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Picking Up the Pieces
Vietnam’s Class War

Setting up an American-style university in Vietnam has got to be easier than winning a war, doesn’t it?

Appeared in: Volume 9, Number 3 | Published on: December 19, 2013
Roy J. Nirschel has been an educator in the United States for thirty years and is founding president of the American University of Vietnam.
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  • Vu Thi Phuong Anh

    Thanks for a thought-provoking piece. How are you faring now? I am really curious.

  • larryj8

    My wife and I visited Vietnam in 2011. Here is an almost exact quote from our guide (who spoke excellent English): “Follow reunification, we were a socialist country. Do you know what socialism is? It’s where if you work hard and someone else doesn’t, you both get the same thing. No one worked hard. The government changed the rules and now, if you work hard, you get to keep more of what you earn. Things are much better now.”
    While the Vietnamese government is communist, the people are some of the most capitalistic that I’ve ever seen. It seemed just about every house and building had a small stand or store to sell things.

  • pabarge

    I think Walter Russell Mead voted for Barack Obama. Did you?

  • Vietman Vet

    Using Google Maps, I tried to find the post where I was stationed in 1968-69. Today, its an industrial complex. A couple miles away is a golf club, Twin Doves.

  • Sid Tran

    The political system the brain dead Viet Cong set up in Vietnam is like a 100 pound weight tied to a swimmer. The ignoramuses in power don’t know any better. They are not motivated by any noble sentiments like the greater public good or sense of patriotism. They only exist to further the interests of a corrupt Communist party. They can’t even openly admit the stupidity of the ideology communism and live in denial about what their Communist party was responsible for. Commie thugs should make a rupture with the past. I doubt it since the political system the VC set up relies people with lowest common denominator, opportunists. It is very sad and disgusting what uncle Ho and his nephews and nieces did for Vietnam. One thing about the commies in Vietnam are consistent is that they made a lot mistakes and continue to do so. This is the result of a society with no introspection, reflection, accountability, and ownership for mistakes. Dumb and dumber is an apt description of VC rule!! LOL VC can only ape, mimic, copy from its ideological mentor, Red China. That’s how unimaginative and uncreative they are. A hundred years from now when generations of Vietnamese inside and outside Vietnam will look back at this period, they will conclude the consequences of bad leadership and rigidity cost Vietnam years and decades of development. Vietnam will never, ever be a NORMAL country as we know it in civilized countries until VC self serving political system becomes extinct. There is no ifs or buts about it.

  • Arch

    I spent 1971 and 1972 at DaNang flying the F4E. It was a frustrating experience.

    Frankie Fitzgerald in her book, Fire in the Lake, tells the story of a young American Lieutenant who arrives in Vietnam determined to “make a difference.” She tells him that when he leaves, not one thing he had done would remain. A year later, the young officer leaves. Nothing he has done survives. Hope you have better luck.

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