Indochina in North Vietnamese Strategy

by Melvin Gurtov


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Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam have been recognized as an interdependent front by Communist strategists for 19 years. Vietnamese Communists have been involved in Indochinese affairs for approximately 40 years. Intensified Communist activities in Laos and Cambodia were probably related to the 1968 Tet offensive. The existence of compliant governing regimes in the two countries has been a continuing Communist concern. In view of the likelihood of continued American aid, North Vietnamese policy will remain guided by strategic advantage, the security of Communist borders in Indochina, and political compatibility with the Indochinese governments. In Cambodia, the Communists will continue to pressure the pro-U.S. government; Hanoi may offer to deal only when the Communist movement is strong, as in Laos, and circumstances in South Vietnam are favorable. At present, North Vietnam seems to prefer a responsive coalition government to a Communist regime whose claims to neutrality and independence would lack international and domestic credibility.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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