I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of the Vietnam War being a “proxy” war—meaning that Vietnam was the unlucky battleground where Russia/China took on the USA in the final clash of the Cold War and they borrowed the Vietnamese people. At first, this seemed reasonable, and I think it is in part true.
But again, it leaves out a very important element of the equation: Ho Chi Minh. For a proxy war to be a reasonable explanation we must view the Vietnamese people as innocent, victimized children caught in a vicious fight between their parents: Russia/China and the USA.
But the Vietnamese people were not children. Many were poorly educated, oppressed, and living in the wreckage of French colonization, but they were certainly not children. Ho Chi Minh knew exactly what he was doing. He knew a war with the US would be imminent if he tried to unify his country under communism, and he was prepared for that. Anti-communists welcomed the support of the US and the Southern people enjoyed a new influx of money and opportunity. The Vietnamese people were fighting a true civil war, but the stakes were high for the World Order because they were fighting over Communism in Indo-China. Ho Chi Minh and Diem both knew what they were playing at. Unfortunately for the US, Ho Chi Minh did it better.
The heat here is like being in the mouth of a dragon. The air is wet with his saliva and the sun burns through you like fire.