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Letter: Vietnam and the domino strategy

To the Editor:

PBS’s Vietnam War series tries to discredit the so-called falling domino strategy.

The idea was, if Vietnam fell, it would become totally communist and Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia and Indonesia would follow.

After Mao lost more than a million Chinese “volunteers” in the Korean “police action,” he decided to spread his kind of communism to the smaller Asian nations. Colonial Vietnam was the first domino to get material help against the capitalists he hated.

By sending just a few Chinese military but lots of arms and food, he avoided another confrontation.

The other Indo-Chinese Nations were to fall after Vietnam defeated their “oppressors.”

Since the timeline was stretched by the American involvement, Laos was changed from a monarchy to sympathetic independent allowing the North to build a vast road network to the South. Cambodia went with their own brand of communism.

Indonesia, Burma and Thailand either had brief flings with communism or rebels who didn’t manage to overthrow their countries’ government.

Did our long war make a difference?

I think it may have made a difference by changing the timetable and propping up some of the dominoes.

According to the memoirs of the North Vietnam’s army chief of staff, General Nyugen Giap, he put everything the North and Viet Cong had into the Tet Offensive.

If it hadn’t been for the V.C. using the old calendar and the N.V.A. using the new calendar (a day later), they might not have suffered a tremendous defeat.

The V.C. was almost wiped out as a combat force and the North’s troops suffered terrible losses.

If the news media (Walter Cronkite and a few other reporters) hadn’t declared the war was lost, General Giap had planned to pull back his troops and wait until we left. Instead, the war dragged on. 

Chuck Johnson, Morris

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