Your surprise about conclusions regarding the likelihood of a strong U.S.-Vietnam allied relationship reminded me about how nervous I was before making my first trip there in early 2004. I was flat-out startled by how much Vietnamese like Americans, even in Hanoi. I discovered that Vietnamese frame their expectations of their country's relationship with the U.S. in their understanding of the U.S.-U.K. relationship--something along the lines of "You beat the British to win your independence, and now you're best friends... How about the U.S. and Vietnam?" Also, the Chinese occupied Vietnam for 1,000 years and the French led a brutal occupation that lasted from (roughly) 1847 to 1953. Compared to those experiences, the U.S. stay in Vietnam was extremely brief. The bottom line... if you're an American and you want to be treated like a king or queen, go to Vietnam.He also pointed to evidence that American and Vietnamese ties are already moving in the direction he expected. Vietnam's prime minister just announced that he plans to visit the United States next month. This is the first time since the end the war that the top leader of Vietnam has scheduled a visit to America.
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