Vietnam asks too much of the U.S.
Hoang Binh Quan’s July 5 op-ed, “A flourishing relationship with Vietnam,” mentioned potential U.S. humanitarian aid to Vietnam to help heal the wounds of a war that ended four decades ago.
When President Jimmy Carter reached out to Vietnam in 1977 in an attempt to normalize relations between our countries, Vietnam’s insistence on aid, or reparations, led to the failure of the effort. A year later, the Vietnamese dropped the aid condition, but it was too late. The United States had larger issues in the Pacific, and Vietnam was on the back burner. It was not until the Clinton administration that diplomatic relations with Vietnam were initiated.
The Vietnamese now seem to be waving the aid flag as a condition of improved relations. Expanded ties, on economics and security, benefit both countries as a counter to China’s increasing aggressiveness. Mr. Quan should not overplay his hand by attaching aid conditions to the maturation of the U.S.-Vietnam relationship.