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U.S. Outreach to Vietnam is Beneficial

Updated: Mar 15

Relations between the United States and Vietnam have been complex. The words “strained” and “tense” come to the minds of most foreign relations scholars. The shadow of the Vietnam War looms large.

In the 1900s, war broke out when Ho Chi Minh took over North Vietnam and expelled the French government, establishing a communist regime. In an attempt to prevent South Vietnam from unifying with the North, the United States intervened.

During this time, the U.S. was in a Cold War with Russia. The objective was clear: stop the spread of communism globally. Vietnam became a natural target. But after much bloodshed and violence, the United States did not emerge victorious.

As a result of the United States’ involvement in the war, Vietnam was left distraught and bloody, having suffered many casualties. This violence, caused by the United States, ultimately led to a decades-long, diplomatic chasm.

However, President Biden visited Vietnam this September in hopes of forming a diplomatic agreement. Biden met with Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the communist party of Vietnam, and finalized a comprehensive strategic partnership to promote peace, cooperation and sustainable development between the countries.

President Biden’s decision to reconnect with Vietnamese officials is a step in the right direction. U.S. outreach to Vietnam is beneficial and the United States should continue to develop positive relations with its former adversary. 

For one thing, developing relations with Vietnam will allow the United States to outsource the production and manufacturing of domestic companies. Vietnam is a resourceful country and can provide American companies an opportunity to conduct business operations cost-effectively and efficiently.

In addition, expanding business relations with Vietnam will decrease America’s dependency on China. The majority of the United States business operations take place in China. Decreasing dependency on China will allow the U.S. to decrease international risk, and threats and may weaken China‘s international influence. 

The U.S. will be able to add Vietnam to the current strong base of allies it has in Asia. Along with India, Japan and South Korea, Vietnam will strengthen U.S. influence in South and Southeast Asia.

Japan in particular gives us a good case study. Despite WWII, the U.S. decided to make Japan their ally during the Cold War in an attempt to stop the spread of communism throughout Asia.

After the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan was economically distraught. The U.S. sent aid to help restore Japan, making the country an ally. Since then, relations have remained strong and have served as a big help to the United States and the global community overall.

Through these strong relations, the United States and Japan have been able to promote technological, scientific and educational progress globally. This relationship has enabled diplomatic initiatives such as the Japan-U.S. Strategic Energy Partnership, the Japan-U.S. Strategic Digital Economy Partnership and the Japan-U.S. Mekong Power Partnership.

Japan shows us how re-establishing diplomatic relations with former enemies can be very beneficial. Vietnam presents another opportunity.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.


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