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Obama Administration's Policy Adjustments toward Vietnam and the Future Trends of the U.S.-Vietnam Relations

Author: WangYun
Tutor: ZhangMinQian
School: Institute of International Relations
Course: International relations
Keywords: Obama administration Vietnam Policy Administration
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Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2012
Downloads: 7
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Abstract


Since the end of the Cold War, from the Clinton administration to the Bushadministration, and then to the Bush administration, U.S. policy to Vietnam hasexperienced changes correspondingly. Overall, U.S. has moderate its attitude towardsVietnam gradually; economic cooperation has been unlocked step by step; more U.S.attention has been paid in security and defense for Vietnam; military ties havedeveloped from zero to some extent.; ideologically, U.S. has never stopped on theinput of democracy, religious freedom and idea of human rights to Vietnam. at thebeginning of Obama administration in power, the U.S. government has determined to“return to Asia” in2009.Since the year2010, a notable feature of U.S. foreign strategyis to accelerate the eastward shift of its global strategy, in order to strengthen thestrategic plan in the Asia-Pacific region and enhance its existence in Southeast Asia.In realizing this strategic goal, the Obama administration focuses on the in-depthdevelopment of the bilateral relations. This can be proved by U.S. Secretary of State’sfrequent visits to Vietnam–twice within one year. Vietnam is the key factor for theUnited States in Asia and in Southeast Asia. As a result, the cooperation between theUnited States and Vietnam has been increased.The United States believes that Vietnam will become an important intermediate powerin Southeast Asia. Description of the objectives of the U.S. policy to Vietnam is veryclear in the Congressional Research Service (CRS)’s report in July2011. U.S. policyobjectives to Vietnam includes: develop a more harmonious bilateral relations; leadVietnam into the ranks of the mainstream countries as far as possible; open theVietnam market for the U.S. trade and investment; promote the development ofVietnam’s human rights and democracy; balance of China’s increasing regionalinfluence; maintain U.S. influence there. Obama administration has a wide range ofstrategic considerations in adjusting its policy toward Vietnam. In the context of U.S.global strategy, Vietnam is becoming increasingly important in U.S. foreign policyconsideration. As the rise of China became a sense of threat posed to the United States, the U.S. policy adjustment is required. China and Vietnam has long history of disputes,given this, the United States hopes to take advantage of Vietnam to counterbalanceChina. Hillary Clinton has said publicly that if the United States wants to build asuccessful regional architecture, it will depends on effective cooperation with India,Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Mongolia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei and otherPacific Island Countries. The United States accounts China as the most complex andsignificant factor that affects its relations with these countries. Regarding the Obamaadministrations strategic return to Southeast Asia as a huge jigsaw puzzle, Vietnam isabsolutely an indispensable piece of this game. US-Vietnam relations have beendeepened since the end of the Cold War. Starting from the search of missing personsin the Vietnam War until now, the bilateral relations is developing in various fields.Especially in the period of the Obama administration, the United States attaches greatimportance to Vietnam and the bilateral relations grow rapidly. In political, economicand military fields, the cooperation between the two countries has experiencedunceasing deepening and produced positive effects. However, the differences betweenthe two countries still exist. Therefore, the future development of the bilateralrelations is still uncertain.

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