This essay, written in 1968, views U.S. involvement in terms of Vietnamese history. The past is examined through traditions and forces that have remained fairly constant. Much of that happening in Vietnam is a continuation of historical traditions and ancient conflicts, although these are now dressed in the language of rival ideologies and viewed in the perspective of global political struggles. Recent events recall historical forces and battles discussed in this paper. They suggest, if not certain inevitability, at least persistent patterns in the conflicts of Southeast Asia. The author contrasts the prevailing influence of China with Vietnamese resistance to foreign rule, and focuses on Vietnam's incessant territorial expansion, internal dissidence, and Southern resistance to Northern domination.
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