William Thompson, who teaches public administration at UNLV. makes a provocative and fairly persuasive case that insofar as "we wanted to demonstrate the viability of free enterprise capitalism in competition with state ownership of commerce," the US. -- or at least free enterprise -- won the war. He recently visited his son, who is a teacher at the South Saigon International School and noticed almost nothing but vibrant capitalism going on. After the communist takeover of the South, which did lead to great loss of life and liberty -- and to the enrichment of the cultural landscape of Orange County as an unintended byproduct -- and a fair amount of warring, communist ideology did what people predicted. It led to economic stagnation, shortages and spreading poverty. So the leaders, while still calling themselves communist, started to permit more freedoms, to recognize private property. Now they havebustling markets, capital investment, manuifacturing and export development.
This squares with what my former colleagues Steve Greenhut and Mike Shelton found when they visited Vietnam five years ago or so. The Communist Party still rules, but the ideology is generally capitalist. So who won the war? Or perhaps more pertinent, wouldn't this development have come on more quickly if we hadn't prolonged the war or maybe not fought it at all?