The Right Asian Deal, By Roger Cohen – The New York Times

“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.”

Source: The Right Asian Deal – The New York Times

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.


In Obama’s Visit to Hiroshima, a Complex Calculus of Asian Politics – The New York Times

ISE, Japan — Eleven United States presidents have been elected since President Harry S. Truman decided to drop an atomic weapon on Hiroshima, and none has set foot in that traumatized city in the 71 years since, at least not while in office.President Obama intends to end that streak with his visit on Friday, a decision that speaks volumes not only about his presidency but also about the increasingly worrisome struggle among powers great and small in East Asia.Mr. Obama’s predecessors had good reasons to avoid Hiroshima. None wanted to be seen by American voters as apologizing for a decision that many historians even today believe, on balance, saved lives. And there were worries about how such a visit would be viewed in China, South Korea and other countries in Asia that suffered from the brutal World War II killing machine that was Imperial Japan.

Source: In Obama’s Visit to Hiroshima, a Complex Calculus of Asian Politics – The New York Times

Obama in Vietnam Will Focus on Future, Rather Than the Past – The New York Times

“For Mr. Obama, the trip to Vietnam offers an opportunity to help solidify not only his promised pivot of American policy toward Asia, but also to deepen economic and security ties with an increasingly important regional player.But for the United States’ Vietnam War veterans, a presidential trip to the country where many of them lost their youth, innocence and some of their closest friends is weighted with powerful emotions and never-ending debates about that war’s consequences.”

Source: Obama in Vietnam Will Focus on Future, Rather Than the Past – The New York Times