Geopolitics > Ideology

George Friedman places recent US-Vietnam engagement within the history of balance-of-power diplomacy going back to the 1960s, in order to make a simple but compelling point. US relations with the USSR, China, and Vietnam have been only trivially inflected by ideological differences:

… look at the whole story and see how little ideology matters. The entire story is one of three Marxist regimes hostile to each other, and a Western capitalist regime using that hostility to balance the power. […] From the point of view of geopolitical analysis, the unimportance of ideology in all that happened is clear. The importance of the nation-state, regardless of its official ideology is equally clear. None of these four nations behaved as their ideology demanded. All behaved as their national interest did. […] This is why I find geopolitics an enormously more important method for understanding the world than beliefs and principles. These may matter in personal life. But the Marxism that defined Ho Chi Minh, Mao Zedong and Leonid Brezhnev ā€“ and they were very much believers ā€“ could not resist geopolitical imperatives. And therefore, the president of the United States went to a Marxist country and set the stage for arming it. This should not surprise us.

2 thoughts on “Geopolitics > Ideology

  1. It seems reasonable that government categorization of regimes based on professed principles and beliefs are equivalent to hailing David Bowie as a successful ‘pop’ artist? Is there an Objectivist measure of Marxism estimated from actual ownership of the means of ‘service’ (‘production’ is so last-century !) in various territories?

    Vietnam has a significant capital investment in the U.S. (2010 distribution of Vietnamese Americans by area: 64% CA, 26% TX, 10% DMV). My experience, working in DMV to produce PFEIs, in an extremely integrated shop (myself being the only white male among 16 staff, otherwise almost evenly split between Asian and African-American – many actually born in Africa ; ) is that Vietnamese knowledge workers follow the same Rule of 3 as all ethnic groups: 1/3 genius, 1/3 competent, 1/3 mediocre or worse. The point: Obama is ‘arming’ Vietnam with potential emigrants from the U.S. There’s no reason that the evolution of politix in Vietnam need follow China’s Neo-Confucian models. Maybe the wormhole gateway could shift from Shanghai to Hanoi? Cuc Phuong National Park and cat-poop coffee – what a trip!

    Best, Mark (Asian travels limited to Korea and Philippines, decades ago)

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