Hello all. This most recent Monday was September 2, 2019, the 74th anniversary of Vietnam’s Independence Day.
At the end of World War II, on the same day that the Japanese surrendered to the American troops in Japan, Ho Chi Minh stood on a pedestal in Hanoi and read the Declaration of Independence which he had written. This declaration was well aimed at the American side of the war, as it mimicked in many ways the American Declaration.
Unfortunately, as three decades of war attest, that didn’t work. But Vietnam has liberalized its economy and reformed itself to the point of becoming a world competing economy. And with the luck of the trade war bearing fruit for Vietnamese supply chains and manufacturing, there looks to be a boon coming in the next few years.
But what is behind all that? Is Vietnam something special? Is it so different from China in its approach to the economy? To society?
I would argue that, yes, it is. Vietnam is a distinct and unique country with a very special heritage and history. Though many of its cultural norms migrated from China during the Chinese occupations and the Le Dynasty in the fifteenth century, Vietnam remains distinct.
Not only is it different geographically, but historically, Vietnam has laid its own path, marching less along the lines of Communism and its ilk, than upon the lines of good for its own society. Though there were experimentations in the fifties and sixties, and only in the seventies and eighties did Doi Moi come into being, the history of Vietnam is one of economic power. They defeated four world powers. They have turned the destruction and misery of war into the future.
I would praise Vietnam for its history, for its people, for its place in the global world. Sure, this is an encomium, but hey, it’s Independence Day week. Let Vietnam celebrate its uniqueness. Let Vietnam take a moment to remember the struggle of decades to free itself from the oppressive colonialism of the West, and the stifling Communism of the East. It’s taken time, sure, but it’s on the right path, and if things continue the way they are, Vietnam is poised to become a huge economy on a global scale.