Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of Vietnam’s most democratic election.
Admittedly, this is a low bar. And to be sure, though the 1967 South Vietnamese presidential election was conducted with more propriety than Saigon’s previous debacles, which were typically won with 98 percent of the vote, or than the North’s one-party, pro forma affairs, it was an event likewise riddled with vote-rigging and intimidation. The result, a modest victory for the military slate, was certain even before campaigning began.
But if its administration was less than impartial, it was still one of the most important moments in the short life of the Republic of South Vietnam, and an underappreciated moment in the history of the Vietnam War.… Seguir leyendo »
Vietnam ’67. Historians, veterans and journalists recall 1967 in Vietnam, a year that changed the war and changed America
Buddhists against Catholics. Northerners against southerners. Civilians against the military. Capital against periphery. Ethnic Vietnamese against ethnic minorities. In 1967, anti-Communist South Vietnam was a caldron of overlapping rivalries, precipitating and reinforcing the political chaos consuming the country after President Ngo Dinh Diem’s 1963 assassination during a military coup.
But in the realm of high politics, it was the showdown between two rival generals, Nguyen Cao Ky and Nguyen Van Thieu, that loomed largest for most political observers. Both men were young and ambitious, and both were shrewd navigators of the internecine schemes and coups plaguing South Vietnam’s ruling military.… Seguir leyendo »