The events of 1978 shaped much of Viet Nam's political and economic environment for more than a decade. After the triumph of the war for national independence in 1975, Viet Nam hoped for a new era of sustained peace and economic development. However, soon after, in 1978, Viet Nam found itself bogged down in another war against the Khmer Rouge to the West, defending against a surprise Chinese invasion to the North and bearing the brunt of economic sanctions from the U.S. and allies. Viet Nam's sole lifeline was economic and military aid from the Soviet bloc. Economic and political isolation crippled the country's economy and continued until Viet Nam launched comprehensive reforms in 1986 and withdrew from Cambodia in 1989. Given the critical importance of the events in 1978 and their consequences, this piece aims to review the happenings, their causes and lessons learned for contemporary diplomacy, particularly for small-to-medium sized countries.
Le Dinh Tinh
Dr Le Dinh Tinh is Director General of the Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies, Diplomatic Academy of Viet Nam (DAV). Previously, he was Deputy Director General at the Bien Dong Institute for Maritime Studies. His latest book American Foreign Policy: A Neo-realist Interpretation and the Case of Viet Nam since Normalization was published in 2020. Email: email@example.com
Hoang Hai Long
Hoang Hai Long is a research assistant at the Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies, Diplomatic Academy of Viet Nam. A graduate from DePauw University in Indiana, he has authored and co-authored several research papers. His writings have appeared on the Diplomat and Asia-Pacific Bulletin (East West Center). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org