Tag: Hanoi

“Sometimes you have to walk,” Mr. Trump said.

Thursday, 28 February, 2019

The date was 12 October 1986 and the place was Reykjavik. President Ronald Reagan got up and and walked out of a summit with a Communist Party boss, Mikhail Gorbachev, of the Soviet Union. “What appears to have happened in Iceland is this,” the New York Times opined. “Mr. Reagan had the chance to eliminate Soviet and U.S. medium-range nuclear weapons in Europe, to work toward a test ban on his terms, to halve nuclear arsenals in five years and to agree on huge reductions later. He said no.”

The awful Willian Greider of the equally awful Rolling Stone titled it “Reagan Flubs Reykjavik Summit” and claimed that “the President’s obsession with Star Wars allowed Gorbachev to outmaneuver him on arms control.”

And today? The same sour faces, the same ominous predictions and the same visceral instinct of the Left to blame the US for everything.

What appears to have happened in Hanoi that North Korea would not agree to the denuclearization that the US wants, and the US would not agree to the dismantling of all the sanctions it has placed on North Korea. The temptation for President Trump to reach some kind of deal must have been huge and he’d have enjoyed returning from Vietnam with news to to put the Michael Cohen show in the shade, but he walked, as Reagan once did. And we remember who won and who lost the Cold War, don’t we?


New year, new repression

Wednesday, 2 January, 2019

The old year was ebbing towards its end when Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Iran, took to Twitter to wish people “from all races, religions and ethnicities — a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.” This is the height of cynicism, given that Zarif represents a regime that supports terrorism, pushes gays off buildings, forces women to wear mediaeval garb and refuses to allow the people of Iran free access to the internet.

Just as vile as the regime in Tehran is the regime in Hanoi, which has imposed a draconian new law requiring internet companies in Vietnam to remove content the communist authorities regard as “toxic” and compels them to hand over user data if asked to do so. The law also bans internet users from spreading information deemed to be “anti-state or anti-government,” as well as prohibiting use the internet to “distort history” and “post false information that could cause confusion and damage to socio-economic activities.” The law came into force a week after Vietnam’s Association of Journalists announced a new code of conduct on the use of social media, forbidding its members to post news and photos that “run counter to” the state.”


Meanwhile, in Vietnam, they’re telling the Big Lie

Friday, 7 March, 2014 0 Comments

Truong Duy Nhat worked as a journalist at a state-run newspaper in Hanoi before quitting three years ago to concentrate on his blog, “Another Point of View.” He wanted, he said, “to write about things that I want to write.” Truong Duy Nhat Earlier this week, he was sentenced to two years in prison. His crime? The government charged him with “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe the interests of the state.”

The infringement of those “democratic freedoms” centred on a post he wrote last May calling for the resignation of Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung for failing to fight corruption. Dung has been linked to a series of major scandals, including the collapse of Vinashin, the national shipbuilding company and former star of Vietnam’s state-owned enterprises, which sank under $4 billion in debt.

The latest Vietnamese crackdown on free speech has targeted bloggers, activists, lawyers, Buddhist monks and Christian clergy and it’s part of a cynical move that would make Putin proud. For example, on the very same day that Truong Duy Nhat was being sentenced, the country’s Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh was in Geneva championing “Vietnam’s commitment to ensuring and promoting human rights” at the 25th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. This is a classic example of the Big Lie, which George Orwell termed “blackwhite” in his novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four: “Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts.”


At the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Sunday, 6 May, 2012

A trip to the big city of Hanoi is a memorable occasion and a group photo in front of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum belongs to the essential rituals of the excursion. Visitors should note that legs must be covered, silence must be observed, hands must not be in pockets, nor arms crossed. Photography is […]

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“In response to the heat, residents sheltered in forests or near waterfall.”

Thursday, 3 May, 2012

It’s hot in Vietnam. No, make that unbearably hot. Here’s what happens when the temperature reaches 43C: “In Hanoi, a great number of people rushed to supermarkets, cinemas, indoor recreation centres, and green parks to avoid the hot weather. The hypermarket Big C Thang Long was packed with visitors from 9 am. The ‘escapees’ included […]

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Hanoi

Saturday, 28 April, 2012

It’s very hot and humid here. One visitor remarked that this is a city dominated by motorbikes, all of which seem to be making a mad dash for something just out of reach — all the time.