Tony Leon Columnist

A couple of weeks ago, from 10,000km away, I had an epiphany. Or several of them. On a family vacation, I was standing outside the enormous, postmodern Samsung factory near Da Nang, a coastal city and resort in central Vietnam. The first of these was a remembrance, aided by Max Hastings’ new book, Vietnam — An Epic Tragedy, that Da Nang’s very modern airport served during the enervating Vietnam War as the major base for the US Air Force. At the height of the war it recorded more aviation traffic than any other place in the world. And, of course, US Air Force chief of staff General Curtis Le May boasted, amid the aerial dropping of more than 7.5-million tons of bombs (more than three times the total ordinance dropped in World War 2), that “we are going to bomb the North Vietnamese back into the stone age”. Today’s sightings in and beyond Da Nang reveal the precise opposite: Vietnam has emerged from the burdens and embers of more than 50 years of conflict as a powerhouse economy whose...

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