Tag: Indochina


1975. Vietnam. Laos. Cambodia. (China). USA

2010. Iraq. Iran. Afghanistan. Pakistan. Yemen?. (Russia). USA

What tangled webs.


I want to ask / urge you dharma bums to go read this 2007 piece I came cross the other day and help me get a handle on this thing that has been lurking and teasing in my mind. This stuff is really out of my league and terribly complex, but … shudder… somebody needs to connect the dots. Are there parallels to be drawn?  This is really bugging me. I’m sorry I can’t explain better, it’s shadows and light still.

EDIT: Consider this an open invitation to venture in to comments below and help me learn and understand.

Obama’s “la mission civilisatrice”


In a fascinating article, Thomas Fuller an International Herald Tribune reporter, writes of Antoine Fayard, his maternal great-grandfather and a French colonial engineer “who built and designed roads, dams and canals across colonial Indochina.”

Fuller writes of his journey through Laos and Vietnam where he visited the locations his great-grandfather had been in the 1900s.

I knew where Fayard had traveled because our family had preserved his letters to his mother, photographs he took and a large and minutely detailed, hand-drawn silk map of what is now southern Laos.

Since reading Fuller’s article, “100 Years on, Tracing an Engineer’s Legacy“, I’ve mulled over the idea that maybe Americans have another lesson to learn from European colonialism when it comes to President Barack Obama’s ‘new’ strategy for Afghanistan.

Lessons from history are not always obvious. While Afghanistan is not Vietnam, I found some interesting parallels in the “civilian surge” part of Obama’s strategy with the efforts of French colonialists.