Tuesday, April 14, 2020

U.S.S. Teddy Roosevelt Outbreak PROVED Just How Irresistable Nước Chấm Ever Was....,

thediplomat |  Trust can never be earned; it must be given. This is true in all relationships, including geopolitical ones. Vietnam and the United States are commemorating the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year. While sailing has not always been smooth, both countries have worked hard to enhance trust. Late last week, both nations took a big step to catapult mutual trust to a new level – and it had China’s attention.

Vietnam hosted the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and a ship from its strike group through the weekend at the commercial port of Da Nang. There can be no more powerful symbol of America’s commitment to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific than the presence of a United States aircraft carrier. The visit comes two years to the day from the historic first post-war aircraft carrier visit to the country. I coordinated the first visit and witnessed how such port calls, if managed correctly, enhance strategic trust.

Hanoi carefully balances its security relations with both Washington and Beijing. The presence of a hundred thousand tons of steel can easily tip the balance and complicate Vietnam’s willingness to welcome future U.S. Navy ship visits. During the March 2018 port call, the U.S. Navy downplayed the ship’s obvious “hard power” capabilities. Instead, we emphasized professional exchanges between cooks and firefighters, and organized band concerts around town and community events at local schools. The visit did nothing to provoke Sino-Vietnamese tensions. Rather, it deepened strategic trust and helped to establish the positive conditions necessary for this year’s event.

The port call of the Theodore Roosevelt has already helped to deepen bilateral trust. Six thousand sailors visiting a nation adjacent to the epicenter of the ongoing coronavirus health crisis certainly stimulated a debate in both Hanoi and Washington about proceeding with the visit. Both countries have legitimate health concerns. For its part, the United States Pacific Fleet has directed its ships to remain at sea for 14 days following a foreign port call in Asia to identify any spread of the contagion. 

The easiest and safest choice would be to for one side or the other to have postponed this significant event. Mutual willingness to proceed with the visit, however, indicates that the trust between Washington and Hanoi has reached a new level.