Like the Iraqi police in the previous post, the South Vietnamese army similarly was poorly motivated and relied on the US Army to do their fighting for them. Apparently they felt little or no allegiance to the South Vietnamese state, for reasons of which we will discuss below. Although some ARVN soldiers fought well, many were lousy fighters who either would not advance on the enemy or would cut and run as soon as fighting broke out. They did not seem to have much loyalty to the South Vietnamese state. And sure enough, soon after the US pulled out, ARVN was rapidly defeated by a highly motivated NVA from North Vietnam along with whatever was left of the Viet Cong after Tet in 1968 and the Phoenix Program after that. Supporters of the US war accuse North Vietnam of invading and interfering in the war, as if North and South Vietnam were valid states. Really there is just one country – Vietnam. The north was trying to reunify the country and had nationalism on its side. The South was corrupt, a regime of landlords and traitors who had previously worked for the French colonials and now worked for the US invaders who more or less colonized Vietnam after the French left. A lot of Left revolutions in the 3rd World have been driven more by the land question than anything else. A land reform is no big deal. You get paid for your land. But many states put it off forever and end up with a FARC, a Chavez, a Morales, an FMLN, Sandinistas, an NPA or a Viet Cong. There’s no putting off the land question. Until you deal with it, your nation will be in continuous turmoil.
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