A DIFFERENT TAKE
This post from the Wall Street Journal's "Informed Reader" blog, titled "The Real Lesson Vietnam Teaches about Iraq", is not the political partisan piece one might expect. It actually offers a different twist on the subject:
"Vietnam offers guidance for the challenges facing Iraq, but the lessons are economic, not military, says historian Stephen Kotkin in the New Republic.
In a review of a new Ho Chi Minh biography, Mr. Kotkin credits Vietnam’s entrepreneurialism, falling poverty and rapid economic growth to its trading ties with China and South Korea. In the long aftermath of the war and U.S. withdrawal, both countries provided capital for businesses and a large market for Vietnamese products.
There are of course vast differences between Vietnam in the 1970s and Iraq in 2008. But Vietnam’s post-war experience suggests that regional economic shifts might have more impact on Iraq than anything the U.S. does there now.
Mr. Kotkin says there are some countries that might serve as Iraq’s China and South Korea. Turkey is growing fast and is close enough to fill the bill. As India’s economic influence broadens, it might become a key trading partner with Iraq. And China itself could be an important player in Iraq’s future.
Mr. Kotkin, a professor of history at Princeton University, makes no guarantees that these countries will serve that role.
But, he notes, the U.S. has become Vietnam’s biggest trading partner, which has the political side effect of encouraging reconciliation between the two nations. “Who foresaw such a turn of events during the apocalyptic 1970s, or the 1980s,” says Mr. Kotkin of Vietnam. “Impossible as it now seems, such a future may one day await Iraq.” – Robin Moroney."
Definitely thinking different.