Alliance politics between comrades : the dynamics of Soviet-Vietnamese relations

by Robert C. Horn

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This report examines the nature of the relationship between the Soviet Union and Vietnam within the framework of the political and military polarization that has taken place in Southeast Asia since 1978. It discusses the historical background of Soviet-Vietnamese relations and investigates the critical strands of the contemporary relationship. Five areas are delineated: (1) China's role in bringing Hanoi and Moscow together in the beginning, and more recently as a divisive force; (2) the extent and significance of Soviet economic and technical assistance to Vietnam; (3) the nature and extent of Soviet military assistance; (4) converging and diverging policy approaches toward Indochina; and (5) regional and global perspectives important to one or both of the leaderships. The author suggests that for both countries, the gains from their relationship outweigh the costs. In the long run, differences in their positions and outlooks will produce a slow trend toward a less intimate relationship. In the near and medium term, however, mutual interests and needs will foster a close relationship.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation joint report soviet series. The joint report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1988 to 1993 that included documents published jointly with other organizations, which transmitted major research findings and final research.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.