Laos: Partially False Alarm

With no weightier weapon than the press communiqué, Laos' rattled politicians managed to convince the world last week that the brink of war was near. "Foreign forces of North Viet Nam have attacked." cried the Laotians. "An estimated strength of six battalions." Next day Information Minister Bouavan Norasingh announced dramatically that the northern provincial capital of Phongsaly had just fallen, though "our troops fought to the last bullet." Who had captured Phongsaly? Bouavan stared at the ceiling for a moment and answered: "The Viet Minh and the Chinese Communists." With no...

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