Futurist wrote: ↑
21 Jan 2021 01:16
Was there any realistic way for South Vietnam to survive up to the present-day?
A better question might be, why did a South Vietnamese state need to exist at all?
North Vietnam did not have an Air Force or Navy that could project power outside of Southeast Asia. The Hanoi regime was never a threat to U.S. national security, its economy, or shipping lanes. There was no legitimate reason to create an artificial country like South Vietnam that was run by a military dictator, propped up by U.S. tax payers.
The decisions made about Indochina by U.S. presidents had nothing to do with common sense. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon simply wanted to avoid looking soft on Communism. They feared that voters might punish them if they appeared to be weak. No American president wanted to be the first on the losing side of a war. Their own personal ambitions and vanity might be laughable, if not for the millions of deaths that resulted in Southeast Asia.
Ngo Dinh Diem was a far better national leader than the military junta that replaced him. The succession of South Vietnamese generals had no idea how to operate a country, including Nguyen Van Thieu who outlasted the others. But he was involved with the murder of Diem and this too damaged his credibility among the people who knew. Some of President Kennedy’s top advisors later admitted that endorsing Diem’s assassination was the worst possible decision they could have made at the time.
The chief economies of South Vietnam, on which the nation could sustain itself, were farming and fishing. Those industries were seriously crippled by the war as refugees flocked to cities for protection, where they opened shops and sold goods to millions of GIs who served in Southeast Asia. When the United States withdrew, the Saigon regime could not, in the middle of a war, throw a switch and restore farming and fishing as the primary means for revenue. The United States therefore managed to ruin the trade and social fabric of the country, as if destroying and defoliating large swathes of rural areas was not enough.
South Vietnam was doomed when it became totally dependent on U.S. financial support and the patience of American voters; essentially a welfare state established by and abandoned by the military industrial complex.