Viet Cong Memoir Book Review


Viet Cong Memoir Book Review

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Viet Cong Memoir Book Review: FREE EXCERPT

In many ways recognition of the PRG was a message to the new administration that Moscow favored negotiations and a political settlement to the conflict, but would not betray its Vietnamese allies. In NLF circles, Soviet recognition solidified southern support for the diplomatic struggle. The NLF was never static on the issue of negotiations, and by 1969 powerful southerners were supporting this move. Nguyen Thi Binh heralded Moscow's favor as "the crucial turning point in our international strategy." Another long-time NLF diplomat later observed that "the summer of 1969 represented a dramatic change in fortune for those of us who had supported a political settlement to the war. With international support for the PRG growing daily, led by the Soviet Union, most of us believed that Nixon would have to negotiate peace because of severe international pressure." Nhan Dan, the official Lao Dong daily newspaper, editorialized that Soviet recognition of the PRG represented "the greatest embarrassment and setback" in Washington's plans to divide Viet Nam from its fraternal ally.

Also damaging to the Nixon administration was the support for the PRG offered by nonaligned nations. In mid-June, Cambodia, Algeria, Syria, Sudan, Mali, and Congo-Brazzaville officially recognized the PRG. Algeria and Syria elevated the NLF's missions to the embassy level, and Cambodia accepted the credentials of Nguyen Van Hieu, the former Front diplomat stationed in Phnom Penh. On June 16, President Gamal Abdel Nasser announced that Egypt had decided to recognize the PRG. Even India, a member of the International Control Commission in Viet Nam, considered recognition of the PRG. Two weeks before Nixon traveled to New Delhi, Foreign Minister Dinesh Singh told a group of Western reporters that his government favored a coalition government in South Viet Nam and that the PRG represented a move in that direction. Eventually India waffled and made a vague commitment to recognize the PRG when talks in Paris produced tangible results.

By the end of July, the PRG had scored a significant diplomatic victory over the United States.A quick settlement on American terms was all but impossible because the Soviet Union had supported Hanoi and the NLF in the face of Nixon's harsh threats. Even when the president made good on his promise to reescalate the war to a level never seen during the Johnson years, the PRG continued its diplomatic offensive. In a broadcast over Liberation Radio at the end of the month, the PRG announced plans to increase its recognition among important overseas Vietnamese.

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