Category Archives: Vietnam

VIETNAM IS WELL, BUT THAT ANGERS WESTERN IMPERIALISM, by Andre Vltchek

Hanoi skyline

Some fifteen years ago, when I lived in Hanoi, I used to come very often to the rooftop bar at the Meritus Hotel for an evening drink, just to feel the gentle breeze and to spot ancient cargo boats majestically sailing on the surface of the Red River. Sometimes the river could be clearly visible, but often it was covered by fog, like in an old Vietnamese painting.

There were villages on the horizon, consisting mainly of simple ‘tunnel’ houses, and I could also see a few skyscrapers in the center of the city. Far below, the buildings on the shores of the ‘Little Lake’ were colorful, nostalgic and picturesque.

Hanoi was melancholic and poor, but it was what it was, and one could love it or hate it, but never be indifferent to it.

It was also the capital of a socialist country, a proud country, which defeated both French and US imperialists. It was a symbol of resistance, a beacon of hope for many poor and struggling countries, and like Cuba, a living proof that a determined and proud nation could dare to stand up and even win against the mightiest and the most venomous enemies.

At some point, Meritus changed its name and its owner. It became Sofitel and just recently was converted again, this time to Pan Pacific. The rooftop bar survived. The skyscrapers grew all around the city. They now cover almost the entire horizon; suddenly Hanoi has a real skyline. You look into the distance, and what you see could be anywhere else: in Shanghai or Dallas, Bangkok or Johannesburg… but only with half-closed eyes.

Enthusiastic Communist posters have survived, or at least some of them. Others mutated and migrated to new huge modern digital billboards. They are shining into the night, and the images are constantly changing: Uncle ‘Ho’, pioneer children, workers and soldiers ready to defend their country.

“Is Vietnam still a Communist country?” I keep asking wherever I go, for years. I ask the same question in deep villages and major cities. It is because the answer seems to be essential to me. It is because so many millions of Vietnamese people died, fighting for their country and then trying to fulfill their dream of a social homeland.

The answers I receive are often evasive. For some reason, the eyes of many are downcast.

“What happened, Vietnam?” I want to ask, but Vietnam is one great and long stretch of land following the seashore; it does not speak, it does not reply to rhetorical questions. Most of its people are free to speak, they are able to reply, but for some reason they don’t. Are they confused as much as I am?

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WILL VIETNAM EMBRACE CHINA AFTER TRUMP ELECTED?, by Andre Vltchek

Common wisdom says that after Donald Trump got elected in the United States, Vietnam should be in panic.

True, there could be some ‘objective’ reasons for alarm, if one is truly obsessed with the ‘free’ trade agreements.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership may soon go to the dogs and at least one sizeable part of the Vietnamese leadership was counting on it, hoping that it would boost the economy, particularly its garment and agricultural sectors.

However, Vietnam is and always was tough, and on top of it, there are many signs indicating that the public and many government and Party heads are actually demanding a more ‘hardline’ Communist path, not just more business activities.

Earlier this year, the Secretary General of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trong, was re-elected, while Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung was pushed from power. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported:

“Mr Dung was the party’s strongest voice in denouncing Beijing and was credited with Vietnam’s smooth accession to a US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

In brief: he was one of the main local advocates of the pro-Western foreign and economic policy, which was setting Vietnam on a dangerous crash course with China. And he is gone…

After the recent election results in the United States were announced, Vietnam is set to move much closer towards both China and Russia. President-elect Donald Trump’s ‘exceptionalist’ and often anti-Asian rhetoric is already setting off alarm bells all over the region: from Hanoi to Jakarta, and naturally from Manila to Beijing.

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Donald Trump is now getting ready to murder the ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership’ (the 12-nation trade pact). Vietnam, which during the previous years developed (pragmatically) a very close relationship with the Obama administration, is watching nervously. Before the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party earlier this year (and particularly since a new Constitution was adopted in 2013), Vietnam introduced and passed around 100 new laws, some described rightly or wrongly by Western analysts as ‘pro-market economic reforms’.

Undeniably, some in the Vietnamese leadership believed that their country would be one of the main beneficiaries of the TPP.

There was even some muted grumbling about the ‘growing strategic relationship’ between Vietnam and the United States.

To impress the West, particularly the United States, Hanoi kept ‘improving the business climate’, ‘easing its trade regulations and yielding to various demands from Western and Asian businesses and corporations.

Most alarmingly, Hanoi’s confrontational stand towards China was changing from rhetorical to ‘tangible’, after Vietnam began expanding its runway – and according to Reuters and other Western sources – after it began deploying several rocket launchers in or near the disputed area in the South China Sea.

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To say that ‘Vietnam changed its basic positions opportunistically and abruptly’ would be wrong. Even before the US elections, Vietnam began ‘diversifying’ its foreign policy.

Now Hanoi is hoping for the deal that is being proposed by China: a 16-nation agreement called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which would include Vietnam and the rest of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, plus Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.

Relations between Hanoi and Beijing have been rapidly improving. It is becoming clear that Vietnam may be following the example of the Philippines, backing off permanently from the confrontational course with the most populous nation on earth. Significantly, the top Vietnamese leadership recently hosted the outspoken anti-imperialist President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. To quote Gary Sands from the Foreign Policy Blogs:

“…While the previous administration in Hanoi had angered Beijing by seeking legal advice from Manila in order to potentially file their own claim at The Hague, the new leadership under Quang appears to be backing off confrontation with Beijing, along with Manila. Any jointly-coordinated legal or military effort between Hanoi and Manila appears now to be out of the question for fear of provoking the dragon next door, while we await the outcome of hopefully peaceful bilateral negotiations.” 

The ideological stand of the Vietnamese leadership became clear following the death of the Cuban leader Fidel Castro Ruz. The country announced a day of mourning and Vietnam’s government and Party officials delivered powerful emotional revolutionary and internationalist speeches.

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One major problem is that the Western perspective has managed to kidnap almost entirely the narrative on the country – the way all major or minor developments in Vietnam are being perceived and interpreted. This does not necessarily apply to the Vietnamese people, although many of them are actually also consuming Western propaganda at an excessive rate. However, it definitely applies to how the rest of the world understands (or misunderstands) Vietnam.

The slowing down of Doi Moi pro-market reforms is hardly addressed by Western mass media. As they hardly address any social changes in neighboring China. In Europe and the US it is generally perceived that both countries are determinately and happily embracing the market economy concepts.

The reality couldn’t be any farther from that. In China and in Vietnam (although still more in China), the majority of the population has been disappointed, even disgusted, by capitalist practices. People are demanding the re-introduction of essential socialist principles. In China, under the leadership of President Xi, the government is yielding to the people’s demands. It appears that Vietnam is paying close attention to its giant neighbor in the North, and is also willing to reconsider its hard-core pro-market stands.

The people of Vietnam may be hopeful, but they are not necessarily content, in the cities and in the countryside. Life is now better than two decades ago, but expectations are also much higher. ‘Socialism Vietnam-style’ would most likely be welcomed by the majority, and could be coming soon!

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(First published by NEO)

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are revolutionary novel “Aurora” and two bestselling works of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and  Fighting Against Western Imperialism. View his other books here. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Al-Mayadeen. After having lived in Latin America, Africa and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

 

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Southeast Asia “Forgets” About Western Terror, by Andre Vltchek

Source: Counterpunch

Heroic Vietnamese women destroying US tank
Heroic Vietnamese women destroying US tank

Southeast Asian elites “forgot” about those tens of millions of Asian people murdered by the Western imperialism at the end of and after the WWII. They “forgot” about what took place in the North – about the Tokyo and Osaka firebombing, about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs, about the barbaric liquidation of Korean civilians by the US forces. But they also forgot about their own victims – about those hundreds of thousands, in fact about the millions, of those who were blown to pieces, burned by chemicals or directly liquidated – men, women and children of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, the Philippines and East Timor.

All is forgiven and all is forgotten.

And once again the Empire is proudly “pivoting” into Asia; it is even bragging about it.

It goes without saying that the Empire has no shame and no decency left. It boasts about democracy and freedom, while it does not even bother to wash the blood of tens of millions off its hands.

All over Asia, the “privileged populaces” has chosen to not know, to not remember, or even to erase all terrible chapters of the history. Those who insist on remembering are being silenced, ridiculed, or made out to be irrelevant.

Such selective amnesia, such “generosity” will very soon backfire. Shortly, it will fly back like a boomerang. History repeats itself. It always does, the history of the Western terror and colonialism, especially. But the price will not be covered by the morally corrupt elites, by those lackeys of the Western imperialism. As always, it will be Asia’s poor who will be forced to pay.

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