Country, State, Nation, and the Republic of Vietnam - Dân Làm Báo

Bài Mới

baimoi

Country, State, Nation, and the Republic of Vietnam

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Tuấn Cao-Đắc (Danlambao) - Abstract: Contrary to communist propaganda that the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) died after the communists invaded and occupied South Vietnam in 1975, the RVN has remained alive and continues to prosper as a country, though occupied, and a nation according to definitions, doctrines, and theories on countries, states, and nations. Like the Soviet Union, communist Vietnam will collapse due to extreme brutality and extreme fraud. In addition, communist Vietnam is an illegitimate state, a neo-colonial state with communist China as its master, and a state without nation. The collapse of the current communist regime is inevitable. The country and nation of the RVN will rise to become a sovereign state for the entire country of Vietnam.

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In an article about the significance of the yellow flag of the RVN to the Overseas Vietnamese (OV) (Cao-Đắc 2014), I wrote, "Based on the broad definition of ‘nation’ on the four principal factors of the people: language, culture, tradition, and national origin (Council 2005), I can argue that the country of the Republic of Vietnam has not died." ("Dựa vào định nghĩa rộng rãi của "quốc gia" trên căn bản bốn yếu tố chính của dân tộc: ngôn ngữ, văn hóa, truyền thống, và nguồn gốc dân tộc (Council 2005), tôi có thể lý luận là quốc gia Việt Nam Cộng Hòa chưa chết.") Recently, in an article refuting Cù Huy Hà Vũ’s arguments in his two-part article (Cao-Đắc 2015), I wrote, "the RVN is still alive and prospers as a country, though occupied, and a nation." In this article, I will expand this concept and show that the RVN is indeed still alive and well and prospers as a country, though occupied, and a nation. In addition, I will show that the current state of communist Vietnam is illegitimate and will collapse sooner or later and will be replaced by the country of (South) Vietnam and/or the nation of the RVN.

The following article will be divided into three parts. Part A will examine the meanings of the words "country," "state," and "nation" and the status of the RVN in each category. Part B will advance the conclusion that communist Vietnam is an illegitimate state. Part C will discuss the collapse of the ruling communist party in Vietnam and the emergence of the RVN.

A. The RVN has still been alive and is prospering as a country, though occupied, and a nation:

It is important to understand the meaning and significance of the terms"country," "state," and "nation." The term "state" actually means "sovereign state" in the current context. In English, these terms have fairly clear definitions although not everybody fully understands them. In Vietnamese, these terms do not have clear distinctions, leading to confusion, both intentional and unintentional. 

For the purpose of this article and for reasons that will be presented later, I will translate these terms into Vietnamese as follows: country: "nước"; state: "nước/quốc gia"; sovereign state: "nước/quốc gia có chủ quyền" (with emphasis on supreme power, territory, land and water); nation: "dân tộc/ quốc gia" (depending on the context); nation-state: "quốc gia dân tộc." 

In particular, we should be careful with the translation of the word “nation” and "nationalism." The suffix –ism indicates a doctrine ("chủ nghĩa"), theory ("học thuyết"), a state ("trạng thái"), condition ("điều kiện"), or behavior characteristic ("bản chất," "đặc tính," "tinh thần") of a person or a thing. Since "nation" may mean "dân tộc" or "quốc gia" depending on the underlying context, the word "nationalism" may also be translated as "chủ nghĩa/ học thuyết quốc gia," "chủ nghĩa/ học thuyết dân tộc," "bản chất/đặc tính/tinh thần quốc gia," and "bản chất/đặc tính/tinh thần dân tộc." While the distinction can be made in English based on the context, the meanings of these Vietnamese terms may be different and may cause misunderstanding or confusion when read in the context of the term.

Actually, even in English, it’s difficult to define these terms. Most people do not distinguish between them and use them almost interchangeably. “Any attempt to find a clear definition of a country soon runs into a thicket of exceptions and anomalies” (The Economist 2010). Several criteria such as diplomatic recognition, United Nations (U.N.) membership, ability to issue passports, etc, are found to be unsatisfactory. For example, Taiwan is not a member of the U.N. and has formal diplomatic ties with only 23 countries. Yet, it is a country, and an important one. Other examples include Kosovo, Northern Cyprus, Somaliland, State of Palestine, etc. (See, for example, ibid.; Wikipedia 2015b).

1. The RVN is a country occupied by the Vietnamese communists:

"A country is a region identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with sets of previously independent or differently associated peoples with distinct political characteristics" (Wikipedia 2015a. Emphasis added.) In this definition, a country may be a state whose government has supreme power over the territory and the people, or a state that is occupied by another state and therefore may not have the supreme power. World history, especially World War I and World War II, has many such examples. During WWII, many countries were under Nazi occupation, including Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Denmark, Yugoslavia, Greece, Norway and Western Poland. These countries did not have governments of their own or only had puppet governments under Nazi control and do not have the supreme power over their own territory, but these countries still existed. The occupation may be disguised as a unification, especially when the people in the occupied country have the same ethnicity or speak the same language as the occupying forces. For example, Austria was annexed to Nazi Germany in 1938 under the pretext of unification (Anschluss) (Wikipedia 2015g).

Note that the government of a country may be a legitimate government representing the people, or an illegitimate government that does not represent the people. During World War II, the Vichy government in France was merely a puppet government collaborating with the Nazis. Saddam Hussein’s regime is an example of an illegitimate regime even though Saddam was in power for more than 30 years. Current communist Vietnam is an example of a country whose communist government is illegitimate because it does not represent the people. In particular, the RVN is an example of a country that is occupied by the Northern communist faction claiming to be a state, the same as Austria being occupied by the Nazis during World War II. 

By this definition, the country of South Vietnam, as represented by the political regime of RVN, is still alive and is merely under the occupation of the Northern communist faction. In fact, the entire country of Vietnam, including the North and the South, is currently under the occupation of the Northern communist faction. The country of (South) Vietnam, therefore, has exactly the same status as the countries of Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Denmark, Yugoslavia, Greece, Norway, under Nazi occupation during WWII. The differences between the country of (South) Vietnam and most of these European countries are: (1) the occupants, the Nazis, spoke a language different than the languages of these countries (with the exception of Austria); and (2) the occupation period lasted only 4 years. These differences, however, are merely form and not substance.

It is important to distinguish between the country of Vietnam as presented to the world by the current communist ruling regime and the country of South Vietnam as being under the communist occupation. The reason why this distinction is subtle and is not immediately clear to the world outside Vietnam is that the occupying Northern communist faction, represented by the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP), also has roots from the Vietnamese people. Most members of the VCP have Vietnamese (or Kinh) ethnic origins, having the same skin color, physical appearance, and speak the same language as the majority of the Vietnamese people. Since the occupying faction blends with the people under its rule, the world outside Vietnam mistakenly believes that this occupying force has been voted by the people to represent them. In reality, there have never been true democratic and free elections in Vietnam since the communists took over. 

The Vietnamese communists have two ways to characterize the Vietnam War. Depending on the circumstances, they will select the appropriate argument to defend their act of invasion and their illegal occupation of South Vietnam.

In the first way, they propagandized that the Vietnam War was a civil war and therefore there was no invasion. The North won and the country was unified in 1975. To support this "civil war" theory and to help them win the war, they established the Southern Liberation Front and posed it as a movement in South Vietnam to overthrow the government of South Vietnam (Duiker 1996, 213; Fall 1967, 183; Joes 2001, 49; Karnow 1997, 245). In reality, the Southern Liberation Front was controlled and directed by the North and the "Provisionary Revolutionary Government was always simply a group emanating from the DRV" (Truong 1986, 268). This fabricated "civil war" theory had many followers including several non-communist people in the South because many are confused between substance and form. On the surface, the war was fought by people having the same physical appearance, culture, history, ethnicity, and language. In reality, the Vietnam War was a war between two independent states (See, for example, Cao-Đắc 2015), not two factions in the same state, and therefore, it can never be defined as a civil war. 

A civil war is defined as any armed conflict that involves military action internal to the metropole of the state system member (See, for example, Sarkees, 5; Fearon 2006). A civil war is also called a "non-international armed conflict" by international organizations. In particular, "in a non-international armed conflict at least one of the two opposing sides is a non-State armed group" (ICRC 2012). Since North Vietnam and South Vietnam were both sovereign states during the Vietnam War, none of them was a non-state armed group. Accordingly, under international standards, the Vietnam War was not a civil war. Those who mistakenly believe the Vietnam War was a civil war are actually misled by the communists regarding the Southern Liberation Front or confused between the definitions of "state" as a sovereign state and "state" as a state in the United States (See, for example, Wikipedia 2015i and Flaherty 2006, where reviewer Jane Flaherty quotes the book that says the American Civil War represents a "war between the states"). In addition, many non-communist, or even anti-communist, people often associate the Vietnam War with a "civil war" characterization because of the sentimental feeling for the brotherhood of the two peoples in the two states. While this seems an innocent act of reminiscence of a glorious past, it is politically dangerous because it is vulnerable for communist exploitations and distortions.

In the second way, the communists propagandize that the Vietnam War was a resistance war in which the Northern people and the communists in the South fought against the imperialist Americans who invaded Vietnam. By characterizing the Vietnam War as a resistance war, the communists want to promote several fabricated ideas. The first idea is that the communist Vietnamese "had no choice but to fight" (Joseph 2008, 18) and therefore they merely defended the country and did not invade the South. The second idea is to invoke the patriotic feeling by analogizing the Vietnam War with the First Indochina War against the French and by propagandizing that the "actions of the Americans and the French are equally unjust, and the motivation of these two countries must be one and the same: domination of Vietnam" (ibid.).

Regardless of what the communists say, the reality was that the Vietnam War was fought by two sovereign states, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) and the Republic of Vietnam (RVN), and therefore could never be a civil war and certainly not a resistance war when the communists invaded the South in 1959 before American troops landed in Vietnam in 1965. The fact that the peoples of the two states have many common characteristics does not change this definition. The Austrian and German peoples have many common characteristics but when the Nazi occupied Austria during World War II, this occupation could never be called unification. The communist occupation of South Vietnam is illegitimate because it violated the terms of the Paris Accords in 1973. It was the result of a long-term invasion directed by the Soviet Union and communist China. The country of the RVN, therefore, did not collapse, but was and is merely occupied.

2. The RVN is not a sovereign state but the sovereignty claimed by the Vietnamese communists is illegitimate:

State has been defined by Max Weber as "that agency within society which possesses the monopoly of legitimate violence" (Gellner 2008, 3). A state may also be defined loosely as an "institution or [a] set of institutions specifically concerned with the enforcement of order" (ibid., 4). A state, therefore, is required to have some sort of power to exercise upon the people living in the territory it controls.

To more explicitly describe this supreme power, the term "sovereign" is usually associated with the word "state." "In international law, a sovereign state is a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states" (Wikipedia 2015c). Sovereignty has been defined with various meanings that may not all be consistent. Krasner (1999) proposes four different meanings of sovereignty: domestic sovereignty, interdependence sovereignty, international legal sovereignty, and Westphalian sovereignty. In international legal sovereignty, the central issue is whether a state is recognized by other states (ibid., 14). 

Regardless of various definitions of sovereignty, the significance of a sovereign state is its supreme power over the people and the territory, and its ability to have diplomatic relationships with other sovereign states. These diplomatic relationships may include commerce, culture, military, and other social activities. As discussed above, a country under the occupation of another country or a faction of its own is not a sovereign state. Countries under Nazi occupation during WW II were not sovereign states. The country of the RVN, currently under the communist occupation, is not a sovereign state. But it does not mean that these countries cease to exist. In fact, as history has shown, as soon as the Nazis were overthrown, these countries regained their sovereignty and have prospered since. Similarly, as soon as the communist regime in Vietnam is overthrown, the country of RVN will regain the sovereignty.

It should be noted that sovereignty does not necessarily imply legitimacy. In diplomatic affairs, most sovereign states do not question the legitimacy of another sovereign state because sovereignty, especially domestic sovereignty, is an internal or domestic issue. In addition, recognition of a state or a government of a state may change over time during the course of international developments. For example, Taiwan had been recognized by almost all Western powers prior to the 1970s. After communist China was admitted to the UN in 1979, Taiwan maintained formal diplomatic relations with only a handful of countries. Furthermore, when a government of a sovereign state becomes so perverse in treating its people, the international community may intervene. For example, the government of Iraq under Saddam Hussein was an illegitimate government although Iraq at the time was a sovereign state, being a UN member, and having diplomatic ties with numerous other sovereign states. The Iraq regime change by military action during the Bush Administration in 2003 aimed at two main objectives: (1) to end the WMD program and (2) to remove support for Al Qaeda terrorists. Notably, a supplementary objective was to liberate the Iraqi people and promote stability and democracy in the Middle East (Katzman 2005).

The sovereignty claimed by the Vietnamese communists is illegitimate because power has never been conferred to the ruling communist party by the people’s free will. With only 4 million party members in a country of 90 million people, it is obvious that the Vietnamese communists represent a minority and therefore cannot represent the people. In addition, as will be discussed further in the following, communist Vietnam is an illegitimate sovereign state or nation-state because, through the VCP, it is merely a neo-colonial state under the control of communist China, its neo-colonist master.

3. The RVN is a thriving nation having anti-communism as its distinctive characteristic:

Nation and nationalism have been the topics of extensive research and studies in the past century. However, as of now, there are still a lot of confusions and debates on their meanings. In particular, there have been misunderstandings, misuses, and confusions regarding the words "nation" and "state" (Connor 1978, 36).

In this article, I will not attempt to discuss the concepts of nation and nationalism in detail. Rather, I will only discuss aspects of these concepts in relation to the RVN.

"Nation has various meanings, and the meaning has changed over time. The concept of 'nation' is related to 'ethnic community' or ethnicity. An ethnic community often has a myth of origins and descent, a common history, elements of distinctive culture, a common territorial association, and sense of group solidarity. A nation is, by comparison, much more impersonal, abstract, and overtly political than an ethnic group. It is a cultural-political community that has become conscious of its coherence, unity, and particular interests" (Wikipedia 2015d; 2015f). 

Several authors and scholars define nations or criteria for a people to be classified as a nation. Defining nation is difficult because "the essence of a nation is intangible." (Connor 1978, 36). Anything that is intangible may have different meanings depending on a person’s viewpoint and the underlying context. 

The word "nation" comes from the Latin indicating common blood ties (Connor 1978, 38). However, the word "nation" has also been used to refer to many aspects other than common blood ties or ethnicity. By early 17th century, it was used to describe "the inhabitants of a country" and subsequently to refer to "the people" or "the citizenry" (ibid.).

Donnan and Wilson (2001, 6) define nations as "communities of people tied together through common culture, who have their pre-eminent political goal the attainment of some form of independence, autonomy or devolution." They distinguish nations from ethnic groups by their political role in a state, and by their political goals (ibid.). Gellner (2008, 6-7) recognizes that the concept of shared culture is especially important even though it is a bit complex to define clearly what culture is. According to Baycroft and Hewitson (2006, 5), Gellner claims "… the basic characteristic of nations and of nationalism is the development of a literate, standardized high culture, and its extension to an entire population through education and communication." Hobsbawm (1990, 37-38) believes that there are three criteria for being a nation: historic association with a current state or one with a fairly lengthy and recent past, the existence of a long-established cultural elite, and a proven capacity for conquest. Anderson (2006, 6) defines a nation as "an imagined political community – and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign." Anderson further states that it is imagined as sovereign because "nations dream of being free" and "[t]he gage and emblem of this freedom is the sovereign state" (ibid., 7). Weber (1948, 22) emphasizes that nation is not identical with the people of a state or a community speaking the same language. Greenfield (1992, 167-168) recognizes the change of meaning of the word "nation" over time.

Examples of nations are: Native American nations such as the Cherokee nation of Indians (Native American Nations), the Kurdish nation (Black 2014). 

Essentially, nation refers to a group of people having similar backgrounds and political interests. One important characteristic of a nation is the absence of territory and international recognition. The focus of a nation lies in its people and their shared interests such as history, culture, and political beliefs. 

Since the word "nation" may have various meanings as discussed above, we have to be careful when translating it into Vietnamese. Based on the focus on people and their shared interests, perhaps the closest word in Vietnamese is "dân tộc." However, as Connor (1978, 36) points out, the word "nation" has often been used to mean "state" or "sovereign state." This confusion is broadened and deepened for other words in the same family with "nation," such as "national," "nationalist," and "nationalism." Connor (ibid., 40) remarks, "With the concepts of the nation and the state thus hopelessly confused, it is perhaps not too surprising that nationalism should come to mean identification with the state rather than loyalty to the nation."

We do not know how this confusion arose; perhaps the word "state" is often understood as a central government rather than the territorial aspect of a political entity. In addition, the adjective form of "state" may not be popular. Connor (ibid., 40) uses "statal" as the adjective for state; but "statal" does not seem common and may connote a different meaning (e.g., the nature of central power in government). Similarly, "statalist" or "statalism" is not popular or may have different meanings. The confusion is further compounded for words that indicate global relations, such as "international." Names of many global organizations (e.g., United Nations, International Monetary Funds) are "other significant illustrations of the common but improper tendency to equate state and nation" (ibid.). Because of these problems, the word "nation" and its adjective form "national" may be translated into Vietnamese as "quốc gia" or "dân tộc" depending on the context. Similarly, as discussed above, the word "nationalism" may be translated as "chủ nghĩa/ học thuyết quốc gia," "chủ nghĩa/ học thuyết dân tộc," "bản chất/đặc tính/tinh thần quốc gia," and "bản chất/đặc tính/tinh thần dân tộc" accordingly.

While there is confusion between the words "state" and "nation," when used properly, their meanings are fairly clear, as discussed above. The key feature of "nation" is people and the key feature of "state" is territory and/or central government.

Under the definition of nations, the current RVN, as represented by the OV and a majority of the Vietnamese people living in the Vietnam, is a nation and a thriving one. The fact that a majority of the former South Vietnamese people are currently living together with the non-South Vietnamese people on the territory of Vietnam does not erase the distinctive cultural, social, and political characteristics of the people who used to live in the nation-state of the RVN. The population of the original South Vietnamese people is estimated to be about 10 million people living in Vietnam in 2014 (Cao-Đắc 2014), and at least 3 million OV living all over the world. With an original population of more than 13 million people, the people of South Vietnam, domestic and overseas, represent a sizable ethnic community. These South Vietnamese people share a common culture, common history, speak the same language, have the same territorial association (the land, rivers, and islands of Vietnam), and a high spirit of political solidarity of anti-communism. They have also developed literate, social, and cultural programs among the population. With increasing uses of the Internet and social media (e.g. Facebook, civil societies), the OV, the South Vietnamese and the entire Vietnamese population living in Vietnam have pushed communication, dissemination of information, and education among themselves. The nation of the RVN is alive and well and prospers, as evidenced by the many successful stories of the OV around the world. 

It should be noted that the term "South Vietnam" or "RVN" in the "nation of South Vietnam" or the "nation of the RVN" refers to the origin of the nation. It does not refer to the geographical region of the RVN prior to 1975, namely the southern region of the country of Vietnam. One important characteristic of the nation of the RVN is anti-communism. Not only this characteristic is political, it is also cultural and social. Therefore, it is a distinctive characteristic that distinguishes the nation of the RVN from the nations of other Vietnamese people, such as the minority communist Vietnamese people.

Accordingly, almost any anti-communist person who has a Vietnamese origin is a member of the nation of the RVN. (One must say "almost" because being anti-communist is not the only condition for being a member of the nation of the RVN.) Therefore, the nation of the RVN does not include only the anti-communist people who used to live in South Vietnam prior to April 30, 1975. It may also include the anti-communist Vietnamese people who used to live in North Vietnam under communist control. In addition, as discussed above, at least 3 million anti-communist people in the nation of the RVN live outside Vietnam. As a result, the current population of the nation of the RVN well exceeds the original population of the estimated 13 million people. 

What is the current population of the nation of the RVN? 

As mentioned above, one distinctive political, cultural, and social characteristic of the majority of the South Vietnamese prior to 1975 is anti-communism. However, in present-day Vietnam, due to the oppression imposed on the people by the minority communist ruling group, it is difficult for the people to identify themselves as either anti-communist or neutral. While it is not known with accuracy the number of the people in the nation of the RVN living in Vietnam, it can be estimated to be very high because of the increasing discontent of the people toward the ruling government. More and more VCP members leave the party and become strongly anti-communist. I would not be surprised if the population of the nation of the RVN were as high as 80 - 85 million.

It should be noted that the country of (South) Vietnam and the nation of the RVN are different. When we refer to the country of (South) Vietnam, we refer to a geopolitical entity which used to be a sovereign state but is now under communist occupation. When we refer to the nation of the RVN, we refer to a people whose main characteristic is anti-communism. The (former) citizens of the country of (South) Vietnam lived within the fixed boundaries of the former state of (South) Vietnam. In contrast, the people in the nation of the RVN include those who live within the fixed boundary of the former State of Vietnam, which includes the North and the South, and the Overseas Vietnamese. There is, therefore, an overlap between the people of the country of (South) Vietnam and the people of the nation of the RVN. The non-overlapped portion has a larger population, including the anti-communist Northern people and the OV. In particular, the OV’s power, especially political and financial, is tremendous. 

In summary, South Vietnam or the RVN did not become extinct on April 30, 1975. On the contrary, it is alive and well and prospers as a nation and a country. However, one may ask, "So what? What’s the point of existing only as a scattered community or an oppressed community and not having concrete supreme power, authority, control, and recognition by other sovereign states or countries?" We will examine this issue in the next sections.

B. Communist Vietnam is an illegitimate state or nation-state because it does not represent the people and in reality is a neo-colonial state under the control of communist China.

Nation-state, sometimes written without the hyphen, is defined more narrowly than nation. "A nation state is a geographical area that can be identified as deriving its political legitimacy from serving as a sovereign nation. A state is a political and geopolitical entity, while a nation is a cultural and ethnic one. The term 'nation state' implies that the two coincide, but 'nation state' formation can take place at different times in different parts of the world" (Wikipedia 2015e; 2015f). 

A nation-state may have several characteristics, such as a distinct geographically defined territory, sovereignty over its territory, existence of a government, fixed boundaries, a government claiming a monopoly of using coercion over its population, national identity, obedience and loyalty of its inhabitants (Opello and Rosow 2004, 3). Under this definition, most current countries in the world are considered nation-states. 

The country of (South) Vietnam is not a nation-state. It is an occupied country and therefore it does not have a government of its own. The nation of the RVN is not a nation-state because it does not have a defined territory, sovereignty over its territory, and a government. The nation of the RVN is one of many other stateless nations in the world, such as nations of the Kurds, the Uyghur people, the Tibetan people, and even the Hong Kong people. These stateless nations may become sovereign states in the future. History has shown that many stateless nations became sovereign states, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia (See, for example, Wikipedia 2015h).

The question is whether communist Vietnam is truly a nation-state. The short answer is "No." Communist Vietnam may have diplomatic legitimacy through fraud, but diplomatic legitimacy does not mean domestic legitimacy. Diplomatic legitimacy simply implies legitimacy as perceived by other nation states. A government, like the current Vietnamese communist faction, through brutality and fraud, may achieve diplomatic legitimacy but not necessasarily domestic legitimacy because it does not represent the people. As discussed above, Iraq under Saddam Hussein is an example of an illegitimate nation-state. The international community intervened to change the regime and to allow the Iraqi people to freely select their government. Communist Vietnam is an illegitimate state because its government is illegitimate and does not represent the people. In reality, communist Vietnam is a neo-colonial state under the control of communist China. 

The term "colonial state" is usually used to describe a country that becomes a colony of another more powerful country, usually an imperialist country, like France, Great Britain, or Spain in the 18th and 19th centuries. The term "neo-colonial state" refers to a new form of colonial state where the colonial state has "all the outward trappings of international sovereignty" but "its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside" (Nkrumah 1965). Marxist scholars describe neo-colonialism as "the main instrument of imperialism" and "the worst form of imperialism" (ibid.). During the Vietnam War, South Vietnam was often described by Marxist scholars as a neo-colonial state under the control of the United States (ibid.). 

Ironically, all of the characteristics used by Marxist scholars to describe a neo-colonial state now apply exactly to present-day Vietnam whose master is communist China. First, "the rulers of neo-colonial States derive their authority to govern, not from the will of the people, but from the support which they obtain from their neo-colonist masters" (ibid.) It is well known that leaders of the VCP have been servient to communist China since the secret summit meeting in Chengdu, Suchuan, in September 1990 where Chinese and Vietnamese leaders “drew up a secret memorandum of agreement on Cambodia and resolved in principle other obstacles to normalization” (Womack 2006, 208). Second, the aid from the neo-colonial masters "is merely a revolving credit, paid by the neo-colonial master, passing through the neo-colonial State and returning to the neo-colonial master in the form of increased profits" (ibid.) During the Vietnam War, Marxist scholars usually described this type of aid as "military aid." Today, in the face of geo-political stability, such an explicit aid can no longer be feasible. Therefore it has to be disguised in other forms such as financial credit. That is precisely what communist China is doing with communist Vietnam. The objective of aids or credits is to create dependency of the neo-colonial state on its neo-colonist master. Vietnam’s economic dependency on communist China has reached a dangerous level (VOV 2015). Third, tools other than economics such as cultural tools may be used in neo-colonial pursuits. Examples include language, education, religions, and other forms of soft power (Molag 2014). Confucius Institutes, representing China’s soft power, have been established in countries around the world. By the end of 2013, 440 such institutes had been established. In Vietnam, a Confucius institute was opened in December 2014 in Hanoi and managed by the Vietnam’s Hanoi University and China’s Guangxi Normal University. It seems that the Confucius Institute in Vietnam is an example of a soft power tool of the neo-colonist China to pursue neo-colonial objectives. 

Lastly, not only communist Vietnam is an illegitimate state, it is also a state without nation. In other words, it exists as a state but there is no nation that supports or embraces the objectives and ideals set forth by the state, namely socialism and/or communism. In fact, the only significant nation that exists inside and beyond the boundaries of communist Vietnam is the nation of the RVN, as described above, which represents everything opposite to socialism and/or communism. We must understand the phrase "without nation" here means "without identified or uniform nations" with respect to the overall objectives of the state as imposed by the state government. In other words, the people that constitute "a state without nation" may not be identified clearly, or may have beliefs or ideals that are totally different from those imposed by the state government, or come from a variety of origins and have different fundamental characteristics including languages, political and/or religious beliefs, ethnic and/or historical features. There are many other states without nation in the world. Examples of these states include Iraq (Black 2014), communist China (Fitzgerald 1998, 57), the Republic of Austria (Morrissey 2012), and Malaysia (Stockwell 2005, 210).

A state without nation can still survive if it meets some basic requirements. One important requirement is that the majority of the nation in that state or the different nations in that state agree to live peacefully consistent with the objectives set forth by the state government. If there is a violation of this requirement, that state is bound to collapse. Communist Vietnam is an example of such state because its objectives of socialism or communism are contrary to the wish of the majority of the people. In addition, many of its communist practices are opposite to the traditions of the Vietnamese people. Some examples of these practices are the veneration of Hồ Chí Minh, the erection of Lenin statute, the cowardly concession toward communist China regarding the East Sea, and the use of the flag of a Chinese town as the national flag.

C. The country of (South) Vietnam or the nation of the RVN will become a sovereign state of all of Vietnam in a near future when the communist regime collapses.

States or nations may rise and fall. The sovereignty of a state or a nation-state may be challenged by several forces: changes in warfare, the globalization of capitalism, the fracturing of national identity, and the emergence of hypermedia networks (Opello and Rosow 2004, 245). Many groups within a nation-state "imagine themselves as a nation" and "seek statehood" (ibid., 257). Political or economic refugees are "ripe for appeals of alternative political identities to those of the nation-state" (ibid., 259). In addition, the popularity of hypermedia, such as the Internet and social media, "makes it increasingly difficult for the state to control information flows within and across its borders" and "is already proliferating communal attachments that threaten the sovereignty of territorially based states" (ibid., 263). The nation of the RVN fits exactly in this model. Many people living in Vietnam are political refugees (e.g., democracy activists) or economic refugees (e.g., unemployed college graduates, unjustly compensated people) trapped inside the country. The OV includes mostly political refugees. Together, they have been consistently fighting for freedom and democracy for Vietnam using all means, including and especially the Internet.

Davies (2011, 732) theorizes that there are at least five mechanisms that contribute to the death of a state: implosion, conquest, merger, liquidation, and "infant mortality." An example of death by implosion is the Soviet Union. In this process, "a vacuum is created, the constituent parts disengage, and the whole is destroyed" (ibid., 732). Often the death of a sovereign state gives rise to the birth or rebirth of new independent states. "Fifteen dependent Soviet republics were transformed into fifteen independent states" (ibid., 725). 

Gellner (2008, 6) believes that nations and states "were destined for each other" but "before they could become intended for each other, each of them had to emerge, and their emergence was independent and contingent." There is a strong belief by the nationalists that state and nation are congruent: for each state there should be one nation and for each nation there should be a state (Gellner 2008, 128). In addition, nations are not formed simply for the sake of existence. There is always a link to "a past, present or hoped-for future national territory and nation-state sovereignty" (Donnan and Wilson 2001, 6). Therefore, when a nation grows stronger and stronger, it is bound to emerge as a sovereign state, especially when it replaces a collapsing sovereign state. 

The nation of the RVN and the illegitimate state of communist Vietnam present a good scenario of a future replacement of a rotten sovereign state by a healthy nation. The example of the Soviet Union discussed above may help illustrate this scenario. There may be several reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union, but the essence of these reasons is not complicated. "The Soviet system was built on extreme force and extreme fraud. Practically everything that Lenin and the Leninists did was accompanied by killing; practically everything they said was based on half-baked theories, a total lack of integrity and huge, barefaced lies" (Davies 2011, 725). It is precisely these two extremities that cause death by implosion of the Soviet Union.

Like the Soviet Union, the current illegitimate state of communist Vietnam cannot survive because it is also built on extreme force and extreme fraud. The extreme force and extreme fraud committed by the communist Vietnamese have been well known and well documented. Examples include the Land Reform in the 1950s in North Vietnam, the Nhân Văn Giai Phẩm campaign, the frauds committed by Hồ Chí Minh and his comrades, the terrorist acts committed on the South Vietnamese people during the war, the brutal treatment of the soldiers and government officials of the RVN after the war, the oppression of the current democracy activists, and other evidence. In addition, the Vietnamese communists commit worse crimes than the Soviet communists, such as selling land to communist China, condoning human trafficking, robbing the people, destroying the country’s culture and natural resources, to name a few. What appears to be the power of the communists in power is merely a cover for a rotten core. The VCP has been weakened for many years for a variety of reasons, including power struggle, corruption, fraud, greed, incompetence, and mismanagent.

While the collapse of the communist regime in Vietnam is inevitable, the country of (South) Vietnam and the nation of the RVN will cause this collapse happen sooner than later. The nation of the RVN is growing stronger and stronger as evidenced by the unity between the domestic Vietnamese and the OV, the increasing political and financial influences of the OV, and the increasing activities in the struggle for human rights, freedom and democracy by human rights and democracy activists. The nation of the RVN is now ready to "seek statehood" and is "ripe for appeals of alternative political identities" thanks to the growing population of political and economic refugees, the OV, and the popularity of the Internet and social media, according to the criteria envisioned by Opello and Rosow (2004, 245, 257, 259). In addition, the inherent power of resistance of the occupied country of (South) Vietnam will help propel the nation of the RVN to emerge as a sovereign state that causes the death by implosion of the Vietnamese communist regime. 

Even if the illegitimate communist state of Vietnam does not collapse soon, the country of (South) Vietnam and/or the nation of the RVN can still "break away from a state in order to gain entry to the international society of states through secession or irredentism" (Kaya 2012, 67). There is a growing interest that promotes the idea of sub-states and self-determination. In reality, "sub-state nationalist groups are active within an international context" (ibid., 93). The 'international actor' should be broadly defined to include "states and all types of non-state actors (including sub-state groups and diasporas)" (ibid.). With an increasing expansion of civil societies in Vietnam and the OV, representing the sub-state groups and diasporas, and the international recognition of the efforts of democracy activists such as writer Nguyễn Xuân Nghĩa (Dân 2015) and blogger Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh (Mạng 2015), the formation of a state of the nation of the RVN, whether as a replacement of the current communist Vietnam or as a new state through secession or irredentism, is becoming more and more real. 

D. Conclusion

After 1975, the RVN has remained alive as a country under communist occupation. More importantly, the RVN is a thriving nation with a huge population of anti-communist people living in Vietnam, both Southern and Northern regions, and overseas. 

The collapse of the illegitimate state of communist Vietnam is inevitable. It will be replaced by the healthy and vibrant nation of the RVN, supported by the power of resistance of the occupied country of (South) Vietnam. The transition will give birth to the sovereign state of the RVN. The name of its regime may change according to the wish of the people, but its essential characteristic remains unchanged: anti-communism.

However, even in the most peaceful scenario, the collapse of the communist regime must be started by an action of the people. The people must stand up and demand for the overthrow of the communist regime. In particular, the young generation must realize that it is their duty to protect the fatherland. The only option now is to overthrow the communist regime, restore the righteousness of the RVN, and live up to the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese people.

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19/07/2015

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