''A Route for the Enemy To Escape,'' — Hanoi's View of the Ceasefire

by Brian Michael Jenkins

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Abstract

Although Hanoi views American troop withdrawal as a "victory" for South Vietnam, and the Paris accords as an "escape route" for the Americans, "victory" is not considered conterminous with the end of struggle: reunification of North and South, and the imposition of socialism countrywide, are yet to come. Long-range objectives remain fixed, but can be postponed; plans are flexible enough to explain setbacks and allow policy shifts. While insecurity and heavy defense burdens plague South Vietnam, North Vietnam is emphasizing reconstruction and economic development, growing stronger, hoping to emerge ultimately as Indochina's most powerful nation. Of Hanoi's military buildup in the field, two of many interpretations are: (1) the hawks may be persuing their own course of action, with or without government sanction; (2) contradictory courses may indicate compromise among Hanoi's leaders. Either way, the struggle is not over.

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