November 19, 2006
Written by C.N.
As you might have heard, President Bush is in Hanoi right now as Viet Nam hosts the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting. It’s not every day that the President of the United States comes to visit Viet Nam. In fact, the only other time was President Clinton’s visit in 2000. So are the Vietnamese excited to have Bush in town? According to the Associated Press, apparently the answer is, not really:
“I don’t care about Bush’s visit,” Lac said in an alleyway parallel to the hotel, where the president’s greeting party was limited to a lone flag-waving American who works for the American Chamber of Commerce. “It doesn’t do me any good. It doesn’t do me any harm.” Lac’s indifference, which appeared to be shared by many Vietnamese, was a sharp contrast to the reception that Bill Clinton received in 2000, when he became the first American president to visit since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.
Unlike the joyous crowds that stayed up late for Clinton’s unannounced midnight flight into Hanoi’s international airport — a half-hour drive from downtown — Bush’s late-morning arrival drew mostly the curious rather than the devoted, other than the police maintaining a security perimeter around the hotel. . . . Ton Nu Thi Ninh, deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Vietnam’s National Assembly, said many Vietnamese, especially veterans who fought the Americans, find the Iraq war unforgivable.
People on the street — even those born since the Vietnam war ended 31 years ago — also dislike the Iraq invasion. “I don’t hate Bush personally, but I strongly opposed his invasion of Iraq,” said Nguyen Thi Tu Oanh, a fourth-year university student from Hanoi. “Vietnamese people have been through so many years of war and they don’t want to see the Iraqis, most of them civilians, to bear the losses and suffering of the war there.”
There you have it. It is certainly understandable that much of Viet Nam is rather turned off by the U.S.’s invasion of Iraq, perceived by many Vietnamese to be another misguided attempt to forcefully impose American-style ideals upon a foreign power. Actually, it’s quite ironic that Bush is visiting the country that many critics are comparing his war in Iraq to. Will being in Viet Nam lead to any sort of spontaneous revelation about history repeating itself for Bush?
I’m not holding my breath . . .
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Vietnamese Indifferent to Bush Visit" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2006/11/vietnamese-indifferent-to-bush-visit/> ().
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