[Marxism] re: Sino-Soviet Split and Chinese Invasion of Vietnam

ethan young ethanyoung at earthlink.net
Tue May 31 19:36:11 MDT 2005

Calvin asks:
 >I can see that Vietnam's close ties to 
the USSR seem to have irked China (which backed Pol Pot's forces along the 
Vietnamese-Cambodian border up until the 1980s); but why?! Was China more 
concerned to oust the USSR from the world stage (to further the cause of the 
'Third World'?!) than encouraging solidarity between the Vietnamese and 
Cambodian victims of US imperialism?
Yes. But that solidarity was already destroyed in China's view when the Viets went into Cambodia and drove the Khmer Rouge from power. China feared the USSR enough to ally with the US before the end of the war, and as Vietnam's leadership forsook its earlier position of balance between Khruschev and Mao in favor of stronger ties to the Sovs, the Chinese backedPol Pot's demented empty-the-cities strategy. Feeling like a walnut in theChina-Cambodia nutcracker, Vietnam made its move to Phnomh Penh. Now China was the nut between the Soviets and a reunified Vietnam with hegemony [as thePRC loved to say] in Indochina. In the same immediate postwar period, Hanoi cracked down on the prosperous Han minority in Vietnam, whom they charged with trying to destablize the country out of loyalty to Mother China. This was the setting in which China [as they put it, to 'teach them alesson'] attacked Vietnam.> Why did Pol Pot fight against the 
Vietnamese? What were his reasons for doing so, or was he merely a corrupt 
puppet of US imperialism by the early 1980s?Pol Pot, more directly influenced by Mao than were the Comintern-trainedVietnamese party leaders, shared China's distrust of Hanoi.Even more, traditional Cambodian-Viet enmity probably played a role;historically, Khmers felt Viets lorded it over them as Viets felt the same way about the Chinese Han majority. Old nationalist habits die hard, especiallywhen both leaders and masses are exhausted from cataclysmic struggles.Pol Pot was not a puppet but was, objectively, a pawn of the US as it tried to isolate postwar Vietnam. Deng was a partner.ethan young

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