Last week, President Obama met at the White House with Truong Tan Sang, the president of Vietnam. At the end of their meeting, according to the official White House release, Obama said:
We discussed the fact that Ho Chi Minh was actually inspired by the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and the words of Thomas Jefferson.
This weekend, I wrote an op-ed about it for the Wall Street Journal (unfortunately, subscription is required); I argued that Ho Chi Minh is more than likely laughing at our president from his grave. Rather than being any kind of a Jeffersonian democrat, he was a committed and disciplined Marxist-Leninist, trained at the infamous Lenin School in Moscow in the 1920s.
It is true that more than once, Ho Chi Minh made a shrewd tactical maneuver, a key instrument in the Leninist playbook. Seeking U.S. and Western support for his anti-colonial Communist movement, he decided that his effort might be rewarded with aid and military supplies against the French, and that goal could be attained more easily if he invoked the American Founding Fathers as his inspiration.