Barack Obama is not a stranger to Asia. The President has just begun his 10th trip to the region, though this visit does have a new twist. During his stay in the area, Obama will be visiting Vietnam for the first time during his stay in office. President Obama is hoping that the visit to the communist country will repair some hard feelings and build some new relationships decades after the two countries engaged in armed conflict.
President Barack Obama knows Vietnam has a complicated relationship with the United States. It should be pointed out that despite that rather complicated relationship, Obama isn’t going on some apology tour. Instead, this visit is all business, and an attempt by the United States to recruit yet another ally against China. This is also why President Obama’s visit is a tricky one. China isn’t going to be very happy that Vietnam might be joining the fray against the largest country in the region.
Barack Obama, according to NBC News, is also trying to make sure his legacy is very much secure. President Obama has been working hard to highlight Asia and turning Vietnam into something close to an ally is just one more plank that should help to cement that legacy. Vietnam has been a country the United States has kept out in the cold since the Vietnam war ended. While the U.S. will never admit it lost the Vietnam war, the two countries have been entities that barely ever talk since the conflict came to an end.
— dna (@dna) May 22, 2016
The U.S. also may not admit it lost the Vietnam war, but the side it was supporting, South Vietnam, has since been absorbed by the North and turned into one, unified Vietnam. It appears the Obama administration and some prominent members of Congress have decided it’s time to figure out a way to do more than coexist. The Obama administration would like to eventually call Vietnam a partner, but to do that, the U.S. would have to lift trade embargoes that have been in place since the end of the war.
One of the embargoes that Vietnam would like President Obama and Congress to life would be an arms embargo. Vietnam has claimed lifting this ban would go a long way towards showing it the United States is truly dedicated to forging this new partnership. The flipside of this agreement is lifting that arms ban would anger China, according to DNA India. China is against Barack Obama working to forge strong military relationships with countries like Vietnam and other neighbors in the region.
So far, President Obama does not have word on whether or not the government has decided to lift the ban on Vietnam. There are some who think the talk of allowing Vietnam to purchase weapons from the United States is little more than a bargaining chip to wave at China. For the sake of the budding relationship between Vietnam and the U.S., President Obama better hope the talk is a bit more than that.
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Vietnam is not the only part of Asia President Obama will be visiting. This visit will include a stop in Japan. During this visit, Obama will become the first sitting president to visit Hiroshima since the atomic bombs were dropped on the city. This is more of the attempts by the Obama administration to repair some hurt feelings and damaged relationships without officially apologizing for anything. Japan and the United States certainly have a better relationship than what we see with Vietnam, but doing something like this means the Obama administration can continue to repair relationships. This helps the legacy of Barack Obama while helping the country, especially with countries like Vietnam at the same time.
[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]