Were the U.S.’s decision of commitment in Vietnam flawed? From what I have read about the Vietnam war, what I keep coming back to is the United State’s basic misunderstanding about what it was that the Vietnamese (North and South) were actually fighting for. The United States saw themselves as taking a stance against the “march of communism” while the NVA and the NLF were actually having a war in pursuit of their independence and reunification. Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist before he was a communist. This was not acknowledged at the time. He was a nationalist leader who saw communism just as a suitable mean to mobilize the Vietnamese people against first the French, then the Japanese, then the French again and finally the Americans. I
think the U.S. failed to understand the lessons from the second French occupation defeat in Vietnam and as a result, they drew all the wrong assumptions about the nature of Vietnamese insurgency and resistance. In many ways, it was also the inability to understand Vietnamese motivations for conflict correctly that led the United States to eventually go the same way as France had gone ten years before. Along the way, Cambodia became a casualty, so did Laos. I might also argue that if France had been prevented from reasserting colonialism status of the Indochina after World War II, perhaps all of what followed – almost thirty years of incredibly bitter and bloody war across South East Asia – could have been avoided. Millions of lives might not have been lost. As a result of the domino theory, the United States got involved in the Vietnam War in full support of the non-communist dictator who was in South Vietnam.
This was done with the aim of ensuring national security in the country. The U.S. supported the idea of communism in the domino theory with the fall of other nations in Southeast Asia, hence leading to the collapse of those countries which were posing a threat to the United States and ensuring that they have the national security.
The United States also did not take into account the differences between communist countries. For example, even though China is Vietnam’s ally, their conflict in the past affected the relationship between them. Vietnam still takes China supply but still being cautious of China. Another thing is that nationalism is side by side with the Vietnamese communist leaders. In fact, they did not allow the Chinese troops to fight in Vietnam or let them get too close to Hanoi. Moreover, the disagreement of the idea that between China and the Soviet Union, who should become the leader of the Communists.