Lifestyle & Belief

Cali 'burbs to Vietnam officials: don't come 'round here


A young Vietnamese girl shields herself with a national flag at a Hanoi stadium.



Despite a history of brutal warfare, followed by a long spell of deep mistrust, ties between Vietnam and America are growing warmer by the year. 

You would be hard pressed to locate many people who regard this as a negative development. Unless you happened to start looking in the suburbs of Orange County, that is.

As if stuck in the Cold War, the governing council of Orange County's Garden Grove issued a formal resolution discouraging Vietnamese officials from visiting their city, according to the Orange County Register.

The paper also reports that the city's incoming mayor recently told a rally that "We really don't want 'em." Similar policies are on the books neighboring cities, including Santa Ana.

I suppose this plays well to the area's large Vietnamese immigrant population which, like most Vietnamese immigrants to the U.S., trace their exodus back to the former American client state of South Vietnam.

The relationship between the U.S. and Vietnam, while not cuddly close, is warmer than ever. A mutual fear of China's rise, and America's appetite for cheaply manufactured goods, has a way of stoking the embers of friendship. As I reported earlier this year, the two nation's militaries -- despite having blown each other to shreds a few decades back -- and even conducting joint drills together.

This suggests that, in Vietnam's halls of power, the head honchos are more interested in mutually beneficial progress than stewing over Agent Orange or My Lai or, say, the White House-sanctioned coup and assassination of South Vietnam's president.

As Vietnam's Tuoi Tre outlet reports, Hanoi's foreign ministry has stated that "such resolutions are wrong, like a fish out of water, and go against the trend of the two countries’ development relations."

Spokesmen for the communist government have a habit of sounding like propagandists. Leave it to suburban Orange County politicians to make them sound perfectly reasonable.