Donald Trump’s campaign war cry is to make America great again. This statement is an acknowledgement and admission that America is no longer the great America of yesterday. America’s status and reputation as the great or greatest nation on earth has taken a severe beating and is now only a shadow of its past. It is now a big quest to want to make America great again.
The peak of American power was at the end of WW2 when it triumphed over Germany/Italy and the Japanese Axis powers. America was the undisputed world Number One superpower. The Soviet Union was a close second while the rest of the European powers were as good as bankrupt after the war. There was world peace but not for long. America must have an enemy and Communism led by Russia, its war ally, became enemy Number One. The war allies soon broke apart with The USSR leading the communist camp and the victory of communist in China. China was the next big communist country, followed by Vietnam and North Korea.
Vietnam was a missed opportunity screwed up by western treachery. Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist though embracing communism. He led his Viet Minh in his fight for independence for Vietnam. But he was played out by the western allies. The Allies took control of Vietnam from the Japanese and duly released the French locked up in the prison by the Japanese to continue its colonial rule of Indochina with Ho Chi Minh and his Viet Minh left out in the cold. Ho Chi Minh turned to the USSR and the Vietcong was formed to fight the French and subsequently the Americans. Vietnam was divided with the communist in the north just like in the Korean Peninsula.
The Americans fought its first war against the communist in Korea, driving the North Koreans who had almost conquered the whole of Korea, from Pusan back to the Yalu River. The Americans had de facto control of the whole of Korean. The supremacy of the American forces was unmatched until the Chinese sent in their peasant volunteered armies to drive the Americans back to the 38 parallel, and to a military stalemate. This was a rude shock to the American war machine, but they nonetheless claimed victory over the North Koreans. Half a victory was still as good as none.
The Korean War tested the American supremacy but did not damage its Number One superpower status. The North Korea was another country that had gone communist and thus creating the feared Domino Theory that dominated American policies in Asia for more than half a century in the era of Cold War. The USA did all it could to contain the spread of communism in Asia and fought the Vietnam War till it was defeated in 1975.
The defeat of the Americans in Vietnam threw SE Asia in disarray. It was panic station in Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. The Vietnamese had marched into Laos and Cambodia and were at the Thai border. No one had the army to take on the battle hardened and war tested Vietnamese Army. Two more dominoes fell in Laos and Cambodia with Thailand at the brink of falling into Vietnamese hands.
The calls for help from the Americans fell on deaf ears. The Americans had no more appetite to fight a ground war in Asia. They were wallowing in self pity. The Number One superpower was no longer like what it was before. Vietnam was the watershed that saw the waning fortune of the American Empire.
The Domino Theory was becoming a reality and the Americans were not there to stop the falls any more. Asean countries were desperate and in fear and needed help and turned to arch enemy in communist China to stop Vietnam, and to prevent the Domino Theory from becoming a stark reality.
China obliged, told the Vietnamese to pull out of Laos and Cambodia. Vietnam refused, Deng Xiao Ping sent in his PLA, bashed into North Vietnam and taught the Vietnamese a bitter lesson, not to mess around with China. China was no USA. The Vietnamese subsequently pulled out from Laos and Cambodia and Thailand and Asean was safe. Yes, China was the knight in shining armour that defeated the Vietnamese and saved Thailand and Asean, not the USA.
The West and their pride could not take this insult. How could China defeat the Vietnamese when the latter defeated the world Number One super power? So they went on a rage publishing articles that China was given a lesson by the Vietnamese. If their story was true, the Domino Theory would have realized to its fullest and Thailand and Asean would have been under communist regimes today. But many fools are still sticking to the story that Vietnam taught China a lesson and Asean was saved from communism, from the mighty Vietnamese Army by the Americans, that ran away and making a comeback today in its pivot to Asia and trying to make love with Vietnam to compensate for destroying that country. And some ungrateful Asean countries have forgotten who saved them from the jaws of the Vietnamese Army, to become fallen dominoes.
The Americans’attempt to defeat communism, to stop the Domino Theory from becoming a reality ended in 1975 when they were driven out of Vietnam. It was left to China to do the necessary The rest is history. I walked through the history books of those days.
Now that the ungrateful Asean countries have turned against China, it would be interesting to know what would be their fate if China had not answered their plea for help but instead backed Vietnam’s expansion into Laos and Cambodia and make the Domino Theory a reality? Would Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore be communist states today and be part of the communist camp? Who bought time and security to these 3 states after the Americans fled Southeast Asia? Who was there to stand up to the Vietnamese when there was no Americans around?