Are there any parallels between the Vietnam War and any current US foreign policy situations?

Aug 2012
104
(I'm putting this in the North American forum, because I'd like to look at this from the American perspective)

I'm writing a work of fiction that relates to the Vietnam War and I'm trying to think whether the Vietnam War connects in any way with any foreign policy situation the US is facing right now or might be facing in the near future. Any lessons of Vietnam that might be applicable, any similarities with any situation or any other connection of any kind?

Do you guys think there are any?
 
Oct 2015
1,009
Virginia
Similarities? Seriously?
How about ALL of them? (Still "nation building" (at the point of a bayonet) in Iraq and Afghanistan 20 years later.)
Apparently no one learned ANYTHING (except maybe how to control the press) and hubris still rules.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: sparky

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
5,009
Dispargum
The preference for solving international problems by using the military, because diplomacy and other methods are more difficult.
The belief that if the US doesn't do it, no one else will.
The belief that democracy and capitalism are the right political and economic system for everyone, and everyone on the planet, deep down inside, wants to be a democratic-capitalist because those are "natural" systems.
The belief that the people who live in the war zone want us there because after all, we're doing them a favor - the "We had to destroy the village to save it" delusion.
The American people are still far too permissive when it comes to letting our government start wars.
The blind patriotism of those who support the war - today it's "If you don't support the war you hate the troops." Back then it was, "If you don't support the war you must be a Communist." The total absence of nuance.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dentatus

GogLais

Ad Honorem
Sep 2013
5,597
Wirral
My first thought as an outsider is that things are different now. The optimism and relative power that led to the belief that success in Vietnam was possible have gone. And what if Vietnam had been fought in the age of the internet and social media?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Menshevik

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,682
Sydney
Boeing need some income , after their disastrous civilian airplane incident
their military contracts are vital to their survival
thanks God and congress for the budget deficit
 

HackneyedScribe

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
6,613
Gulf of Tonkin incident: Reported that North Vietnamese vessels attacked the American USS Maddox, which gave Johnson the authority to wage war against Vietnam.
Declassified later in 2005 that the USS Maddox first fired three warning shots against those Vietnamese vessels, which was probably taken as an act of hostility

Pentagon Papers:
At 1500G, Captain Herrick (commander of Maddox) ordered Ogier's gun crews to open fire if the boats approached within ten thousand yards. At about 1505G, Maddox fired three rounds to warn off the communist [North Vietnamese] boats. This initial action was never reported by the Johnson administration, which insisted that the Vietnamese boats fired first.

Sounds very similar to why we went to the Iraq War (Nayirah's false testimony in the first, Jumana Hannah's false testimony in the second, plus the false accusations about nuclear weapons). Or the Syrian chemical attack in which Assad, who was winning the war, used chemical weapons against non-military targets who were of no threat to him, inviting the US/allies to actively help the opposition. Makes sense? Trust should be earned, but this collective amnesia thing makes it impossible. People tend to forget the history of half-truths and whole lies being used to justify certain government actions. So people swallow the next half-truth and whole lie up without question.

And then there's the usual "let's help the people of X by sanctioning them". Therefore they'd get desperate enough to "rise up" and overthrow their oppressors, as the logic goes. Easy to say when we're not the ones who have to first starve and then eat bullets. Who's oppressing who again? It's very counter-intuitive that such actions would make them hate their own leaders more, rather than unite them in hating us more.
 
Last edited:
Jul 2019
164
Pale Blue Dot - Moonshine Quadrant
(I'm putting this in the North American forum, because I'd like to look at this from the American perspective)

I'm writing a work of fiction that relates to the Vietnam War and I'm trying to think whether the Vietnam War connects in any way with any foreign policy situation the US is facing right now or might be facing in the near future. Any lessons of Vietnam that might be applicable, any similarities with any situation or any other connection of any kind?

Do you guys think there are any?
I think that if you use the American acquisition of an Asian Empire that started with Commodore Matthew Perry in Japan in 1853 and became a formal empire with the Spanish-American War at the end of the 19th century as a point of reference, the continuity of American history in this area will become obvious - right up to the modern day tensions in East Asia.
 
Oct 2015
1,009
Virginia
The press and "media" is silent (bad ratings/circulation?), as is "social media" why?
Is it because there is a professional, volunteer army and middle class kids are not having their comfortable lives interrupted by conscription?
Or maybe its just that nobody cares.
 

pikeshot1600

Ad Honoris
Jul 2009
10,096
The only comment I can make is that US strategy in Asia has been a fiasco since the Second World War. Strategically, a hundred years ago the United States understood that its best policy was to leverage naval power to advance its interests in Asia and stay out of military adventures on the Asian mainland. Since 1950 there have been five military adventures on that mainland and four of them have not gone well.

Of course if the US keeps squandering its naval capability - wasting enormous amounts of funds, and also building worthless ship types - and not being able to replace it, there will be less leverage for the next generation of "leadership" to utilize for US interests.

We are pretty good at screwing ourselves into situations over which we lose control.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dentatus
Oct 2015
1,009
Virginia
Didn't somebody (not Vizzini in "Princess Bride") say that the greatest classic blunder is to get involved in a land war in Asia?