The Title of this episode, The Times are A-Changing in Vietnam, is an apt description of what’s happening in the country of Vietnam today. An article titled A window of opportunity for reforms in Vietnam written by Dien Luong, a Masters Degree candidate at the Columbia School of Journalism is featured in this episode. The writer starts out by describing the results of the recent Communist Party of Vietnam five-year national congress election. The entrenched communist party boss, Nguyen Phu Trong beat out the conservative (freedom loving and free trade advocate), Nguyen Tan Dung.
Despite all the complexities involved in the US – Vietnam relationship it appears the two countries will inevitably grow closer to each other in both the economic and political arenas. The more serious aspect of a relationship between Vietnam and the US is political and military. As China grows economically it is more enabled to pursue its territorial ambitions and becoming a world power. Going back to the beginnings of human history the Chinese have pursued domination over East Asia and today they apparently still maintain that strong desire to rule the area. Vietnam is an area China dominated for hundreds of years and still is considered to be a vassal like state of the bully to the North. If the US appears to be interfering with the domination of Vietnam by China it could cause a little trouble between the US and it’s major financier.
The economic relationship of Vietnam and the US is coming along quite well. Trade between the two countries grew to $14.5 billion in 2015 and it is on track to grow even more in the future. Another factor that will no doubt assist in the growth in trade between the two countries is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Obviously Vietnam is very interested in growing its economy. Being the only communist member of the TPP, they had to make significant concessions in the human rights area to enter and receive the economic benefits of membership.
The times are a-changing for Vietnam and the USA.