Vietnam and Laos: The Special Relationship,
DEPARTMENT OF STATE WASHINGTON DC OFFICE OF EXTERNAL RESEARCH
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During the past forty years, the communist leaders of Vietnam and Laos have developed intimate ties. They served together in the revolutionary struggle against the French colonial regime. With the defeat and departure of the French, their joint struggle turned to ridding their countries of the U.S. presence and the regimes which it supported. During this joint effort, they developed what both officially refer to as a special relationship. As the more powerful member of this relationship, Vietnam has made a significant imprint upon the Lao Communist movement. The Vietnamese communists have helped to recruit the Lao leadership, shape its ideology, develop its military forces, and organize its government. It is not by chance that the Vietnamese find the current regime in Laos to be a politically reliable junior partner. It is a premise of this paper that the Vietnamese leaders are pleased with their relationship with Laos and they have this Lao model in mind as they must make important adjustments for the Cambodian context. They realize that the cultural and historical context within Cambodia is much different from that of Laos, that the Cambodian national animosity toward Vietnam is far deeper and much less easily managed.
- Government and Political Science