1963 coup d’état that took away their lives. 54 What if the RVN had been more appealing to its people, but still maintained its association with the U.S.? I propose this hypothesis because the existence of influence from the latter was unchangeable, due to the U.S. origin of involvement and its domestic politics of the 1960s. However we will also discuss the neutralization scheme, which turned out to be politically a non-option. 52 George N. Katsiaficas, Vietnam Documents: American and Vietnamese Views , 1st Edition (Armonk, N.Y: M E Sharpe Inc, 1992), 43. 53 Bernard B. Fall, Viet-Nam Witness 1953-66 , Third Printing edition (Frederick A. Praeger, 1966), 65-7. 54 Ibid, 187.
Tran 25 Assuming this historical “what if,” two s c enarios could have happened: 1) the stabilization of the RVN to the degree similar to that in South Korea, or 2) the Nguyen Van Thieu era, a time in which both American involvement and insurgency mounted only to stop at either’s breaking point. Given the strength of the southern insurgency force that had existed since the French colonization and fortified militarily and politically through the consolidation of forces under the NLF, what would unfold next proved the better probability of the Thieu era scenario. What the situation in Vietnam had but Korea’s did not were the post-colonialism sentiment and the existence of the popular Southern insurgency, which until 1965 had existed for more than two decades. With the existence of a strongly popular NLF, a government in Saigon that continued to associate with the U.S. would certainly go against Vietnamese nationalistic sentiment and their desire for self-determination. Americans, whose politics had been dominated with the fear of communist expansionism until this point, on the other hand, would never have allowed this association to falter, for it needed the association for its aim of ridding South Vietnam of communist forces. If the Americans wanted to exterminate Communism from Vietnam, not only would it have to defeat the NLF, it would also have to escalate war to North Vietnam. All together, the situation in Vietnam invalidated the Korea scheme. As the RVN government continued to falter, the insurgency and independence movement became stronger. Its strength is rooted in the support it won from Vietnamese people, the diplomacy it won from the world, and the military force it gathered domestically and through international aid. This movement would invariably result in the Vietnam domino falling to the left. This leftward fall could have been avoided only if the Vietnamese struggle for independence had had a different root than the popular Communist-led force. Only if there had been a comparable dominant figure like Ho Chi Minh who were non-Communist to unite the
Tran 26 hearts, minds and will of the colonialism-impoverished Vietnamese people would a different outcome have been possible. There was none.