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Vietnam falls to McDonald’s; threat of war with China to recede

Thursday, 18 July, 2013

Loved this bit in the Wall Street Journal report about the news that McDonald’s is to open its first outlet in Vietnam: “The company said it had chosen Henry Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American investor and the son-in-law of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, as its main franchise partner in the country, based on a ‘rigorous’ selection process.” The ‘rigorous’ there is priceless.

It was Thomas Friedman, star columnist with the New York Times, who first suggested “The Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention,” namely: No two countries with McDonald’s in them will ever go to war. In other words, if you have a middle class big enough to support burger franchises, Friedman’s theory goes, war is a thing of the past. So, when Hanoi and Beijing have their Golden Arches, that bit of bother in the South China Sea will ebb. However, writing in July last year, Walter Russell Mead cast a critical eye on the theory in “Pakistani Burger Joints Put McDonald’s Theory To The Test“. Read the whole thing.

On Saturday, by the way, Thomas Friedman will be 60.


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