MT VOID 03/30/01 (Vol. 19, Number 39)

MT VOID 03/30/01 (Vol. 19, Number 39)

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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
Club Notice - 03/30/01 -- Vol. 19, No. 39

Table of Contents

Outside events: The Science Fiction Association of Bergen County meets on the second Saturday of every month in Upper Saddle River; call 201-447-3652 for details.

Chair/Librarian: Mark Leeper, 732-817-5619,
Factotum: Evelyn Leeper, 732-332-6218,
Distinguished Heinlein Apologist: Rob Mitchell,
HO Chair Emeritus: John Jetzt,
HO Librarian Emeritus: Nick Sauer,
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All material copyright by author unless otherwise noted.


Our vacation this year was to see Vietnam. I wanted to get down my impressions of the country and why we are going before we go. This will be a short editorial this week, but I think it is a little more dense in thought. It will probably be the opening paragraphs of my trip log.

It is interesting that that going to Vietnam gets the reaction from people that it does. Americans have a sort of odd feeling toward the Vietnamese people that we have toward nobody else. Not all of us do, but some of us. After all we were embroiled in a long and painful war in Vietnam and militarily we lost, even if politically we won. And there is a sort of a grudge. If I said we were going to visit Germany and Austria there would not be the same reaction. Even among fellow Jews. Jews really lost a one-sided war in Germany and Austria. But there no longer is the feeling that you are dealing with a former enemy in those countries. Not among most people. But then we get a lot of news from those countries. And we can see that they have changed. We don't get much news from Vietnam so our images of Vietnam come from the 60s. They come from that horrible war. And we think of the whole country as just a 1960s North Vietnam that is now twice as big. And there are certainly forces in Vietnam that want that to be what the country was. But if I read my World Press Review, that is not what is happening in Vietnam these days. Politically the war goes on and still they lost the war back in the 1980s. They pay lip service to socialism these days, but they have to survive in a Free Enterprise world. When it was just the French or the Americans they were fighting, they could use guerrilla warfare, much the same warfare Americans used to defeat the British. And they successfully defeated the enemy that way. But killing Free Enterprise is a different matter. Today there is a Vietnamese stock exchange. It has only four stocks for now, but its mere existence indicates who won the war politically.

There are nearly 80,000,000 people in Vietnam and about half were born after the war. The young people want prosperity, money, careers. The Communist Party finds itself outnumbered and in trouble. The symbols that inspired people during the war do not convince the young that Socialism is noble. That is the great tragedy of the Vietnam War. It is not that we lost so many lives. Americans lost roughly the same number of lives in three days of fighting at Gettysburg. But we just could not see that militarily we could not possibly win and politically we could not possibly lose. If we had walked away in the first days Vietnam would in all probability have gone the same way. There is supposed to be in July a trade agreement with the United States and things will change quickly in Vietnam after that. That is one reason we want to go now. In 1982 we saw a China that was not there ten years later. The Vietnam we see in 2001 probably will not be there in 2011. [-mrl]

Quote of the Week:

    The central conservative truth is that it is culture,
    not politics, that determines the success of a society.
    The central liberal truth is that politics can change
    a culture and save it from itself.
                                   -- Daniel Patrick Moynihan