Boots & Sabers

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0744, 24 May 16

Obama Lifts Arms Embargo on Vietnam

Once again, Obama acts unilaterally.

Yet it’s just bizarre that Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry seem to think that our embargo was more of a problem than the Communism itself. Even if Red China is itching for a war in the South China Sea.

Arms to Vietnam have a certain logic. It’s like Winston Churchill saying, when the Nazis entered Stalin’s Russia, that if Hitler invaded Hell he’d at least make a favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.

In Southeast Asia the theory is that the Communists in China are more of a threat to American interests than the Communists in Vietnam, China’s traditional foe. Yet Obama is denying that the end of the arms embargo is linked to China.

It was, he insisted, based on “our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving towards normalization with Vietnam.” But he has brushed aside all sorts of red flags about the nature of the regime.

Human Rights Watch sent him a letter nearly a month ago, warning of what he was dealing with in Vietnam’s Communist camarilla. It called Vietnam’s government “one of the most repressive in the world.”

Here’s the thing… I support the selling of arms to Vietnam, but not for the reasons Obama states. As the column above mentions, China has been aggressively expanding into the South China Sea. They are creating islands and placing military bases on them in order to exert control over one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. They have threatened the United States and other nations who venture into their new “territorial waters.” China is clearly a large geopolitical threat that is emerging into a superpower at the expense of America.

Allowing the Vietnamese, who have historically opposed China, access to advanced American weaponry makes sense as a counterweight in the region. Of course, doing so is to accept the likelihood that the Vietnamese government will continue to do what it it does – oppress the Vietnamese people.

So we have this odd situation where Obama, whose philosophy should lead him to defend the right of the oppressed, is making a decision to oppress them more. Why? Because another part of Obama’s philosophy likes Communism and hates American global dominance. Obama is making the decision to lift the arms embargo as a salve to what he views as America’s wrongs. His rationale is offensive and idiotic, but his decision is correct.


0744, 24 May 2016


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