[Marxism] WSJ column by Vietnamese ambassador to U.S

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Nov 16 15:11:52 MST 2006

Normalized relations with Washington have made relations with Vietnam
much, much better. Someday, Washington will see the light and normalize
relations with Cuba. The United States lost 58,000 U.S. soldiers in
Vietnam. Not one single soldier from the United States military has
been killed in combat in Cuba. Normalization would benefit both
countries and, anyway, Washington's blockade of China failed after
thirty years. Washington's blockade of Vietnam failed after twenty.
Still, Washington isn't yet ready to fully normalize relations with
Vietnam, as we saw when Congress refused to complete the process by
fully normalizing trade relations with Vietnam.

Washington's blockade of Cuba has been going on for nearly fifty
years, and it, too, has failed. Granted, Cuba is both much closer
geographically, and culturally. Vietnam and China are both much
further away geograohically and culturally, and because of their far
larger populations, constitute a much larger potential market for
U.S. commodities than Cuba ever could. And Cuba's political system
isn't much different from that of China or Vietnam today: Cuba's is
also a one-party system

Washington is very reluctant to give up its effort to overthrow the
Cuban Revolution. Cuba is the one that got away. Cuba is the one
which shows that you CAN fight city hall and win. Cuba is the power
of a positive example. And this is true despite the numerous social
problems and contradictions and difficulties which afflict Cuban
society today. 

Here in these the United States, of course, there are no problems, 
as "Everybody Knows" (in Leonard Cohen's sense of the idea: 
That's why US society is the model which MUST be imposed on Cuba. <g>

Walter Lippmann
Los Angeles, California



The Wall Street Journal
November 14, 2006

The New Vietnam
Hanoi in Full Bloom
November 14, 2006

HANOI -- I began my first term as Ambassador of the Socialist
Republic of Vietnam to the United Nations in January 1993, in New
York City. I was given two tasks: to work with the U.N., and to
negotiate the normalization of Vietnam's relationship with the U.S.
It was right in the middle of the Northeastern winter, and
U.S.-Vietnam relations were still frozen.

However, in the spring of that year, the ice on the East River began
to thaw. By autumn, the U.S. removed the embargo on World Bank
lending to Vietnam. In February of the next year, the U.S. trade
embargo on Vietnam was lifted, leading to the establishment of
diplomatic relations in January 1995. U.S. President Bill Clinton
visited Vietnam in 2000. The two countries agreed on a bilateral
trade agreement in 2001, and our prime minister visited the U.S. at
the invitation of President George W. Bush in June last year, marking
the first-ever visit by a Vietnamese state leader since the war.

Within a span of a decade, the U.S.-Vietnam relationship has evolved
from nearly nonexistent ties to normalization. It is now ready to
move to new heights. On June 13, draft legislation granting permanent
normal trade relations (PNTR) status to Vietnam was presented to the
U.S. House of Representatives and Senate for consideration and
approval. In this week's session, the U.S. Congress now has the
opportunity to lay the final span of the bridge to normalization of
U.S.-Vietnamese ties.

This development takes place at a time when Vietnam is transforming
at a rapid pace. Visitors to my country today are greeted with big
and colorful signs and billboards about the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) meetings to be held in Hanoi this month. In
addition to welcoming the leaders from 21 Asia-Pacific economies,
Vietnam will also receive five official state visits during APEC's
14th Economic Leaders' meetings. While the APEC meeting is the apex
of Vietnam's diplomacy this year, there is a strong sense of
optimism, too, as World Trade Organization officially accepted
Vietnam as a full member on November 7. Adding to this joyful
atmosphere, all countries of Asia unanimously agreed to nominate
Vietnam for the non-permanent seat of the U.N. Security Council for
the term of 2008 to 2009.

A strong sense of optimism exists throughout Vietnam. This year, the
economy is expected to grow 8.2% and absorb $6.5 billion of foreign
direct investment. Total trade volume is estimated to increase more
than 24%, to nearly $78 billion. On November 10, Intel announced a $1
billion investment in Ho Chi Minh City's high-tech park. Vietnam is
expected to attract nearly three million visitors this year. The new
government is determined to carry out our policy of openness and
comprehensive reforms, called doi-moi. The fight against corruption
is strong and gaining momentum.

On the eve of President Bush's visit, the PNTR bill is much talked
about. By granting PNTR, the U.S. Congress would approve the result
of bilateral negotiations between the two countries that concluded on
May 31, laying the groundwork for this month's vote.

PNTR is not only a gesture of full normalization; it is the engine
for the next step in advancing U.S.-Vietnamese relations. The
economic relationship between the two countries is a two-way street
and rapidly expanding. Total trade volume may reach $10 billion this
year. The U.S. is now one of Vietnam's largest trading partners. A
country of 85 million people, Vietnam is a promising market for
American goods. Right now, the biggest items on our purchase list are
Boeing airplanes, Lockheed Martin satellites and others, such as Ford
SUVs and Wisconsin beef -- but this list is growing. Already, people
are bracing for the roar of Harley-Davidsons on Vietnam's roads.

Together with the bright prospect for mutually beneficial economic
relations, there are other aspects of the relationship that should be
noticed. The two countries have maintained newly established defense
contacts. American naval ships visit Vietnam annually and two U.S.
secretaries of defense have visited Vietnam since the 1990s. There
already exists a strong cooperation program on antiterrorism and
antidrug trafficking, and concerned agencies are talking of ways to
further promote this cooperation. Efforts to account for missing
American servicemen have been ongoing for more than 15 years, and
will be further expanded. The two countries have also forged a strong
partnership in the fight against the AIDS epidemic and avian

On top of all these developments, this month we will welcome
President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush to Vietnam for the APEC
meetings. It will be another opportunity for us to showcase the
Vietnam of today -- not "Vietnam as a war," but "Vietnam as a country
and a people." We want to show the dynamism, the progress, and the
eagerness of the Vietnamese people to look forward to an
ever-brighter future. We want to show that while the wounds of war
are still there, the seeds for a better relationship between the
people of the U.S. and Vietnam have been planted.

We want, too, to make sure that misinformation about Vietnam will be
amended. To some who still comment and cast judgments from a
distance, we want to dispel rumors, particularly about press freedom.
Not only is the U.S. Department of State's website available on the
Internet in Vietnam, but also those of Radio Free Asia, Voice of
America, the BBC, and The Wall Street Journal, among others.

Forty-seven years ago, when former President Ho Chi Minh directed
Vietnamese forces to guarantee the safety and aid in the passage of
America's downed pilots back to Allied territories at the height of
the World War II, he had hoped that the U.S. would play a part in the
future of an independent Vietnam. The relationship between our two
countries is strong and growing. Now is the right time for us to
shelve the past and look toward the future. We should not miss this

I left Washington D.C. in 2001 after nearly nine years as the first
Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the United States,
when the spring cherry blossoms were in full bloom.

Mr. Bang is deputy minister of foreign affairs of the Socialist
Republic of Vietnam. He was Vietnam's ambassador to the U.S. from
February 1995 to June 2001. This is the first in a series on Vietnam
this week.


Vietnam Blocked from US Perma-Trade

Hanoi, Nov 14 (Prensa Latina) Vietnam condemned the US House of
Representatives rejection to grant it the condition of Normal
Permanent Trade Relations (NPTR) which would facilitate commercial
bilateral links between the two countries.

"It is regrettable the House of Representative did not pass the bill
to establish normal commercial relations between the two countries,"
expressed the Vietnamese secretary of press and information Le Dzung.

The spokesperson said that decision does not back the two nations
interests, especially those of US business circles.

Vietnam hopes the US Congress reconsiders the NPTR rule in the near
future to boost both countries relations.

That measure´s approval is necessary to make the legislature ratify a
bilateral trade agreement signed in June in Ho Chi Minh City between
Vietnam and US authorities.


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