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propaganda describes the conflict between socialism and imperialism as a “who will defeat whom” struggle.9 This struggle requires the working class’s internationalism, and first of all, solidarity among the socialist forces. All communists know their battle cry as packaged in the Communist Manifesto: “Proletarians of all countries, unite!”10

Solidarity among socialist forces is premised on the common fate and common interests shared by the socialists in the common struggle against their class enemies. Although the alliance of socialist forces against those of capitalism has a certain balancing ingredient, nevertheless solidarity is different from balancing. In the balancing thinking, considerations of relative capabilities are prior to the determination of enemy. In the solidarity thinking, the determination of enemy is prior to any other considerations. While a good balancing strategy requires flexibility in the determination of friend and foe, a good solidarity strategy requires fixity.

The solidarity approach informed the linchpin of Hanoi foreign policy during the Cold War. The War was and is still perceived by a large part of Vietnamese policy makers as a class and ideological conflict between “forces of national independence and socialism” and those of “capitalism and imperialism.” A front fighter in this war, Hanoi experienced the alliance of its friends in the socialist states, the Third World, and the advanced capitalist countries—which it called the world’s “three revolutionary currents”—as a solidarity bloc. Their support for Vietnam was understood as expression of solidarity among anti-imperialist forces. In the post-Cold War era, the same approach is based on the alleged solidarity among communist states, which are facing the threat of regime change emanating from the West. As the Vietnam Communist Party chief ideologue Nguyen Duc Binh has emphasized in a joint Sino-Vietnamese conference on ideology, the root of the strength of socialism is solidarity among the “revolutionary forces.”11

9 For a discussion of Marxism-Leninism as Vietnam’s foreign policy ideology, see Eero Palmujoki, Vietnam and the World: Marxist-Leninist Doctrine and the Changes in International Relations, 1975-93 (London: Macmillan, 1997).

10 Marx and Engels, Manifesto.

11 Nguyen Duc Binh, “Doi dieu suy nghi ve van menh chu nghia xa hoi” [Some Thoughts on the Destiny of Socialism], Tap chi Cong san [Communist Review], No. 13 (July 2000), pp. 7-16.

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