Vietnam Arms Embargo to be Fully Lifted

May 23, 2016
by: connorc

Today, president Obama announced in Hanoi, Vietnam, that the United States would be lifting the decades-old ban on selling armaments to Vietnam. This embargo originates from the Vietnam War era of the 60's and the goal of the lifting of it is to eradicate the last of tensions from that war, and give Vietnam the ability to defend itself from the Chinese and other aggressors. President Obama was quoted saying, “The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations,” he said, with the Vietnamese president, Tran Dai Quang, standing stiffly by his side. “It was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving toward normalization with Vietnam.”

Mr. Obama insisted that the move should not be interpreted as carte blanche for weapons sales to Vietnam and that the United States would review future arms sales to “examine what’s appropriate and what’s not,” as it does with any country.

“We’re going to continue to engage in the case-by-case evaluation of these sales,” Mr. Obama said. “But what we do not have is a ban that is based on an ideological division between our two sides.”

As for human rights, he said, “this is an area where we still have differences.”

These quotes were taken from an article in the New York Times describing the lifting of the ban. (

Humans rights advocates argue against the lifting of the ban, claiming that lifting it is giving the Vietnamese a reward that they don't deserve. However, the Vietnamese president and government continue to insist that perpetuating human rights is one of their main concerns, and Obama recognizes their efforts as well.

The whole deal comes out to over $16 billion in profits for the United States, which leads this reader to wonder whether this is the right decision for our country, or whether it's just about improving our economics. In fact, all three of the big presidential candidates - Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump - oppose the pact. With all of these factors, is this pact with Vietnam the safest thing for the world currently? What do all of you think?

I personally think that this deal is appropriate. I trust Obama's judgement on Vietnam's security, and on the benefit that this plan will bring to our country. While I have my skepticisms, I don't see the harm in lifting the 40 year old ban on selling weapons to Vietnam.