The Accidental Overture : American Foreign Aid and the Origins of the Hmong-American Alliance 1950 - 1960
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When CIA agent Bill Lair and Hmong leader Vang Pao met in 1961 and formally agreed to an alliance, the US had been priming the Laotian Hmong community to accept. To explain both the impact of these aid programs and the reason for their implementation, this paper will provide a timeline on both the Lao Civil War and the Hmong. Next, it will escort the reader through the unique diplomatic situation of Cold War Laos by discussing the Geneva Accords, the SEATO alliance, and the ineffectiveness of the Royal Lao Government. The paper will conclude by detailing the scope and impact of American aid programs in Laos. These programs, intersecting with the existing Hmong political culture, formed the basis of the Hmong-American alliance. The author concludes that rather than disappearing into history, the Hmong diaspora in America has preserved their heritage and produced a new generation of cultural, professional, and community leaders.
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