Monday, May 22, 2006
Vietnam and the United States are to sign a trade agreement at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Ho Chi Minh City on June 1-2, Vietnamese Trade Minister Truong Dinh Tuyen says. The two countries reached an agreement in principle during negotiations earlier in May.
The more of this, the better. In this narrow sense, I am a Clintonian.
I live in Orange County, California. On this matter I will defer to my many Vietnamese friends who setted in my hometown after the great communist takeover. From past experience, I don't think they are going to like it, and they pay much closer attention to their native country than I do.
It took us less time to patch up relations with Germany, Japan, and Red China. I think it's about time we started talking with Vietnam. Spite should not color power politics.
It even makes strategic sense; they have no love for China.
You're absolutely correct, dawnfire. By the same token, there is no practical reason why there should be no rapprochement with Cuba. The chief reason that there hasn't been is a large, wealthy and still bitter exile community in a major swing state.
Unfortunately, unlike Germany and Japan the government of Vietnam is still Communist and is therefore by definition a criminal enterprise.
Even the government of the People's Republic of China formally renounced Marxism in 1984.
I say we treat them like what they are - and like Cuba and North Korea therefore ensure they are kept among the most wretched of the Earth - and serve as an example to others who would embrace that failed philosophy.
To clarify that last question, Deng did not renounce Marxism when he amended it to include "Chinese characteristcs," and the Chinese Communist party insists to this day that they are still practicing communism. Vietnam is going along the same road of reform that China travelled. Even Castro's Cuba is softening. After all, I am not sure where in Das Kapital the stetting up of luxury hotels for foreign bourgeoisie appears. So, basically, the idea is that if you are going to suggest cold shouldering every communist regime undergoing transition, how can you logically exclude China?
Every case is different. China is obviously profoundly different from North Korea, even if they both claim to be Communist, just as Poland was very different from Albania back in 1983.
I am not so sure, though, that it makes sense for us to trade with Cuba. After all, everybody else has been, and it does not seem to have opened up Cuba in the least. The countries that trade with Cuba have been strengthening and sustaining Castro, rather than weakening Communism. This may be because Cuba is an island, and therefore far less susceptible to the effects of informal intercourse with the outside world.
Honestly, TH, do we really care whether the Communist regime in Cuba is strengthened or weakened? The cold war is over. Cuba is no longer a satellite of a powerful nation holding a counter-ideology to our own. It is an island backwater with a political and economic system that at this point qualifies as quaint. Trade has not caused the "Communist" regimes in China or Vietnam to fall, but it has certainly brought with it economic and political liberalization as well as a rising standard of living for the people of those two nations. Why is it that Cuba's Communist leadership is more odious that China's or Vietnam's?