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Afghanistan and the Spectre of Vietnam

South Vietnamese children are separated from their parents as people fight to be on the last plane out of Nha Trang, South Vietnam on Mar. 31, 1975. (Jean-Claude Francolon / Liaison Agency)

With a superb exhibition, Arts of Ancient Vietnam, Asia Society unveils an aspect of that country's culture most Americans have never seen. But the catastrophic 14-year U.S. experience in Vietnam continues to haunt our foreign policy. In particular, how much relevance does the Vietnamese conflict have for our Afghan intervention?

Three distinguished historians and scholars examine the validity of a pervasive analogy and seek historical lessons in trying better to understand the challenges of state-building in an Afghan context. Is the US more likely to succeed today in counter-insurgency warfare than it was 40 years ago? Will the troop surge bring us closer to the establishment of conditions in which a viably democratic and truly national government is able to provide peace, prosperity, and stability for ordinary Afghan citizens?

Speakers include Max Boot, author of War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and The Course of History; Gordon Goldstein, author of Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam; and Rufus Phillips, author of Why Vietnam Matters: An Eyewitness Account of Lessons Not Learned.

Moderator George Packer is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq, which received several prizes and was named one of the 10 best books of 2005 by The New York Times Book Review.

Registration: 6:00 - 6:30 pm
Program: 6:30 - 8:00 pm

Please note: this program will also be a free live video webcast on AsiaSociety.org from 6:30 to 8:00 pm EST. Online viewers are encouraged to submit their questions to [email protected].

Read an excerpt from Why Vietnam Matters by Rufus Phillips


Event Details

Wed 24 Feb 2010
1:30pm - 3:00pm

725 Park Avenue, New York, NY

$10 Asia Society members; $12 seniors and students w/ID; $15 nonmembers.