This chapter explores the contention that Germany and Vietnam were both divided states and divided nations before their respective (re)unification in 1990 and 1976. Politically, mountain passes marked Vietnam's seventeenth-century division into rival regions and twentieth-century schism into two republics. Nation-building in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) revolved around their competing claims to be the sole legitimate representative, or 'rightful political embodiment' of the German nation. Vietnam's accession to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1995 signalled its readiness to pursue regionalism as part of its continuing nation-building project. The chapter argues that it was primarily in Vietnamese and German national interests to take part in regional integration, for historical, political and strategic reasons. Accordingly, regionalism is an integral part of their nation-building ideologies.
This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this volume, which is about the connection between the United Nations' (UN) evolving approach to intra-state conflicts and the value system of the international community. This study takes issue with the relatively reductionist explanations of what the UN is and how it relates to peace and security. It explores the interest-norm complexes within which the cases in the Congo, Cyprus, Angola, and Cambodia were handled by the UN. This volume shows how relevant actors' normative preferences were resolved in specific peacekeeping environments where the UN was especially active in addressing intra-state conflicts.