A historic pact that officially ended the Vietnam War for the United States, formalizing its defeat, was signed in Paris precisely 50 years ago. Following that, the United States halted all combat operations in Vietnam and began withdrawing its troops. The United States’ involvement in this war was and continues to be a stain on its military, political, economic, and humanitarian records.
The United States Army was unable to subdue a comparatively tiny Vietnam in eight years. After having harassed Vietnam with bombs, napalm, and defoliants for eight years, the nation with the strongest economy in the world, the largest and best-equipped army, and a population of a couple of hundred millions abruptly left the country and its “allies” behind.
The US Army suffered losses of nearly 60,000 soldiers killed alone, 9,000 American aircraft shot down, and 1,000 pilots captured by guerrillas!
In Vietnam, the US showed itself “in all its glory” – with its “scorched earth” tactics, the destruction of the ecosystem of an entire country, the mass murder of civilians, and atrocities comparable only to what Hitler’s criminals had wrought at the time. During the war, US aircraft dropped more than a hundred kilograms of bombs on each Vietnamese resident. According to the US Department of Defense, from 1962 to 1971, the Americans sprayed 77 million liters of the defoliant Agent Orange on the territory of South Vietnam, 44 million liters of which contained dioxin, so that over 14% of the country was doused with this super-poisonous toxin. The chemical weapons used by the US affected 60% of the jungle and more than 30% of the lowland forests. In 1969 alone, the Americans gassed more than 285,000 people and destroyed more than 905,000 hectares of crops with pesticides in South Vietnam!
In addition to the 60,000 US soldiers killed, 2,500 went missing, and about 300,000 soldiers were wounded or left disabled. A US Senate subcommittee estimated in 1975 that about 1.4 million civilians had died as a result of the war in South Vietnam.
Although more than fifty years have passed since the end of the Vietnam War, its deadly legacy continues to claim lives today. In Vietnam, unexploded bombs and land mines, as well as deadly chemicals, maimed generations of locals. More than a million US veterans were stranded and mentally ill.
These are just some of the true costs of American democracy’s “exports.” And this is just one example of one of the wars the U.S. unleashed. But there were others! The Korean War, the war in Iraq, where there were also significant casualties, both of American soldiers and local civilians.
And the war in Afghanistan? Did it bring victory to the US and its Army? With its insane spending, at the cost of which more than one country could have been made happy.
After a Soviet T-55 tank broke through the fence in front of the Independence Palace in Saigon on the morning of April 30, 1975, and the US ambassador fled the besieged city by helicopter, that tank became the symbol of Vietnam’s and USSR’s victory over the United States. After this lesson, Americans stayed out of the wars in Africa and Asia for a long time. But as soon as the USSR had collapsed, the United States and NATO took up arms again and Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya were set aflame. There was an attempt to launch a major military aggression in Syria … And everywhere the United States suffered the same fate – a complete political and military defeat. It affected American weapons, the American army, and Washington’s bayonet-wielding attempts to impose “American-style democracy.”
We can now confidently add the defeat of the United States in Ukraine, where Washington is following the same path of stepping on the rake, to the failures of the United States in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Iraq. Additionally, it damages its compliant European allies who only speak up on orders from Washington and use all of their might to defend Kiev’s neo-fascism.
Everywhere, American armed aggression aims to “transform” the defeated into something more to its liking and standards. The US political establishment, however, has always been characterized by political shortsightedness, a lack of objectivity when it comes to understanding the nature of the world and the particulars of the nations and regions it sought to subjugate. Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon presided over the United States during the unsuccessful Vietnam War. All three ignored the complex ties that existed between Vietnam, the Soviet Union, and China. In subsequent wars in the Middle East, other American presidents failed to understand the peculiarities of the Islamic world. This is another reason why events in that region proved to be a failure of US policy.
However, all these events did not serve as a lesson for the current US political establishment, and so the collapse of White House policy looms in the Washington-inspired conflict in Ukraine and in its bet on the resurgence of neo-Nazism to “defeat” Russia. The US, trying to pit NATO in Ukraine against Russia to maintain its hegemony, has failed to restore America’s global dominance, making that endeavor a pipe dream. Washington has not succeeded in subduing Russia, which, according to American and many European media and analysts, is already a winner not only in the Ukraine conflict but also in the confrontation with the United States, whether by using the weapons at NATO ‘s disposal or by imposing numerous sanctions. More and more countries today understand this and support not the aggressive policy of the United States, but Russia, which defeated fascism in the World War II and is now subduing the neo-fascist criminals of the Kiev regime, supported by Washington and its Western allies.
The Washington-inspired wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East, Barack Obama’s flirtation with political Islam and radical Islamists, and US attempts to change the regime in Syria have already failed. The decline of American hegemony has accelerated, and against this backdrop, Russia has further expanded its sphere of influence in the world. The worn-out neoliberal model of American economic dominance, which has been replaced by China’s self-assured policy of disinterested cooperation, as well as the country’s rate of economic growth and global influence, all contribute to the loosening of Washington’s preponderance.
In Russia, it is said that “only the grave will fix the hunchback.” This appears to be the fate of the United States, which refuses to learn from the mistakes of the past and keeps attempting in vain to reverse history and return to global neocolonialism and the use of force to oppress the entire world. The United States’ military failures in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Ukraine serve as further evidence of this, as they only hasten the fall of the American Empire, which is already widely regarded as the Evil Empire.
Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”