Sunday, July 13, 2014

Vietnam’s Overdue Alliance With America

By TUONG LAI, NYT, JULY 11, 2014

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — OURS is a small country. We Vietnamese cannot and must not entrust our future to anyone, but we urgently need strategic allies at a moment in history when our priority is to defeat our present-day enemy: China.

China’s move in May, to place an offshore oil rig on the Vietnamese continental shelf, and its arrogant statements in June, at an Asian security summit meeting known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, exposed China’s sea piracy to the world. These developments should alarm anyone in Vietnam who still clings to the myth of brotherly love between our nation and China.

We cannot fight Chinese encroachment alone. Political isolation in a globalized world is tantamount to committing political suicide for Vietnam. And the key ally for Vietnam today is the United States — an alliance that the Vietnamese liberation hero Ho Chi Minh ironically always wanted.

The Vietnamese people have fought for thousands of years to maintain our culture and independence, in the shadow of a giant neighbor. But continuing blindness and stupidity have poisoned generations of Vietnamese leaders, even when their Chinese “comrades” blatantly started a border war in 1979 and invaded and occupied the Paracel Islands in 1974 and the Spratly Islands in 1988 — which for centuries both belonged to Vietnam. After the revolutions in Eastern Europe in 1989, Vietnamese leaders tried to protect Communism from an embarrassing demise in Southeast Asia. At a now-infamous meeting in Chengdu, China, in 1990, Vietnamese leaders signed agreements that made our country even more dependent on China — a betrayal of our interests and a national shame.

(More here.)

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