In this episode I will be sharing my thoughts about an article from the Diplomat website titled: Revisiting Hanoi’s Public Diplomacy Efforts During the Vietnam War by Robert Farley. Farley is a senior lecturer at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. The thrust of the article is about how North Vietnam attempted to gin up international support during the Vietnam War.
It is important that we study what was done in the past so that we can successfully deal with current and future challenges. The Vietnam War was a part of our global war against Communist domination and we won despite facing major challenges. One of the challenges in fighting Communism was the diplomatic phase of the conflict.
The actions of the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War typify the diplomatic challenges we face in our world today. Farley’s piece describes the things North Vietnam did in their attempts to win over world opinion in their struggle with the United States.
“Hanoi’s efforts to build a revolutionary international coalition opposed to U.S. intervention in the war. This included targeted outreach at feminist groups, black militant organizations, Palestinian groups, artist collectives, and others. These efforts did not always work; sometimes, the particular appeals made by DRV officials fell flat in front of Western audiences. Nevertheless, Hanoi’s efforts at public diplomacy helped to undercut European and broader international support for American efforts in Vietnam.”
Ironically today the US and Vietnam are cooperating in commerce and military efforts to contain growing Chinese influence in East Asia.
Today the western world is facing a new and different challenge from militant Islamism. It must be dealt with in many areas with diplomacy being one of the most important. Let’s hope the leaders of the western world have learned the lessons of the past and move forward to effectively lead us into a brave new world.
While you are wondering about that situation, get a copy of Farley’s book “The Battleship Book” and enjoy its fascinating diversions.