Delusion and Reality

In This Review

Delusion and Reality

By Janos Radvanyi
Gateway, 1978
330 pp. $10.95
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A rare and fascinating insider's view of Russian, East European and Chinese roles in the Vietnam War. The author, prior to his defection in 1967, was Chargé d'Affaires of the Hungarian Embassy in Washington. Particularly for the 1965-67 period, the author sheds considerable new light on Sino-Soviet relations, Soviet foreign policy, matters of internal Soviet politics such as the ouster of Shelepin, and on the way in which East European diplomats gathered and evaluated information. The account is particularly detailed on various Polish and Hungarian interventions in the relationship between Washington and Hanoi which, in the author's view, were not sanctioned by the North Vietnamese but were designed to encourage U.S. concessions and to enhance the prestige of the East European diplomats. There is little evidence that the Russians were prepared to play the role of honest broker in these years. Rather, Moscow's central objective was to wean Hanoi away from Peking by making the North Vietnamese increasingly dependent upon sophisticated Soviet weapons supplies. Finally, what emerges from this intriguing account is the supreme confidence of the Hanoi leaders that they could defeat the United States, no matter how many American troops were sent, because of American inexperience in fighting a jungle war.