[FOUNTAIN]Will the Iraq conflict be the new Vietnam?“Do you know how a tiger catches an elephant? The tiger quietly hides in the woods, watching the elephant. When the night comes, the tiger runs out of the woods, catches its prey and tears it. This is what would happen if there is an all-out war between Vietnam and France,” said Ho Chi Minh, the founder and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, in an interview with the New York Times in the summer of 1946.
He said the story of the tiger and the elephant shows how wars would go in Indochina. In other words, Vietnam would take a three-step war strategy. The first step of the strategy is focusing on defense and building up power ― strength. Second is attacking the enemy’s weaknesses. Last is all-out war.
Clearly, Mr. Ho proved it was true in the wars with France and the United States. In 1954 Vietnamese guerrillas defeated the French army in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. The U.S army, which landed in Vietnam after the French withdrawal, lost the war after suffering from guerrilla warfare for nearly 20 years.
A unique revolutionary of the 20th century, Mr. Ho’s biggest concern was the survival of the fatherland. Therefore, Communist party leaders in Moscow and Beijing sometimes doubted whether he was a true Marxist. Historian William J. Duiker wrote in Mr. Ho’s biography that he was a nationalist and a communist at the same time. He was a person who did whatever possible in his own way and tried to adjust ideals to the reality. He was also a pragmatist. The best choice for Mr. Ho could often be the enemy of the good. Even his most stubborn adversary, former U.S. President Lyndon Johnson often said if the two could have met privately, they could have reached an agreement. Mr. Duiker said that Mr. Ho was half Lenin and half Gandhi. It meant that the leader was a perfect strategist, talented organizer and a simple truth seeker. Thirty years ago on April 30, Saigon fell to the Communists. Today, it is Ho Chi Minh City. It The day marks the moment that the United States, which entered Vietnam to block the domino effect of the communism, was defeated for the first time in history. This happened six years after Mr. Ho’s death.
There are signs that Iraq, which the United States occupies under the slogan of the “war against terror,” could evolve into another Vietnam. Both the United States and Iraq might be studying Mr. Ho hard.
by Lee Se-jung
The writer is an editorial writer for the JoongAng Ilbo.