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Changing Worlds: Vietnam's Transition from Cold War to Globalization
     

Changing Worlds: Vietnam's Transition from Cold War to Globalization

by David W.P. Elliott
 

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For the most of the twentieth century, the country of Vietnam has served as a symbol of the bipolar system of rival ideological blocs that characterized the Cold War. As the conflict over communism waned in the 1980s, Vietnam faced the tough task of remaking itself as nation in the eyes of its people and of the world. In Changing Worlds, David W.P. Elliot

Overview


For the most of the twentieth century, the country of Vietnam has served as a symbol of the bipolar system of rival ideological blocs that characterized the Cold War. As the conflict over communism waned in the 1980s, Vietnam faced the tough task of remaking itself as nation in the eyes of its people and of the world. In Changing Worlds, David W.P. Elliot, a participant in the Aspen Institute's U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue who has spent the past forty years working closely with the people and government of Vietnam, chronicles the evolution of the Vietnamese state as we know it today. With the collapse of communist regimes in Europe, Vietnam witnessed the dissolution of the cornerstone of its policies toward the outside world. Fearing that a full commitment to deep integration in a globalizing world would lead to the collapse of their own current political system, the Vietnamese political elite made slow, cautious steps to involvement with the larger international community. By the year 2000, however, Vietnam had "taken the plunge" and opted for greater participation in the global economic system, leading to its membership in the World Trade Organization in 2006.

Elliott illustrates that the politicians who took a limited approach to international involvement ultimately had condemned Vietnam to a permanent state of underdevelopment. It is only at the turn of the 21st century when the Vietnamese state began to relax its policies toward the international community that the nation began to experience a period of revitalization. Remarkably, these changes have happened without Vietnam losing its unique political identity as many had expected. It remains an authoritarian state, but offers far more breathing space to its citizens than in pre-reform era. Far from leading the nation to be absorbed into a Western-inspired development model, globalization has led to a complex domestic diversification and localization that has reinforced Vietnam's distinctive identity rather than obliterating it. The culmination of decades of research and cultural exchange, Changing Worlds documents the unique story of the birth of a nation amidst the challenges of the post-Cold War era.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Essential reading to understand why and how Vietnam's political elite-forged by revolution, war, and Marxist ideology-altered their thinking and policies to make the dramatic shift to a market economy. An important book."—Richard A. Hunt, author of Pacification: The American Struggle for Vietnam's Hearts and Minds

"Changing Worlds is a profound and eloquently written account of changes in Vietnamese elite thinking that led them to abandon communist ideology and 'take the plunge' into the currents of globalization. This work is enhanced by Elliott's command of Vietnamese sources."—Carlyle A. Thayer, Emeritus Professor, The University of New South Wales, Canberra.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195383348
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
09/03/2012
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

David W. P. Elliott is H. Russell Smith Professor of Government and International Relations at Pomona College. Upon completion of a year of Vietnamese language training at the Defense Language Institute, Elliott served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1963-65. In 1965, he joined the Rand Corporation, and supervised part of its "Viet Cong Motivation and Morale Study" in Dinh Tuong province in the Mekong Delta until the end of 1967. During the course of graduate study at Cornell University, he returned to Vietnam to do research in 1971-72 and has returned to Vietnam nine times in the post 1975 period to do research, attend conferences, and participate in educational exchanges. Elliott was a participant in the U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue sponsored by the Aspen Institute and organized by former Senator Dick Clark in the 1980s and early 1990s and accompanied Senator Clark to Vietnam in 1991 for meetings with leading Vietnamese figures.

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