President Barack Obama’s announcement in Hanoi on Monday that Washington is lifting its four-decade-old arms embargo on Vietnam is described by the media, and Obama himself, as a decisive step in the “normalization” of relations between the US and Vietnam.
That process has been ongoing since the restoration of diplomatic relations in 1995. On the military front, the US agreed to sell Vietnam non-lethal military hardware in 2007, and last year it agreed to provide the Vietnamese coastguard with five unarmed patrol boats.
While there are no immediate prospects for massive arms deals between Washington and Hanoi, the US gesture is aimed at drawing Vietnam more closely into the orbit of US imperialism and the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia.” It seeks in Vietnam, as in Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Australia and elsewhere in Asia, the creation…
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