The Vietnam success story

To anyone who lived through the Vietnam War, today’s Associated Press poll on Vietnamese attitudes toward their economy has to sting a little bit. The war ended 35 years ago Friday, when Saigon fell. Here in the United States, we still debate whether America could’ve “won” the war had it been waged differently, and whether the loss of 50,000 American lives — 1,100 of them from Minnesota — was worth it.

That’s not happening in Vietnam, the poll shows. Life is good, especially when compared to, say, ours, according to the Associated Press:

Under a single-party Communist government, the country has embraced market-oriented reforms and lifted tens of millions out of poverty.

Eighty-five percent said the economy is stronger than it was five years ago, and 87 percent said they expect it to be even stronger in another five years. Eighty-one percent said the country is moving in the right direction.

Their optimism stands in stark contrast to the widespread pessimism in the United States, where recent polls show many Americans believe their nation is on the wrong track.

Fifty-six percent of the people who responded to the survey said they rarely — if ever — think about the Vietnam War.

Back in St. Paul, someone is still thinking about it:


This fresh-flower wreathe provides the only indication that anyone has stopped by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial recently.

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