“HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — An American who has been a resident here for a few years said to me the other day: “You know, they still look at us here the way we want to be looked at. America equals opportunity, entrepreneurship and success. That’s not true in so many places anymore.”Four decades after the war, in one of the world’s consoling mysteries, the United States enjoys an overwhelming approval rating in Vietnam, reflected in the outpouring of enthusiasm for President Obama during his three-day visit last month. In this fast-growing country of 94 million people, about one-third of them on Facebook, America is at once the counterbalance to the age-old enemy, China, and an emblem of the prosperity young people seek.
The best way to kick Vietnamese aspirations in the teeth, turn the country sour on the United States, and undermine the stabilizing American role in Asia, would be for Congress to fail to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Obama’s signature trade agreement with 11 Pacific Rim countries including Vietnam but not China.”
Good piece Roger Cohen, but please write more. I support the TPP because it was supported once by Hillary Clinton, and is today supported by President Obama. Also, my broad understanding is that it is less about trade than regional politics. It is a serious effort to stay in a leadership role in East Asia, and prevent China from completely supplanting us, and our values, in that region. China is today a menace to it’s neighbors, just ask the people in Tibet. Vietnam has been invaded by China at least eight times since 101 BC. Back then,I they occupied Vietnam for a thousand years, until expelled finally in 937 AD.
The TPP is also purported to have good environmental rules, especially about the waters and fisheries.
Please address several of the main concerns of the vocal critics here in the comments section. To what extent does this give corporations power to bypass American law, or prosper while hurting the public? The attack, that we are giving up sovereignty seems absurd, but is it? How do we fact check all the mud that is being slung at this deal. Which of these accusations have merit, and which do not? Who are the international trade experts in this country, and what do they think?
David Lindsay is about to publish his first historical fiction, The Tay Son Rebellion, 1770-1812.