This came up on my feed with the following comment:
Ho Chi Minh was inspired by the founding fathers? How else can this man disrespect military and veterans?
The truth was, Ho Chi Minh indeed looked towards the Founding Fathers - and this has nothing to do with disrespecting veterans (I should know, I’m an Iraq war veteran). It has everything to do with appreciating history and identifying leaders who stand by freedom, regardless of ideology.
Ho Chi Minh (HCM) as a leader of a Vietnamese movement, while being a communist, was first and foremost a nationalist. He cooperated and negotiated with non-communists often to achieve independence for the Vietnamese people from French colonizers.
Fresh from victory in Europe and against the Japanese after WWII, the United States stood for liberating oppressed people. It was thus only natural that HCM looked to the United States so Vietnam could come out from under the French, a colonial power not too unlike the British crown.
In fact, HCM often wrote to the United States, asking for help against the French, hoping to invoke the Founding Fathers to remind America what it stood for.
While communist, he was also pragmatic, and was willing to forsake a part of his ideology to win the protection of the US: Special trade zones for US exports, military bases and preferred trade agreements. FDR tacitly approved of HCM because he recognized Vietnam as a new country liberating itself from foreign oppression.
Nonetheless, despite a narrative that offered many bridges between the United States and Vietnam, America would eventually fight a protracted war that it could never have won (no war against an indigenous population looking for independence can be well-sustained). Just three decades after the war, relations between the countries are completely normalized as if a war had never happened.
Is the comparison between HCM and Jefferson valid? Perhaps not. One can easily say that Jefferson is not known for a very brutal revolution and extermination of his own people on a wide scale. Yet, both believed in the revolution fired up by the common folk and national independence.
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