Hanoi, as might be imagined, was jubilant, with crowds thronging the streets. After years of struggle they had won on the battlefield what they had failed to win at the negotiating table.
"You know you never beat us on the battlefield," I said to Colonel Tu, my NVA counterpart.
"That may be so," he said, "but it is also irrelevant."
While on the US home front
What are the lessons learned? None apparently as some on the left, unlike Neo-Neocon, have shifted support of communism to that of islamofascism.
Self loathing and fears.
During the 1980s the cause of Third World totalitarian revolutions was transposed from Vietnam to El Salvador and Nicaragua. The congressional lobbying tactics learned during the Vietnam War were reapplied by the American left, to try to ensure communist victories in Central America. But greater world events conspired to defeat the "Sandalistas." The collapse of the Soviet Union pulled the military and economic rug out from under their friends. Democracy prevailed and the communists lost freely contested elections they wished to avoid.
Yet the bizarre moral universe of the radical left is revealed in the manner in which most of them soon turned against the governments of China, and more recently Vietnam, after the introduction of market mechanisms into their economies and tolerance of greater social freedom. In reforming their societies these ruling Asian communist parties were retreating from totalitarian to authoritarian rule -- relatively speaking, making their nations more civilized. But, in the eyes of the Western left, these ruling parties had "betrayed" the revolution.
In the Middle East the task for the left of finding a political cause to serve has been made more difficult by the weakness of communism and the ostensibly religious nature of so much anti-American politics. Radical leftists prefer their utopian and messianic totalitarian movements to have a secular cast. Prosperous and democratic Israel today is the main enemy, as it was even before the expansionist settlement movement evolved. That is why the cause of some Palestinian factions has been embraced. But the bottom line for the radical left everywhere is the undermining of American global power, and undermining rule by America's friends. If local people have to live under repressive movements or regimes as a consequence, such as the Baathists tyrannies in Iraq or Syria, this can always be rationalized or justified.