None of Ho Chi Minh's colleagues was as dedicated to the use of political struggle, psychological warfare, and diplomatic means as he was.— William J. Duiker
The most dreamy William J. Duiker quotes that will activate your desire to change
When the advice of Moscow ran counter to [Ho Chi Minh's] own ideas - as in the 1930s - he kept his head down and waited until the situation changed in his favor with the beginning of the Pacific War.
Ho Chi Minh preferred to use the tactics of negotiation and compromise, primarily because of his recognition that the revolutionary movement was militarily weaker than its adversaries.
Ho Chi Minh sought to defeat both adversaries [French and American] primarily by using diplomatic and political means, combined with paramilitary activities.
In the longer term, I hope that as Vietnam evolves into a more prosperous society with active ties to the international marketplace, it will lose its inherent suspicion of the outside world and begin to develop along the lines of what has recently been happening in Thailand and Malaysia.
Finally, in 1954 [Ho Chi Minh] agreed to the Geneva Agreement, which divided the country temporarily into two zones, in the hope that national elections might unify the country under his leadership.
When he served in China during World War II, [Ho Chi Minh] learned about Mao Zedong's tactics of guerrilla war against the Japanese (and later against Chiang Kai-shek's forces), and he translated some of Mao's works into Vietnamese. But it is clear that his own ideas on how to counter the enemy ran along the same lines.
In the end, many of his more militant colleagues began to feel that [Ho Chi Minh's] tendency to compromise, and his reluctance to confront the enemy directly, was a sign of weakness. The decision to confront the United States in 1963-1965 was a tacit recognition that Ho's approach had failed.
Ho Chi Minh rarely wrote about Sun Tzu, but when he did mention the ancient Chinese military strategist, he was always laudatory, and he sometimes cited his ideas as a model for the Vietnamese revolutionary movement to follow.
I would hazard the statement that in the broad sense [Ho Chi Minh's] ideas had triumphed, since the communist victory in Vietnam was a consequence of political, diplomatic, and psychological factors more than military ones. That is a tribute to the ideas that he introduced in his life and thought.
There were various aspects of Sun Tzu's approach that appealed to Ho Chi Minh: a) to learn to understand both the enemy and yourself, to seek out his weaknesses and your own strengths, and act accordingly, b) to make ample use of subterfuge and stratagem in order to defeat or disarm your adversary, and c) to use outright violence only when absolutely necessary in the belief that political struggle was more effective than military struggle.
Today [ Sun Tzu] ideas are not widely applied, at least among Islamic dissidents, whose profligate use of indiscriminate terrorism appears to limit the appeal of their ideas rather than to "win hearts and minds," as the Vietminh and the National Liberation Front did in Vietnam so many decades ago.
On many occasions in the late 1950s and 1960s, [Ho Chi Minh's] ideas were apparently ignored by those who felt that his approach was too naive and prone to compromise. The outbreak of open warfare with the French and later with the United States was in effect a sign of the failure of Ho Chi Minh to achieve his objective to fight and win at low cost.
I decided that after returning to the US to pursue an academic career I would eventually study the life of Ho Chi Minh to find the secret of his success.
I did not feel - in President [J.F.] Kennedy's words - that we could win the war for [the government in Saigon]. When I sought the reason for the dedication shown by the enemy, it seemed to me that the leadership and charisma shown by Ho Chi Minh was a major part of the answer.
From the outset, when [Ho Chi Minh] became a member of the French Communist Party in 1920, he was an independent thinker who adjusted Marxist-Leninist ideas and tactics to what he perceived to be the concrete situation in Indochina.
[Dissidents] groups would benefit enormously from learning about Ho Chi Minh's ideas on how to defeat a more popular enemy.
In the spring of 1946 [Ho Chi Minh ] signed a provisional agreement with the French representative on a compromise solution to the dispute over Vietnamese independence. Once again, he might have been naive in hoping that a compromise was really possible.
The influence of Sun Tzu on other North Vietnamese military strategists is harder to answer. Certainly many of the key leaders in Hanoi were aware of Sun Tzu and made use of his ideas - Vo Nguyen Giap applied many of these ideas in seeking out weak elements in the enemy's defenses, as did Truong Chinh, whose famous treatise, The Resistance Will Win (1947), cited the ideas of Mao Zedong as a model for the North Vietnamese to follow.
Sun Tzu's ideas as expressed above had a profound effect on Ho Chi Minh, who sought to defeat both the French and the Americans without recourse to violence - or at least to conventional battle tactics.
Many of the ideas of Sun Tzu and Mao Zedong came naturally to the young Ho Chi Minh, who would probably have applied the same strategy even had he not been aware of them.