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Vietnam Averted

This is one of those AHs that seemed extremely possible to those in the front line, but less possible to the REMFs, who had political concerns to worry about.  It is known that Ho Cho Minh was (at least in 1944) an admirer of the US and he asked for US assistance, offering in exchange to fight the Japanese and perhaps their puppet Vichy forces.  The OSS agents were very keen on the deal, but Washington did not want to annoy the French, as the deal had included the US preventing the French from trying to regain their colony.  This mistake led to much bitterness directed against America, pushed Minh into communist arms and led directly to the Vietnamese War.

Letís us presume that the US has an injection of realpolik thinking, or possibly FDR continues his aversion to the European Empires.  Deciding that the Japanese remments need to be defeated while the Burma War is just beginning, FDR orders the US to supply Minh and accept his terms.

The French under DeGaulle would have had an absolute fit.  However, it is hard to see what they could have done about it.  The Vichy troops had been practically interned and disarmed by the Japanese by this point.  Even were they free, they were demoralised, they just wanted to go home.  France had almost no navy left, certainly not one capable of sending and supporting troops at that distance without US assistance.  The French will probably refuse to recognise IndoChinese independence and block their admission to the new UN.  They may also consider breaking their alliance, but that would be economic and political suicide, particularly if they had none of their undeserved trimmings of victory.

The US arms and trains the IndoChinese as the war nears its end.  The IndoChinese clear out the Japanese earlier than OTL, making the reconquest of Singapore and Burma easier.  Minh is encouraged to form a reasonably democratic government, in line with the US model, in hopes of preventing the IndoChinese mishmash from exploding or separating.  Truman would probably put Indochina into the Marshall Plan in exchange for Minh refusing to accept assistance from the USSR or communist china.

From this flow vast changes to the cold war.  Indochina is developed very quickly with US investment and advice, making it one of the earliest tigers on the Asian scene.  Instead of a major war and much bitterness, Indochinaís population grows rapidly, outracing Japanís economy while the Japanese are held down.  Indochina sends a few regiments to the Korean War and help hold the line against communism.

Absent of the Vietnamese bases, the USSR would probably court India more than OTL, exchanging weapons for bases.  This would probably push the US into developing Pakistan to the same level as Indochina.  This in turn would push reforms into Afghanistan, providing a trigger for WW3.  Pakistani success would probably lead to similar investment across the Muslim world, perhaps averting the Iranian revolution. 

The US remains confident longer.  National Service (conscription, the draft) stays longer.  Without the Vietnamese war, the leftists have less influence on US politics, keeping the US intervening. 

Back in the pacific, Indochina becomes one of the most powerful nations in the region, deploying naval fleets and nuclear weapons.  Its example is spreading the ideal of democratic states into Communist China.  Basically, at the price of pissing off the French, the whole pacific basin is far more stable.

Comments?

Chris

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