Trade with Vietnam

Thursday, Dec 10, 2009

Even though the United States-backed a 10 year Vietnam war which killed 2.5 million Vietnamese [hawaii.edu] and 58,220 Americans [osd.mil A] [osd.mil B], and wounded many more, the United States now peacefully trades and co-operates with Vietnam, still a Communist country, to the tune of about $12 billion per year:

U.S. Census Bureau, Trade in Goods (Imports, Exports and Trade Balance) with Vietnam, http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5520.html (ODS).

Vietnam did not begin to emerge from international isolation until it withdrew its troops from Cambodia in 1989. Within months of the 1991 Paris Agreements, Vietnam established diplomatic and economic relations with ASEAN, as well as with most of the countries of Western Europe and Northeast Asia.

President Bill Clinton announced the formal normalization of diplomatic relations with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on July 11, 1995.

U.S. relations with Vietnam have become increasingly cooperative and broad-based in the years since political normalization. A series of bilateral summits have helped drive the improvement of ties, including President George W. Bush's visit to Hanoi in November 2006, President Triet's visit to Washington in June 2007, and Prime Minister Dung's visit to Washington in June 2008.

In January 2007, Congress approved Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) for Vietnam. In October 2008, the U.S. and Vietnam inaugurated annual political-military talks and policy planning talks to consult on regional security and strategic issues.

Since entry into force of the U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement on December 10, 2001, increased trade between the U.S. and Vietnam, combined with large-scale U.S. investment in Vietnam, evidence the maturing U.S.-Vietnam economic relationship. In 2008, the United States exported $2.8 billion of goods to Vietnam and imported $12.9 billion of goods from Vietnam. Similarly, U.S. companies continue to invest directly in the Vietnamese economy. During 2008, the U.S. private sector committed $1.49 billion to Vietnam in foreign direct investment.

Vietnam, U.S. Department of State, October 2009, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/4130.htm.

On democide in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia versus the war:

In total, this century's battle killed in all its international and domestic wars, revolutions, and violent conflicts is so far about 35,654,000.

Yet, even more unbelievable than these vast numbers killed in war during the lifetime of some still living, and largely unknown, is this shocking fact. This century's total killed by absolutist governments already far exceeds that for all wars, domestic and international.

...It is sad that hundreds of thousands of people can be killed by governments with hardly an international murmur, while a war killing several thousand people can cause an immediate world outcry and global reaction. Simply contrast the international focus on the relatively minor Falkland Islands War of Britain and Argentina with the widescale lack of interest in Burundi's killing or acquiescence in such killing of about 100,000 Hutu in 1972, of Indonesia slaughtering a likely 600,000 "communists" in 1965, and of Pakistan, in an initially well planned massacre, eventually killing from one to three million Bengalis in 1971.

A most noteworthy and still sensitive example of this double standard is the Vietnam War. The international community was outraged at the American attempt to militarily prevent North Vietnam from taking over South Vietnam and ultimately Laos and Cambodia. "Stop the killing" was the cry, and eventually, the pressure of foreign and domestic opposition forced an American withdrawal. The overall number killed in the Vietnam War on all sides was about 1,216,000 people.

With the United States subsequently refusing them even modest military aid, South Vietnam was militarily defeated by the North and completely swallowed; and Cambodia was taken over by the communist Khmer Rouge, who in trying to recreate a primitive communist agricultural society slaughtered from one to three million Cambodians. If we take a middle two-million as the best estimate, then in four years the government of this small nation of seven million alone killed 64 percent more people than died in the ten-year Vietnam War.

Overall, the best estimate of those killed after the Vietnam War by the victorious communists in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia is 2,270,000. Now totaling almost twice as many as died in the Vietnam War, this communist killing still continues.

War isn't this Cenutry's Biggest Killer, R.J. Rummel, Honolulu: Department of Political Science, July 7, 1986, http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/WSJ.ART.HTM.

The Vietnam War ended in 1975, but the scourge of dioxin contamination from a herbicide known as Agent Orange did not.

Between 1962 and 1970, millions of gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed across parts of Vietnam.

But since the end of the Vietnam War, Washington has denied any moral or legal responsibility for the toxic legacy said to have been caused by Agent Orange in Vietnam.

Agent Orange was designed to defoliate the jungle and thus deny cover to Vietcong guerrillas.

It contained one of the most virulent poisons known to man, a strain of dioxin called TCCD.

First it killed the rainforest, stripping the jungle bare.

In time, the dioxin then spread its toxic reach to the food chain - which some say led to a proliferation of birth deformities.

In Vietnam, there are 150,000 other children like him, whose birth defects - according to Vietnamese Red Cross records - can be readily traced back to their parents' exposure to Agent Orange during the war, or the consumption of dioxin-contaminated food and water since 1975.

VAVA estimates that three million Vietnamese were exposed to the chemical during the war, and at least one million suffer serious health problems today.

Dr Arnold Schecter, a leading expert in dioxin contamination in the US, sampled the soil there in 2003, and found it contained TCCD levels that were 180 million times above the safe level set by the US environmental protection agency.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3798581.stm