In previous episodes we have examined modern day Vietnam. As a Vietnam Veteran you have a tendency to always maintain an interest in that country due to the intense experiences most of us shared during our time in country. One topic addressed earlier is the economy of Vietnam and how it is rapidly growing, especially in the southern portion of the country. The northern part is a little more inclined to adhere to the bolshevism of Ho Chi Minh and its controlled economy principles. Some of the tight controls on the economy were lifted when starvation in the countryside began to occur after a Soviet-style command economy was installed after the North took over the country.
The story about Vietnam’s growing economy fit right in with the story about the US including the fledgling economic powerhouse in the new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the 12-nation trade agreement initialed in November. Vietnam was invited to join the party.
The other aspect of modern day Vietnam has a military element to it. That is the situation where it appears China is trying to take over the South China Sea. It has claimed ownership of two island groups in the Sea that is also claimed by little Vietnam and it looks like the two countries might come to blows sometime in the near future over the real estate.
In this episode an article from the Foreign Policy website titled: The Ugly Thugs Running Vietnam Aren’t Experimenting With Democracy by Thomas A. Bass is featured. It tells the “back office” story of what is happening in Vietnam underneath the facade of a booming economy with its McDonalds restaurants, shops and stores and beautiful beach resorts. Unfortunately for the people the government operates like a gang of thugs when it comes to freedom of speech and expression.
That aspect of the Vietnamese government should be taken into careful consideration when the leaders of the US consider more relations with that little country in Southeast Asia.