Money and Puppets
As discussed in class this week, the South Vietnamese government demonstrated some self-destructive policies that led to a revolving door of leadership and plummeting approval from the general population of Vietnam. As demonstrated in the video below, even NATO allies couldn’t spin the corruption of the South Vietnamese government in a positive light.
Ironically enough, during the video, “Madam Ngo” states that it will take more than money and puppets to control Vietnam. Yet her husband had a place in a regime propped up by the United States and largely funded by foreign powers wishing to fight against communism. The most reporters could do during the story was paint the North as Communist in stark contrast to the “free” south. Even then, President Kennedy can be heard in an interview advising against the discriminatory policies of South Vietnam, and Madam Ngo’s comments are seen as blunt. Despite the apparently devastating coup against Diem leading to the installation of a new regime, it is clearly stated that US aid will be sent to South Vietnam shortly after Diem’s downfall.
However, in one rare moment of foresight and clarity, Madam Ngo appears to make one meaningful comment during a press conference. She makes the claim that, while the new regime might be popular in the United States, popularity in Vietnam is what matters. Ironically enough, her own relatives failed to realize this and were subsequently executed or driven out of the country.
 Columbia Broadcasting Inc. CIA Archives: The South Vietnamese Coup Against Ngo Dinh Diem (1963) Accessed on Youtube 4/23/2015.