Iran-Contra Hearings Begin
George H. W. Bush Elected U.S. President
Vietnamese Troops Leave Cambodia
All Vietnamese troops exit Cambodia by September of 1989, paving the way for U.N.-sponsored elections in 1993. As a result of the elections, a coalition government is formed and work on a new constitution begins.
U.S. Leads Operation Desert Storm
Bill Clinton Elected U.S. President
The Vietnam War becomes an issue during the presidential campaign of 1992 as Democrat Bill Clinton's efforts to avoid service in that war are contrasted to the military record of incumbent president George H. W. Bush. But Vietnam will not be a lingering issue; Clinton will defeat Bush, and independent challenger Ross Perot, with 43% of the popular vote.
Washington Restores Diplomatic Ties with Hanoi
As Communist Vietnam inches toward market reforms and pledges full cooperation in finding all Americans listed as Missing In Action, the United States restores diplomatic ties with its former enemy in 1995.
McNamara Calls Vietnam Policy "Wrong, Terribly Wrong"
Former defense secretary Robert McNamara, one of the key architects of U.S. war policy in Vietnam, admits grave mistakes in that policy in his 1995 memoir, In Retrospect. McNamara writes, "We were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why."
U.S. and Vietnam Exchange Ambassadors
Ushering in a new era of cooperation between the two former enemies, the United States and Vietnam exchange ambassadors. Douglas "Pete" Peterson, a prisoner of war for 6 years during the Vietnam War, is named U.S. envoy to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, while H E. Le Van Bang assumes the position of Vietnamese ambassador to the United States.