[Letters] On the Mark

Chuck S. responds to "Vietnam And The Philippines: Allies Against Leviathan" which reader Elaine E. forwarded to him.

Excellent article, thanks for forwarding.  

Bello's seven points under his "Flaws in the Balance-of-Power Approach" are on the mark, in my opinion, and included one that had not occurred to me: the undertain postures and capacities of the U.S. and China to act in the future depending on economic and other domestic factors (as well as the U.S.'s maddening military disasters elsewhere and the continued ruin they are causing).  

Bello's first two points in this section, which I have discussed with Vietnamese friends on various occasions, are minimized by the Vietnamese—and I'm not sure why. Are they naive? Do they forget so quickly what happened 40 years ago with a huge U.S. presence here, and how we turned our backs and walked away from the Saigon regime after promising otherwise?  

So maybe Bello's warning will be accepted more seriously than my insistence that the Vietnamese should not rely on us. Maybe they'll pay attention to his point that "the United States cannot be counted on to support the Philippines and Vietnam’s territorial claims."  

His second warning, that a United States military presence is counterproductive and might lead to a superpower conflict, marginalizing the territorial question and its resolution, ought to be a no-brainer. Again, the Vietnamese seem to be looking the other way, hoping it ain't so.

I'll send the article around to a few key friends. Thanks for passing it along.