Vietnam has often had to take the sidecar (or backseat or completely outside and on foot if we’re running with the ‘vehicle metaphor’) when it comes to international politics. That certainly wasn’t the case in the 1950’s during the Vietnam War. Humorously enough (if you adopt a very bleak sense of humor) that war is technically considered a ‘conflict’ and not a war by military definition standards. Personally, I think most of the (nearly) seven billion people on the planet would call say that violent conflict where hundreds of thousands of lives are lost should most definitely be called a war. But that’s just my opinion I suppose.
Here’s a nice photo of the Vietnamese flag, waving quite majestically beneath a beautiful clear sky. I like flags for their ability to inspire nationalism and pride in people, but sadly, many flags are often associated with war, conflict, and imperialism. © Maurice Koop.
It’s a harsh reality of the world we live in that smaller developing nations with weaker economies have often been used in the proxy wars during the Cold War era. Thankfully at least for Vietnam’s sake, though the scars from the war will certainly never be forgotten, the people have proven their fortitude and resilience, persevering and finding happiness in life and celebrating their own culture despite all the atrocities of the past.
Your eyes are not deceiving you. Those are five hundred thousand Vietnamese dong bills. I can’t be certain of their value while inside of Vietnam, but if you take a moment to check out any currency converter, you’ll quickly notice that 500,000 Vietnamese dongs are worth just over $23.00 American dollars… © Jerick Parrone.
As you can see from the photo and caption above, the economy in Vietnam has definitely not been flourishing, and especially not after the war that shook the third world countries only a few short generations ago. One would hope that in the future, the United Nations might be willing to step in and stop lengthy wars before they cause any more unnecessary damage. But more importantly than that, preventing military conflicts in the first place and providing economic and medical relief especially. With the current uneasy international climate around nearby North Korea and China, one would hope that Vietnam would be left out of any possible conflicts, but considering that all three nations are Communist in their political ideology, that possibility is highly unlikely. The preferable outcome of course would be for a lasting peace, regardless of any political or religious ideologies.
Here’s a somewhat recent photo of North Korea’s leader (or dictator, depending on who you’re talking to), Kim Jong Un. Hopefully he won’t let his power corrupt him and perform any hasty violent actions that would jeopardize innocent lives. © Marcel Oosterwijk.