ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Long Haul

imvonff, Souvanna Phouma and Bourn surn agreed to set up a provisional palition; another one later in the same ear providing for the same three freeing that Souvanna Phouma would e the Prime Minister of a government which would include eight neutralist, our Pathet Lao and four Bourn Oum ominees; the third at Geneva, in Miliary 1962 on the specific composi- on of the cabinet; and the fourth, the 962 Geneva agreement on Laos. All the agreements followed the same attorn: the initiative for peace Invari- bly came from the Pathet Lao and s invariably the agreements were louted by the Vientiane regime with he connivance of its US mentors. Every one of these abortive peace greements has been followed by further communist gains on the battle- ield. Elsewhere in Indochina too national liberation struggles have followed the same course. For instance, vietnam communists' control of virtual- y the whole of the Central Highlands today makes it possible for them to take advantage of the politics of peace. Whether the present agreement will be aborted like its predecessors it is difficult to say. However, one should not overlook the current balance of Forces in Indochina before pronouncing judgment. For one thing, the communists' control over the countryside is now decisive. Equally important, the US cannot he very anxious to directly intervene in the conflict. Though the United States' ability for mischief-making through its various agents should not be underestimated, the effectiveness of such agents in the past has been rather limited, as is seen from the fate of the various special forces raised by the Americans to fight in Laos, In these circumstances, a ceasefire need not adversely affect Pathet Lao interests. It may be that Vientiane's eagerness for peace is just a cover to gain time for strengthening its armed forces. But the Pathet Lao has faced similar situations in the past and has been able to use the contradictions, both internal and international, to its advantage in war and in peace.

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