National Security

Trump in Hanoi and the Western Fallacy

It is fascinating to watch the president in Hanoi at a summit hosted by a nation we were at war with less than fifty years ago. In fact, when I joined the Army in 1980 Saigon had fallen just five years in the past. The people of Hanoi seem to have gotten over the conflict and enthusiastically welcomed Trump to their nation. And why not?

We just inked major aerospace deals with Vietnam and Americans, who years ago replaced the Russians as a strategic ally and economic partner, are probably the most popular they have ever been in the unified country. Know who else is popular there, at least in spirit? Benito Mussolini. Hear me out.

Mussolini, during his about twenty-year reign in Italy, governed by the notion that a civilized nation will trade a lot for political stability and a full stomach. Throw in the mirage of glory and keep the repression understated and most people will go along without much problem. Keep regime mitts off of civic and religious organizations? Even better for most and insurance for a longer lasting rule. Though, it helps to mind who your friends are.

Combine that with the Eastern notion of the collective and you see the spirit of Il Duce stalking the streets of Hanoi. It is a Western fallacy that all people want liberty and individual rights, as do we and the rest of the Anglosphere.

Our Western ideals come from centuries of tradition to include the Bible, Greek philosophy, Roman law, 1688, Magna Carta, 1776, the Constitution, etc. When that timeline is lacking, as in Vietnam, the lower levels of Maslow’s hierarchy take precedence. Even when it is present, as it was in Italy in the 1920s, people can be convinced otherwise after national trauma and tumult.

Freedom or material comfort? Hanoi, like many others in the East, has made its choice. Much of humanity agrees with them.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
David Kamioner

A veteran of service with US Army Intelligence, the Pershing Nuclear Brigade, and the First Infantry Division, Kamioner is a graduate of the University of Maryland’s European Division and spent over twenty years as a political consultant, college instructor, non-profit director, and corporate PR director. He hails from New York City and grew up in South Florida. He served with the American Red Cross as part of the relief effort for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. For several years he ran homeless shelters, most recently homeless shelters for US military veterans. He currently is a Senior Contributor for, a writer for American Greatness, and has been published in LifeZette. He is the author of the novel "Prisoner of the Chattering Class" and lives in Annapolis, Maryland.

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