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South Vietnam

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I know it’s fun to read about the intrigues of politics, with its charismatic figures and seemingly missed opportunities, but in terms of South Vietnam and its 1967 battle between Thieu and Ky for control, I hesitate very strongly in believing a Ky victory would have significantly altered the fate of South Vietnam. Personality-based analysis such as this downplays the massive structural problems that anyone leading South Vietnam in the 1970s faced, which include the small fact that the vast majority of South Vietnamese wanted to be united under North Vietnamese leadership, that the 90 percent Buddhist population was never going to accept leadership from French-trained Catholic elites, and that the taint of American occupation and the active hostility to real democracy coming from people such as Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon meant that barring continuing American leadership in the Vietnamese civil war, a North Vietnamese victory was highly likely in the 1970s, regardless of which of two extremely flawed individuals led the nation that never should have existed after 1956 to begin with.

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