What If: The US stays in Vietnam

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,347
here
What happens if the US stays in Vietnam? What does the situation look like in 1980? 1991? 2000?

I guess I don't have a real, specific point of departure here, I suppose I was thinking that this scenario would diverge from actual history somewhere between 1973-75. And the main difference is that South Vietnam continues to receive economic aid from the US as well as logistical, air and naval support from the US.
 

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,347
here
It would look like South Korea. or Taiwan. Democratic govt. Freedoms for people. Higher standard of living. Still threatened by communist neighbor who wants to take it over.
And when (if?) would the North cease hostilities? What I mean is large scale assaults, operations, etc. I don't think N. Vietnam could/would be doing those things indefinitely.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
And when (if?) would the North cease hostilities? What I mean is large scale assaults, operations, etc. I don't think N. Vietnam could/would be doing those things indefinitely.
They'd never cease. Have they ceased between PRC and ROC? Ceased between DPRK and ROK?

If RVN could have held it together, there would likely have been a ceasefire agreement with PRVN. The DMZ would have remained hostile, the RVN vietcong insurgency would not have ended, but PAVN would likely have stopped directly invading RVN, which would have been enough to eventually stabilize the country.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist
Aug 2016
977
US&A
I think if the US stayed in Vietnam it would most likely have to be a very small part of our forces. That means the South Vietnamese government is better run and more capable than it managed to achieve historically. I am not sure if more American involvement would've helped with that.

Part of the reason we lost the war was because the North Vietnamese could escape behind the borders of North Vietnam, and Cambodia with little or no chance for us to follow and attack them. Our mistake in that war was the idea that wars could be won against a determined enemy purely with body-count. To achieve that our civilian population needed to have a willingness to be drafted that was at least some small part, a tenth, of the North Vietnamese Government's willingness to sacrifice it's own people to win, and we did not even have that.

I am also not sure if South Vietnamese forces could've invaded North Vietnam by themselves without risking nuclear war, because of the North's defensive pact with the Soviet Union. I doubt nuclear war or even a conventional war between the USSR and NATO would've happened regardless, but it's something we were worried about.

At the very least, if the South Vietnamese invaded by themselves while we simply did our little "police action" in South Vietnam, it might have been less of a risk. We could still supply and train them.

Hiring significant amounts of mercenaries might have also helped reduce draft numbers and kept the populace at home a little happier.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist
Aug 2016
977
US&A
They'd never cease. Have they ceased between PRC and ROC? Ceased between DPRK and ROK?

If RVN could have held it together, there would likely have been a ceasefire agreement with PRVN. The DMZ would have remained hostile, the RVN vietcong insurgency would not have ended, but PAVN would likely have stopped directly invading RVN, which would have been enough to eventually stabilize the country.
Menshevik mentioned large assaults. As you clearly say, those conflicts are on a much lower scale.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
It would look like South Korea. or Taiwan. Democratic govt. Freedoms for people. Higher standard of living. Still threatened by communist neighbor who wants to take it over.
Is North Vietnam going to have a nuclear weapons program in this scenario like China and North Korea have?
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
Is North Vietnam going to have a nuclear weapons program in this scenario like China and North Korea have?
Maybe. Having an antagonist relationship with a breakaway sister nation protected by the US, while having an adversarial relationship with PRC, in a post-Soviet Union era, and thus without a trusted patron, is quite the incentive to dump a few billion to get some nukes.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
Maybe. Having an antagonist relationship with a breakaway sister nation protected by the US, while having an adversarial relationship with PRC, in a post-Soviet Union era, and thus without a trusted patron, is quite the incentive to dump a few billion to get some nukes.
Yeah, just like NK in real life, NV might have a feeling of hyper-vulnerability due to it having a more successful and possibly in the long(er)-run more powerful neighbor in the south--especially one that is strongly supported by the US.
 
  • Like
Reactions: aggienation