Indochina Without AmericansIssue: Fall 1999
Stephen J. Morris, Why Vietnam Invaded Cambodia: Political Culture and the Causes of War (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999)
Americans, in their narcissistic way, think of the Indochina conflict as coterminous with their own experience. Thus, the Pentagon Papers (and newly emerging Nixon administration documents) provide the source material for a cottage industry analyzing American decision-making during the Vietnam years, American military strategy in Southeast Asia, and the dilemmas of America's role in the world. Much of this is useful. But it is strange how little interest there is in the idea that other players in that drama--Hanoi, Beijing, Moscow--made calculations and miscalculations of their own, and that there is a larger story here.