morning, as he was gathering stick in the woods, he spotted three tigers playing among each other. He looked around and learned that the three cubs were left alone by their mother to hunt for food. Desperate to make some money to buy himself an ox, Chú Cuội planned on catching one of the cubs and sell it in the market. Slowly, he laid down his bundle of sticks and crept behind a fallen log. While waiting for a chance to grab one of the playing cubs, the youngest one accidentally rolled right next to him. Quickly, Chú Cuội grabbed it by the back of its neck, careful not to be bitten and scratched as the cub kept on squirming. The two other cubs saw what happened to their brother and scampered away in fear.”

Source: Vietnam.com: Chú Cuội or The Man in the Moon

My talented copy editor thought there were no stories of a man in the moon in Vietnam.

Posted in: Vietnamese Folklore

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The Vietnam War Is Still Killing People – By George Black – The New Yorker

Munitions-clearing operations in Vietnam in 2005. Since the end of the Vietnam War, in 1975, more than forty thousand Vietnamese have been killed by unexploded ordnance.Photograph by Patrick Zachmann / Magnum

“On Saturday, President Obama will set out on a trip to Vietnam, for a visit that’s being billed as looking forward to the future rather than back at the bitter history of the past. On the same day, a funeral will be held in Quang Tri province for a man named Ngo Thien Khiet.

Khiet, who died at the age of forty-five, and who leaves behind a wife and two sons, was an expert on the unexploded ordnance, or U.X.O., left over from the Vietnam War. He was particularly skilled at locating, removing, and safely destroying cluster bombs found in the farm fields of Quang Tri, an impoverished agricultural province that straddles the old Demilitarized Zone, or D.M.Z., which once divided North and South Vietnam.

Quang Tri is a place of great natural beauty, a narrow strip of land that stretches from the curving beaches and breakers of the South China Sea, in the east, to the misty, forested mountains along the border with Laos, in the west. Perhaps no other part of the country suffered more grievously during the Vietnam War. More ordnance was dropped on Quang Tri than was dropped on all of Germany during the Second World War. The province was also sprayed with more than seven hundred thousand gallons of herbicide, mainly Agent Orange. The names of battlefields like Cam Lo, Con Thien, Mutter’s Ridge, and the Rockpile still give American veterans nightmares. The seventy-seven-day siege of the Marine base of Khe Sanh, in Quang Tri, so obsessed Lyndon Johnson that he kept a scale model of the base in the White House, and demanded daily updates on the course of the battle.”

Source: The Vietnam War Is Still Killing People – The New Yorker

Posted in: Post War Problems in Vietnam

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Nixon Tried to Spoil Johnson’s Vietnam Peace Talks in ’68- Notes Show – The New York Times

“Richard M. Nixon told an aide that they should find a way to secretly “monkey wrench” peace talks in Vietnam in the waning days of the 1968 campaign for fear that progress toward ending the war would hurt his chances for the presidency, according to newly discovered notes.

In a telephone conversation with H. R. Haldeman, who would go on to become White House chief of staff, Nixon gave instructions that a friendly intermediary should keep “working on” South Vietnamese leaders to persuade them not to agree to a deal before the election, according to the notes, taken by Mr. Haldeman.

The Nixon campaign’s clandestine effort to thwart President Lyndon B. Johnson’s peace initiative that fall has long been a source of controversy and scholarship. Ample evidence has emerged documenting the involvement of Nixon’s campaign. But Mr. Haldeman’s notes appear to confirm longstanding suspicions that Nixon himself was directly involved, despite his later denials.

“There’s really no doubt this was a step beyond the normal political jockeying, to interfere in an active peace negotiation given the stakes with all the lives,” said John A. Farrell, who discovered the notes at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library for his forthcoming biography, “Richard Nixon: The Life,” to be published in March by Doubleday. “Potentially, this is worse than anything he did in Watergate.” “

Posted in: Bullies and Scoundrels, Vietnam-American War

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Vietnam: The War That Killed Trust – by Karl Malantes – NYT

“In the early spring of 1967, I was in the middle of a heated 2 a.m. hallway discussion with fellow students at Yale about the Vietnam War. I was from a small town in Oregon, and I had already joined the Marine Corps Reserve. My friends were mostly from East Coast prep schools. One said that Lyndon B. Johnson was lying to us about the war. I blurted out, “But … but an American president wouldn’t lie to Americans!” They all burst out laughing.

When I told that story to my children, they all burst out laughing, too. Of course presidents lie. All politicians lie. God, Dad, what planet are you from?

Before the Vietnam War, most Americans were like me. After the Vietnam War, most Americans are like my children.America didn’t just lose the war, and the lives of 58,000 young men and women; Vietnam changed us as a country. In many ways, for the worse: It made us cynical and distrustful of our institutions, especially of government. For many people, it eroded the notion, once nearly universal, that part of being an American was serving your country.”

This op-ed was the first in the Vietnam ’67 series now running at the NYT.

Posted in: Vietnam-American War

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So, What Is Trump Hiding? – by Hedrick Smith – NYT

“Five decades of reporting have taught me that whenever a president starts screeching about the media, it’s a sure sign he’s in hot water and fearing revelations about some policy disaster, damaging mendacity or political villainy. Even popular presidents with reputations for charming the press occasionally stoop to blaming the press for quagmires of their own making.

John F. Kennedy, for example.

In September 1963, with the Vietnam War escalating and the pro-American authoritarian regime of President Ngo Dinh Diem besieged by popular protests, President Kennedy used a private meeting with The New York Times’s publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, and James Reston, the Washington bureau chief, to charge that David Halberstam, the Times correspondent in Saigon, was undermining the American war effort and to pressure the publisher to pull Mr. Halberstam out of Vietnam. President Kennedy was particularly angered by a stream of front-page articles by Mr. Halberstam graphically describing battlefield defeats and the self-immolations of Buddhist monks.

What the president did not know was that The Times was already planning to replace Mr. Halberstam because the editors feared that Vietnamese secret police had marked him for assassination. Because I covered Vietnam policy in Washington, I had been told to get ready to replace Mr. Halberstam.”

Posted in: Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy, Vietnam-American War

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