James W. Pfister: Same mistake: Vietnam and Taiwan

James W. Pfister

James W.  Pfister

The United States tried to protect the subject of South Vietnam. South Vietnam fell into the hands of our enemy, North Vietnam, on April 30, 1975. Vietnam is now a unified state under international law.

President Joe Biden has said at least four times that the United States will defend Taiwan against China’s attempts to reunify it by force. Of course, there are big differences between the two cases. Taiwan is a more cohesive and economically developed entity than South Vietnam. And the threat of nuclear war is much higher with Taiwan. However, both stories share important similarities: both were united by a historically dominant entity, both were divided by a more powerful external aggressor, and both experienced the intervention of the United States to disrupt the unification process. Also, both were a way for the United States to get out of its peripheral influence on China. Both events can be considered a civil war in which the domino theory should not apply. We made a mistake with Vietnam. Will we make the same mistake with Taiwan again?


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