The Lost Mandate of Heaven - The American Betrayal of Ngo Dinh Diem, President of Vietnam

December 8, 2020
The Lost Mandate of Heaven - The American Betrayal of Ngo Dinh Diem, President of Vietnam

Ngo Dinh Diem, the first president of the Republic of Vietnam,possessed the Confucian "Mandate of Heaven", a moral and politicalauthority that was widely recognized by all Vietnamese. This devoutRoman Catholic leader never lost this mandate in the eyes of hispeople; rather, he was taken down by a military coup sponsored bythe U.S. government, which resulted in his brutal murder.The commonly held view runs contrary to the above assertion bymilitary historian Geoffrey Shaw. According to many Americanhistorians, President Diem was a corrupt leader whose tyrannicalactions lost him the loyalty of his people and the possibility of amilitary victory over the North Vietnamese. The KennedyAdministration, they argue, had to withdraw its support ofDiem.Based on his research of original sources, includingdeclassified documents of the U.S. government, Shaw chronicles theKennedy administration's betrayal of this ally, which proved to benot only a moral failure but also a political disaster that ledAmerica into a protracted and costly war. Along the way, Shawreveals a President Diem very different from the despot portrayedby the press during its coverage of Vietnam. From eyewitnessaccounts of military, intelligence, and diplomatic sources, Shawdraws the portrait of a man with rare integrity, a patriot whostrove to free his country from Western colonialism whileprotecting it from Communism."A candid account of the killing of Ngo Dinh Diem, the reasonsfor it, who was responsible, why it happened, and the disastrousresults. Particularly agonizing for Americans who read this clearlystated and tightly argued book is the fact that the final Vietnamdefeat was not really on battle grounds, but on political and moralgrounds. The Vietnam War need not have been lost. Overwhelmingevidence supports it."― From the Foreword by James V. Schall, S.J., Professor Emeritus,Georgetown University"Did I find a veritable Conradian 'Heart of Darkness'? Yes, Idid, but it was not in the quarter to which all popular Americansources were pointing their accusatory fingers; in other words, notin Saigon but, paradoxically, within the Department of State backin Washington, D.C., and within President Kennedy's closest WhiteHouse advisory circle. The actions of these men led to Diem'smurder. And with his death, nine and a half years of careful workand partnership between the United States and South Vietnam wasundone."― Geoffrey Shaw, from the Preface