Duong Van Minh
October 1968
Foreign Affairs;Oct68, Vol. 47 Issue 1, p84
This article argues that the Vietnamese government must earn the confidence of the people before any real progress can be made. This cannot be done unless the government has confidence in itself; unless it knows in its own heart it is working for the good of the whole nation; unless it is prepared to explain to the simple people, the villagers in the countryside, what it is trying to do in language they will understand. It must be honest with the people and honest with itself. When the government has confidence in itself it will be able to lead the Vietnamese people. It will set broad, simple goals that all elements of the nation can work toward together. In so doing it can begin to gather a wide base of support; it can show all different groups how they can best use their capabilities to move forward toward the common end. As one looks back on the past experience with democracy, we can see that the central problem has been of their own making: The governments have lacked confidence in themselves. As a result, once they gain power their main efforts are focused on maintaining themselves in office rather than leading the people forward out of their troubles. As we look at the entire post-1954 period, we can see that the biggest mistake was to have gone too fast when we should have gone slow; and to have gone too slow when we should have gone fast.


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