General Category > Military History

China and Vietnam Went to War in 1979 (China Is Still Upset over the Results)


The Sino-Vietnamese war started on February 17th, 1979 and ended March 16th, 1979

--- Quote ---China and Vietnam Went to War in 1979 (China Is Still Upset over the Results)

What do Beijing and Hanoi have to teach us?
by Matthew Pennekamp

Key Point: You have to have an obtainable objective before starting a war. It seems Beijing did not. Here is what happened and the lessons we can learn. 

Several years back, during then President Barack Obama’s recent barnstorm through East and Southeast Asia, he announced in a joint press conference with his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang that the embargo on weapon sales to Vietnam was to be lifted. Though the White House had hitherto reassured human-rights watchers that any negation of this Cold War–era policy would be directly tethered to Hanoi’s record of improvement on issues of freedom of conscience (admittedly described by Obama as “modest”), what ended up proving more important in the eyes of Washington officialdom was what Harold Macmillan once described as the primary determining factor in politics: “Events, dear boy, events!”
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For Obama, the event foremost in mind is the frightening potential for a hollowing-out of the ambitious Pivot to Asia he christened seven and a half years ago. While the president has allowed his foreign-policy focus to be distracted by the Middle Eastern maelstrom as well as a revanchist Russia, he is not entirely to blame; indeed, both the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees have done nothing to massage Pacific Rim interests. Despite much of the language of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) having been crafted and negotiated in Secretary Hillary Clinton’s State Department, Candidate Clinton, sensing a rising gale coming in from her left, wrenched her campaign’s tiller sharply to port, tacking with the wind of Bernie Sanders’ “Revolution.” She survived the tempest, but her ability to swing back toward a pro-TPP position is effectively nil—to paraphrase yet another British prime minister, Winston Churchill, politicians can easily rat; it’s the re-ratting that comes far harder. And of course, Donald Trump’s rhetoric regarding the Japanese and South Korean alliances has caused its share of tremors.

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