BROTHER ENEMY: The War After the War by Nayan Chanda

BROTHER ENEMY: The War After the War

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A firsthand report on the history of Indochina since the fall of Saigon in 1975. Chanda, Washington bureau chief for the Far Eastern Economic Review, displays a tinge of irony throughout these pages, as he demonstrates how, though the US expected a blood bath in Vietnam following a Communist victory, in actuality, Vietnam soon became isolated among nations of the area, hated by both Cambodia (with whom it has been fighting a war for almost 10 years) and China, which sees Vietnam as ""the Prussia of Asia."" So desperate did Vietnam become that by 1977, it frantically sought diplomatic relations with Washington. Meanwhile, China continued to tighten the screws on Vietnam. As one State Department official put it, ""The Chinese are not giving Vietnam one or two lessons; they are administering an entire curriculum."" Chanda sees the area fraught with varying degrees of misunderstanding. Vietnam must, he says, accept China's regional interest, just as China must accept Vietnam's security interests in Cambodia. And speaking of Cambodia, that state's traditional role as buffer state in the region is no longer possible, so weak has it become following Poi Pot's excesses. As this region is freshly reexamined, Brother Enemy will offer a fine guide to its power politics. In doing that, it cedes the more personal aspects of Indochina's tragedy to books such as Elizabeth Becker's recent When the War Was Over (p. 1169). A solid recap, nevertheless.

Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 1986
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich