Back to Vietnam

Courtesy Reuters

With the State Department's announcement this year of a new "road map" for eventual normalization of relations with the communist government in Hanoi, the Bush administration appears to be inching slowly, if reluctantly, toward the formulation of a new U.S. policy toward Vietnam. The new approach attempts to look forward rather than back. More than 16 years after the fall of Saigon, such change is long overdue.

Since the end of the war in Indochina, U.S. policy toward Vietnam has been guided mainly by hostility and lingering resentment. The United States has had no diplomatic relations with Vietnam despite the fact that the communist government would appear to have met any suggested criteria for qualifying as the de facto rulers of a legitimate nation-state. Instead the United States lists Vietnam as one of a handful of "enemy" countries, along with Cuba and North Korea, that are barred from receiving

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