Global Revolutionary Currents, the Vietnamese Revolution, and the Origins of the American War
This paper considers the impact of key events in the Third World (Africa, Asia, and Latin America) on Vietnamese communist strategic thinking during the early 1960s. Committed as they were to the reunification of their state, Hanoi leaders were devoted internationalists at heart who conditioned their domestic and foreign policies on the basis of global 'currents' and the worldwide 'balance of forces.' Socialist internationalism, 'world revolution,' and 'Third Worldism' (tiermondisme) were not mere catch phrases to them; they were noble causes they intended to serve and support. Contrary to popular belief, Hanoi's communist leadership never thought strictly in terms of its own interests narrowly defined. As a proud member of the socialist camp, it also sought to ingratiate itself with other circles to gain wider legitimacy and support for its agenda. To that end, it championed national liberation causes throughout the world, becoming over time one of the loudest and most recognizable voices advocating on behalf of 'oppressed' masses everywhere.