Vietnam Lessons Gained From the Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Cultural Social Contexts:

Something that would become all to apparent as the War in Vietnam wore on, and that should perhaps be more immediately evident to us in reflection, would be the pointed cultural pride and identity that distinguished the people of Vietnam. In all aspects of the Cold War, there was a clearly stated imperative on the part of both the United States and the Soviet Union to impose certain cultural norms upon those nations over which they fought. For each, the channel of popular governance would be seen as a way to infuse such developing nations as Vietnam with inherently American or Soviet features. But a reflect on the history of Vietnam and its people would demonstrate this to be a culture poorly suited to this imposition.

So denotes the text by Moss, which reports on its history of violent opposition to foreign occupation. This would be true even where the occupying force seemed to offer more culture common ground than would a nation such as the U.S. According to Moss, "although the Vietnamese admired many features of Chinese culture and benefited in many ways from their long, close association with the magnificent Chinese civilization, they fiercely resented Chinese political domination and economic exploitation. They also resented Chinese effort so Sinicize them and steadfastly refused to embrace Chinese identity." (p. 5)

A reflection on the Vietnamese history of rebellion would in fact show the people to be less immediately moved to armed resistance by military occupation but virulently called to action by the cultural conceits foisted upon them. For the United States, then, the notion that this people could somehow be forced into quiet submission to its cultural will would represent a major miscalculation on the part of the United States military and the political apparatuses which gave root to military endeavor. With respect to the lessons which might have been garnered from this experience, it is fair to suggest that the United States did not fully understand or respect the tremendous history, the deeply ingrained heritage and the extremely proud identity of the people that it worked vainly to pound into submission.


In a large part, this is a fitting way to resolve our discussion, particularly insofar as this seems to predicate the inevitable failure of the U.S. In its ambitions with Vietnam. Though it is useful and telling to reflect on the long array of military errors and strategic missteps that helped to prefigure America's lost cause in Vietnam, it is perhaps more accurate to consider the cultural implications noted here just above as a root cause for the inexorable outcome in an unwinnable war.

Works Cited:

Moss, G.D. (2005). Vietnam: An American Ordeal. Prentice Hall.

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited:

Moss, G.D. (2005). Vietnam: An American Ordeal. Prentice Hall.

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