Reconciliation, from Vietnam to Iraq - By Austin Bay
Vietnam and the United States "have a history," in the negative sense of the colloquial expression.
Last week's trip to Hanoi by President George W. Bush was about forging a new, positive relationship -- a new and better history.
After noting that Vietnam's prime minister had educated his children in the United States, Bush observed, "It shows how hopeful the world can be and how people can reconcile and move beyond past difficulties for the common good."
Bush used the tough but necessary word: reconcile.
Yes, a realpolitik energizes the emerging U.S.-Vietnam rapprochement. Vietnam worries about Asia's "Colossus of the North," China. The Vietnamese believe a solid Hanoi-Washington relationship will counter Chinese hegemony.
Washington and Hanoi want to establish a mutually advantageous trading relationship. In colloquial terms, that translates as, "Let's make money together." Capitalist victory? You bet. In Vietnam, communism is kaput as an economic model -- it is litter in history's dustbin.