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The American Dream in Vietnamese$
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Nhi T. Lieu

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816665693

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816665693.001.0001

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Assimilation and Ambivalence: Legacies of U.S. Military Intervention

Assimilation and Ambivalence: Legacies of U.S. Military Intervention

(p.1) Chapter 1 Assimilation and Ambivalence: Legacies of U.S. Military Intervention
The American Dream in Vietnamese

Nhi T. Lieu

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines the discourses that surround the figure of the Vietnamese refugee in America. It traces the history of U.S. military intervention and economic sponsorship of South Vietnam, suggesting that the treatment of refugees by mainstream media during and after relocation served to mask the U.S. government’s complicity in the Vietnam War. It shows how the assimilation of Vietnamese refugees into the American landscape simultaneously served both domestic and foreign policy in promoting the United States as a democratically exceptional nation that does not engage in colonialism but fights for freedom. It cites the United States’s failure to attain freedom for the Vietnamese as a historical lesson, but argues that this legacy of American intervention in the fight for democracy does not deter future engagements with war in the Persian Gulf. The chapter considers how the ambivalent incorporation of Vietnamese Americans into Americans society took place in a way that fostered a double identity for refugees.

Keywords:   military intervention, South Vietnam, Vietnam War, assimilation, Vietnamese refugees, foreign policy, United States, democracy, Vietnamese Americans

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