First time in years that I agree with this President on a foreign policy matter – he should’ve lifted the Vietnam arms embargo a while ago. Acting in the U.S. national interest. What a concept … The only way President Obama could conceivably mess up this trip is to “apologize” while visiting Japan or make some other peculiar statement advancing his “world first” outlook.
As for future US arms and dual use exports to Vietnam, a balanced approach using US export control laws is still needed. There are already efforts underway on Capitol Hill to do just that, including a bill by Representative Chris Smith (R-New Jersey) to restrict arms sales to Vietnam
unless the President certifies to Congress that the government of Vietnam has made substantial progress respecting political, civil, media, Internet, and religious freedoms, minority rights, access to U.S. refugee programs, and actions to end trafficking in persons and the release of religious and political prisoners.
Rep. Smith plans to hold a press conference later this week on the measure, the Vietnam Human Rights Act of 2015.
The Congress has a big say in U.S. weapon and dual-use tech sales. Maybe while it considers the Vietnam matter, the Congress should press the administration, as a condition for allowing Vietnam arms sales, to also all Taiwan to purchase defense systems from the United States.