In previous episodes the story of growing US rapprochement with Vietnam has been featured. Vietnam is rapidly becoming a major trading partner with the US as its economy shakes off the shackles of communist governance. This is occurring more in the southern portion of the country that was formerly the nation of South Vietnam. The north is more ingrained with Bolshevik thinking which inhibits the growth of free enterprise and personal liberty.
Another factor greasing the skids for improved relations between the two countries is the specter of an increasingly menacing China. Vietnam wants support from the US and it seems the US is most willing to provide that support in an effort to build a “fire wall” to reign in Communist Chinese influence.
Now that Vietnam is beginning to enjoy the largess of American generosity, the poor country of Laos is hoping to get in on the same gravy train of US assistance. US Secretary of State John Kerry (who by the way was in Vietnam) is visiting Vientiane, Laos hoping to make friends with the communists now in charge. He is hoping to offer them money to remove some or all of the unexploded ordinance deposited on the Laotian landscape during the late war with the US and North Vietnam.
A CNN story by Elise Labott CNN titled: Obama to push to clear Vietnam-era bombs is featured in this episode. It tells about John Kerry’s trip to Laos which is intended to “help usher in a new partnership with a former wartime foe and end a dark American legacy that has lingered since the end of the Vietnam War. It also comes ahead of next month’s summit in Sunnylands, California, between President Barack Obama and 10 Southeast Asian leaders, and a landmark trip by the President to Laos this fall.
The story also tells about the efforts of Channapha Khamvongsa who fled her native Laos as a refugee at age 7 with her family and who has returned to her native land. She is working to get funding from this country to dispose of unexploded ordinance that is still killing Laotians.