INT: Turning to the Cold War, there are questwe ask people in general about the Cold War in this series. Was the Cold War necessary?
BD: Well... from a Vietnamese point of view and from a man who lived with the Communist regime in Vietnam from 1945 to '49 and '50, again, as a Vietnamese who live with them, we didn't want Communism at all. And we tried to seek help from the outside world and by then the American came as a kind of a natural brother in arms, because we heard a lot about the free world, we heard a lot about John F. Kennedy, we heard a lot about Foster Dulles and all these kind of statement from the American politicians and we believed what they said about the world and about their willingness to help other people to defend themselves against Communism. And we view the war in Vietnam as a war within the context of a Cold War between the two sides, the Communist side and the free world side. Perhaps we are naive along these terms, but by that time we really believe in it and so we stick to it. And it came to us only later on the idea that well, relying on the American carries by itself a lot of other consequences and you have to accept the consequences later on. But by this time, we didn't know about it. Who by then could believe that the American would not defend South Vietnam against Communism in South East Asia. Nobody could believe it and went around in South East Asia, I run into the Indonesia, I run into the Malaysians, I run into the Filipinos, I run into the Thai, lot of people asking me about what is the attitude of the American, as if they expected that the American would stay on and help stem the throw of Communism marching southward.
INT: Was the Vietnam War necessary?
BD: Well,... as I have mentioned to you, for the majority of Vietnamese, at least for the majority of Vietnamese who oppose Communism, the war in Vietnam was viewed within the context of the Cold War, but now your question is, how the Vietnam War was necessary. Well,... during all my life I tried to understand this question and have some sort of question... some sort of answer for this question. I came up with three things. Number one, the kind of obstinacy from the French who refuse to give back to the Vietnamese people what they were longing for after the Second World War, number one. Number two, the kind of obstination from the Communists, who tried to impose their way of life on the Vietnamese people. They talked about fighting for the independence of the country, yes, we were for it and a lot of us had voted along with Communist side for the independence of the country, myself included. But in the same time, along with these kind of fight for the independence, they tried to impose a way of life on the Vietnamese people and that's the kind of dictatorship that (unintelligible) proletariat regime that Marxist-Leninist advocated for long years. And after that, the number three factor is American factor, the American factor a kind of distorting factor. The American came to South Vietnam under... the pretence or well, if not the pretence, at least for helping South Vietnam to defend against Communism. But the US was a huge, huge military forces power around the world and with such a huge presence in Vietnam, it distorted everything. And the Vietnamese by themselves suffer as a consequence of the South Vietnamese looked in the eyes of the world as a kind of puppet for the American while the side voted for the independence of the country and against the foreigners, you see. When in fact, it was not true, because along with the thousands and millions of South Vietnamese, we knew by then that well, we couldn't survive it with the Communists exactly the way it happened twenty years later, but well we need the American help, but not this kind of American help that the American trying to do in the sixties, in the mid-sixties.
INT: Going back to the Cold War. What have we learnt form the Cold War, what exactly?
BD: Well, from my point of view I would say that there was a lot of misunderstanding and a lot of lack of knowledge from each side about the other side. Now, you have the archives from the Soviet Union and hopefully you will have the archives from Chinese... Chinese Communists and Vietnamese Communists and I think that you will discover that they did not understand the Western world, exactly the way with the Western world did not understand the Communist world and they took for granted their fixed ideas about the other side and the Cold War happened for decades without having any one getting some lesson from it.
INT: What do you think was the dangerous period of time in the Cold War?
BD: Well, after war in Vietnam or the Cold War?
INT: The Cold War.
BD: Well, I think that the most dangerous period of the Cold War was the period of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Crisis. But after the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Crisis, it was somewhat toned down a little bit, the conflict between the sides went on, but the two sides understood that well, they had to restrain themselves, so not to provoke the kind of apocalypse in the world.
INT: Thank you very much.
BD: You are welcome.
END OF INTERVIEW WITH BUI DIEM