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Arnold Offner rejects the idea of "Northern aggression against the South," and adds: >Thus I think that one might say that the U.S. really brought on the >post-1956 war for control of Vietnam, as well as whatever consequences one >believes flowed from that war, although not all consequences are >"inevitable" given that there are always opportunists about who manage to >take advantage of a situation. I suppose I will risk additional charges of being simplistic, but when one state attacks another in an effort to institute a revolutionary change in its government in the name of an ideological project, that looks like aggression to me. I take Prof. Offner's point about the thwarting of elections. But it is hard to imagine that the North's leaders, because of their ideological fixations, were ever going to allow the South (or neighboring nations, for that matter) to live in peace as long as their socioeconomic systems were different from their own. It was an option they would have had to reject as a matter of first principles. As Bui Tin wrote in his memoirs: "The CPV leaders always did their best to hide the ideology that animated the Vietnam War. They did everything they could to conceal the class nature of the war, the proletarian dictatorship dogma behind it, and the regime's totalitarianism....The internationalist duty that the CPV arrogates to itself has always been to communize first the whole Indochinese peninsula and then the rest of Southeast Asia."  I can hear now the immediate objection that this is merely one Vietnamese defector singing songs his new hosts want to hear. The problem is that it accords well with so much of what we know Hanoi's leaders said privately in their conversations with the Chinese. When a nation animated by this sort of expansionist revolutionary ideology attacks another, I find it hard to see why anyone would quibble about whether it constitutes "aggression." Tom Nichols Naval War College The opinions are those of the author and not of any agency of the U.S. government.  Bui Tin, From Enemy to Friend, pp. 10-11.