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tv   Normalization of Relations with Vietnam  CSPAN  September 12, 2015 1:35pm-1:49pm EDT

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eega on her discovery that her father was camponcentration commandant. he had dogs, two dogs, and he trained them to tear humans apart. i think it sums it up very good. he was a person that there was a pleasure he felt when he killed people. when youomething that are normal, if you don't have this aspect in your personality, it is very difficult to grasp. easterny night at 8:00 and pacific on c-span "q&a." recently american history tv was
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historians of of american foreign relations. we spoke to graduate students about the research. amanda demmer, you are focusing a lot on the vietnamese and americans. let me begin with the benchmark of 1975, the fall of saigon. your research picks up after that. explained. ms. demmer: most histories of the vietnam war and with the fall of saigon. what my research does is begins with that moment and looks at this period that is often considered an epilogue, from the fall of saigon to present bill clinton announced relations normalized in 1995. the 20 year period and the role
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of refugees issues towards vietnam in that time. host: they just think part of the story is the normalized relations we now have with vietnam. ms. demmer: this is something that i think most americans aren't familiar with. nor relations with cuba were not normalized until very recently. after the war, policy makers extended the embargo to the entire country and refused to extend diplomatic relations to the new vietnam. really for 20 years, in the formal sense, there are no economic or diplomatic ties. host: there are different ways that vietnamese residents come to the u.s. in different ways, talk about that. as of april 1975, as the communist forces are
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making advances in vietnam, u.s. officials see the fall of saigon coming. infrastructure is laid to try to secure the evoc of actuation of close america allies that would reprisals if they had stayed. about 125,000 evacuated alongside u.s. personnel in 1975. the really significant disparity between those that leave, and the many that were involved in anti-communist efforts, civil and military officials of south vietnam, they faced dire straits in a way. this precipitates what scholars call the refugee question. not only are there the famous boat people, those that chose to chance and fairless sea journey,
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rather than stay in vietnam, , or thee children offspring of vietnamese soldiers and women. politicalare prisoners. right now, my research focuses on the political prisoners, or those that the vietnamese put in reeducation camps. host: one forgets what big of a story those children were in the 1970's. can you explain that. especially in vietnam. ms. demmer: it is really a new demographic shock, if you will. soldiers who are having relations with vietnamese women, and often times, their offspring are widely discriminated against. they are often abandon or they, and their mothers, face
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widespread discrimination in terms of jobs, housing, food, things of that nature. there is a really significant afterquestion, especially 1975, does the united states have an obligation to those who are so obviously a legacy of american involvement in vietnam. in terms of the legal side of it, citizenship, policy -- are they american citizens? how did they come to the united states if they can't prove who their father was? authority --lot of theny questions that country has to grapple with. host: we have been talking to a lot of historians, but in your area of expertise, it is unique ly recentt is relativ and you have first-hand accounts of people to talk to. ms. demmer: i have just begun
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the interview process. i have used the project as what historians call top down, and also bottom-up. in the top-down approach, i am talking to american officials. i had the chance to interview a prisoner of war during the conflict and the congressman thereafter, and the first u.s. , and otherto vietnam officials, state department officials, and so on. process of begun the ,alking to vietnamese americans something i will be turning my attention to in the near future. there is a surprising quality of , andrchival records left that is what i have been focusing on. host: you talked about normalized relations with cuba. it has been 20 years since we with vietnam,ons
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led by bill clinton. what lessons can we apply from be non-tequila or other countries? ms. demmer: this is a very important question, something i will hopefully be looking more at in the future, just what we mean by normalization. i think it is important to remember that each of these case studies has been different. one obvious example is that when president clinton announced normalize relations with vietnam, congress had already lifted the embargo on vietnam. whereas, with cuba, president obama announced relations normalized, but the embargo remains. malleablevery concept, where we are -- we don't have a set definition of the announcement of normalization. to 1975.ant to go back the war had just ended, one of
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the most divisive wars in history. thousands of men had died in vietnam, the draft was in place, and yet, when the war came to an end, these americans came to the -- vietnamese americans came to the u.s. take us back to what these vietnamese were thinking, and why they wanted to come here? ms. demmer: this is perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of my research, looking at these compelling human stories. in the case of 1975, you have a huge moment where a country, south vietnam, the republic of exists on theger map. this group of people is somewhat stateless, in a way. the group that i look at, the families of vietnamese political prisoners association, i will just call them the association.
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the association is founded in 1977 by the enemies americans, mostly women, who have husbands, brothers, and sons incarcerated in political prisons in vietnam. they are able to enjoy the benefits of living in an american society while their loved ones are in what have been compared to concentration camps, hard labor camps and vietnam because of their support for south vietnam. it is a really poignant story of family separation, something that has significant parallels with the very powerful president war lobbyprisoner of those who fought in the army republic of vietnam. their families are having a similar story in the postwar period. host: this year, marking the
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40th anniversary of the fall of saigon. how have those who came in those ways and subsequent waves assimilated to the united states? ms. demmer: i must confess, i'm primarily a diplomatic scholar, said don't quite study assimilation in the same way that immigration scholars what. towould say that the group -- go back to the specific example of the association -- they have really adopted the american ly political process. they became citizens and abby politicians to have solution to their problems, in the same way that americans born and raised here will choose their elected representatives and lobby them for change. certainly, embracing the political process is something immediatelyd almost
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in the specific case. host: you are about two years away from completing your doctoral dissertation, good luck to you. still a lot of research to go. what are you looking at and why is this of interest to you? ms. demmer: it is up interest for a number of reasons. i think that this is a narrative story that has been told by very thoughtful, well known historians, but this piece about vietnamese americans missing, i think, has the narrative .ncomplete thus far i'm very happy to be's begin to an issue and re-including this group that deserves our historical attention, but also to be focusing on an issue of reference jesus -- of refugees that have an immediate
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and things ofia our times. i will interview, to get back to your question, and also human rights organizations and how they tried to influence american foreign-policy. host: those unanswered questions are what, moving ahead to things you are most interested in? ms. demmer: one key question that has implications for the past and the present is what is normalization, and what is the role of refugee politics and issues of migration in that process. we often consider these things -- what i am arguing is that we have to be open to the idea that these are linked to one another. by ignoring human rights or
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refugee politics, we are depriving ourselves of the key way that states normalized relations with one another. host: good luck with your research. amanda demmer of the university of pennsylvania, we appreciate your time. ms. demmer: thank you for having me. the c-span and on networks, politics, books, and american history. on c-span tonight at 8:00 p.m., speeches by two republican presidential candidates. first, scott walker. then, bobby jindal at the national press club. sunday at 6:45 p.m., to profile profiles. first, george pataki. then, rick santorum talks about his time in congress, is 2012 presidential run, and why he is running a.

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