Following the leaders in Vietnam

Following the leaders in VietnamThe Vietnam Communist Party (VCP) is scheduled to hold its next national party congress reportedly in early 2016. There are signs, however, that consensus has not been reached on a number of issues including the South China Sea and relations with China and the selection of Vietnam’s future leadership. This could result in a rescheduling of the…

Vietnam, US Agree to Dance, if Not to Boogie

Vietnam, US Agree to Dance, if Not to BoogieA wave of euphoria – there is no lesser word for it – swept over Vietnam last week, triggered by a collective perception that, yes, Hanoi and Washington have truly buried the hatchet, some 40 years after People's Army tanks rolled into Saigon, 20 years after the two nations reestablished diplomatic relations. Communist Party General…

The Unsteady Path to US-Viet Relations

The Unsteady Path to US-Viet RelationsPrime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan will return to Tokyo a satisfied man after opening the doors for greater involvement of his country in global security affairs. Although the extent to which Japan will contribute remains to be seen, the new US–Japan defense guidelines have nevertheless been described as “transformative.” Predictably, China has taken issue…

40 Years After US Exit From Saigon

40 Years After US Exit From SaigonAs Vietnam and the US mark the 40th anniversary of the end of their bitter war on April 30, it’s surprising how far the two countries have come in normalizing relations. To be sure, there are still areas where ties could be deepened, particularly in military-to-military interaction.  The US is held back by concerns about human…

Canadian Legislation Annoys Hanoi

Canadian Legislation Annoys HanoiA bill introduced in the Canadian Senate to commemorate the struggle that began for refugees on the day Vietnam fell to the communists is generating friction between Hanoi and Ottawa. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has written directly to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to register his concern over the measure, which would declare April…

Vietnam’s Communists Conjure with the Internet

Vietnam’s Communists Conjure with the InternetThe leaders of Vietnam’s Communist Party are groping for answers on whether Facebook is a mortal threat to the party’s grip on power or if it is a new opportunity to communicate with the country’s 90 million citizens. As the party begins a highly political year, with a possibly momentous Party Congress on the horizon),…

Change Coming in Vietnam?

Change Coming in Vietnam?Vietnam faces a highly political year in 2015. Inside and outside its Communist Party, elite attention is riveted on the likely outcomes of the party congress that will convene in January 2016. Political decisions are monopolized by the party, by law Vietnam’s only political party and “the force leading the State and society”. Current leaders…

Vietnam: Open Secrets on the Road to Succession

Vietnam: Open Secrets on the Road to SuccessionThe normally opaque Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam has made a public splash with its recently concluded 10thCentral Committee plenum. The stakes are high and carry implications not only for Vietnam’s development but also for the strategic outlook of the entire region. So what exactly is going on? The excitement centers on…

Vietnam Expects Intense Political Year in 2015

Vietnam Expects Intense Political Year in 2015Vietnam begins 2015 on a fairly sound economic footing. The national economy has largely recovered from Hanoi’s ill-advised efforts to mitigate the impact of the 2009 Great Recession. That sobering experience exposed structural weaknesses which, left unfixed, could condemn Vietnam to languish in a middle-income trap, unable to realize the potential of its relatively young…

The Significance of the US-VN Arms Deal

The Significance of the US-VN Arms DealThe US’s partial suspension of its decades-old ban on weapons sales to Vietnam on Oct. 2 was one of the most significant steps in improving relations between the two former enemies since they normalized diplomatic ties nearly two decades ago.  The US State Department made clear this decision related only to maritime surveillance systems and…