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Territory in southeast Asia, ruled since 1976 by the Cộng hòa xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam

Vietnam (Vietnamese: Việt Nam), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnamese: Cộng hòa Xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam), is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula. With an estimated 94.6 million inhabitants as of 2016, it is the world's 15th-most-populous country, and the ninth-most-populous Asian country. Vietnam is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, Thailand across the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, and the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia across the South China Sea to the east and southeast. Its capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1976, with Ho Chi Minh City as the most populous city.

Geographical type: Territory

Latitude: 16.17° N — Longitude: 107.83° E

Area: 332,698 km²

ISO 3166-2 code: VN

The Quiet American

Measures of Freedom

Human Freedom Index [PDF], The Human Freedom Index 2023: A Global Measurement of Personal, Civil, and Economic Freedom
2021: 5.51, Rank: 130, Personal freedom: 4.97, Economic freedom: 6.26
Level of Economic Freedom, Economic Freedom of the World
2014: 6.43, Rank: 116
Vietnam | Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2024
2016: Status: Not Free, Aggregate Score: 20, Political Rights: 7, Civil Liberties: 5
Several high-profile bloggers and activists were arrested or assaulted in 2015, and state control of the media, restrictions on religious freedom, and crackdowns on political dissidents continued. Vietnam's relations with neighboring China have been strained over disputed territory in the South China Sea, and groups of anti-China protesters gathered in Ho Chi Minh City and other cities on a number of occasions, at times prompting police violence and detentions.


Freedom, Hope, and Fear: The Paradox of Vietnam, Part 1, by Rosalind Lacy MacLennan, 13 Sep 2004
Free enterprise will not be stopped. Capitalism is respected now for good reason. People are not starving. But police presence hovers. ... 'farmers ... save money. They own their ancestral lands, where family pagodas still stand. There is respect for private land ownership.'
Freedom, Hope, and Fear: The Paradox of Vietnam, Part 2, by Rosalind Lacy MacLennan, 15 Sep 2004
... the 1993 land law enabled people to inherit, exchange, lease, and mortgage land-use rights. A miracle brought about by giving people freedom, relative to what they had known in the past. ... 'Private property is not well protected,' he said. 'You have to bribe officials to get them to leave you alone. ...'
Freedom, Hope, and Fear: The Paradox of Vietnam, Part 3, by Rosalind Lacy MacLennan, 17 Sep 2004
'We are a communist country but 80 percent of us are capitalists. There is private enterprise everywhere and the government can't stop it now.' ... Ironically, the best known of Ho Chi Minh's dicta in Vietnam presents hope at the airport: 'Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty.'
Improve the CIA? Better to abolish it, by Chalmers Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Feb 2004
Lists some of the countries where the CIA conducted subversive operations and recommends abolishing the agency
Since the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953, the CIA has engaged in similar disguised assaults on the governments of Guatemala (1954); the Congo (1960); Cuba (1961); Brazil (1964); Indonesia (1965); Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (1961-73); Greece (1967); Chile (1973); Afghanistan (1979 to the present); El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua (1980s); and Iraq (1991 to the present)—to name only the most obvious cases. [emphasis added]
A Lesson from Vietnam, Part 1, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Jan 2004
Relates key events in Vietnam from the end of World War II and the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North) in 1945 to the forming of the Republic of Vietnam (South) in 1955
At that point, the Vietminh opposing the government represented a broad spectrum of people who were united in their opposition to the French; they were not synonymous with communism. ... The issue of tribal minorities would haunt Vietnam. The 30 tribes, called 'montagnards,' who inhabited the high country, were culturally distinct from the lowland Vietnamese. ... Diem’s official policy toward them was equality and integration with the lowland Vietnamese. But, in practice, equality meant the right of low-landers to colonize tribal areas; integration meant the loss of tribal schools and tribal identity.
A Lesson from Vietnam, Part 2, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Feb 2004
Describes the groups aiming to control South Vietnam from 1956 to 1961, as well as the reactions of the people
Although the Accords prohibited reprisals against 'former resistance members,' the Diem regime began to crack down on those Viet Minh who had not already gone North. Between 1955 and 1959, perhaps as many as 75,000 people were executed in South Vietnam as communists or communist sympathizers. Many were demonstrably neither. ... Caught between the Viet Cong and Diem, peasants began to desert their villages, especially isolated ones. A large mass of landless peasants is a classic base for communism and this was what South Vietnam now contained. ... South Vietnamese society was becoming united in its anti-Americanism ...
A Lesson from Vietnam, Part 3, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Mar 2004
Relates key events in Vietnam mostly from the start of the Kennedy in 1961 to the Gulf of Tonkin resolution in 1964, and a few concluding paragraphs on this three part series
A plan to contain the Viet Cong was then launched. Part of the plan involved the strategic hamlet program. All friendly peasants were to be forced into concentrated areas; thus, everyone outside these areas could be identified as 'the enemy.' ... The peasants hated the idea. The assigned hamlets were too far from their ricefields and homes, where ancestors were buried. Moreover, the National Liberation Front ... burned the hamlets, and the Saigon troops offered no protection. ... the hamlets themselves became infiltrated by communists ... Instead of communists being separated out, they were being created within.
Liberty's Gilded Door, The Wall Street Journal, 11 Mar 1992
Editorial condemning Hong Kong's actions preventing Vietnamese refugees from taking asylum there and mostly inaction by the George H. W. Bush administration
Hong Kong's administration calls it a success to have finally deterred Vietnamese boat people from seeking asylum ... The reason is not that Communist Vietnam has suddenly become a realm of freedom and happiness, but that Vietnam's people are finally getting the dirty message: Don't come seeking liberty in the West. For most Vietnamese freedom-seekers these past few years, the golden door has been slammed ... shut. It has taken awhile for this message to filter through to Vietnam's people because the West hasn't been able to bring itself to say, bluntly, that most refugees should get lost.
Related Topics: Hong Kong, Statue of Liberty
Machiavelli and U.S. Politics, Part 5: War Crimes and Atrocities, by Lawrence M. Ludlow, 24 Aug 2005
In Vietnam, the United States dropped more than 7 million tons of bombs &mdash three and one half times as much as were dropped in World War II. It is not surprising that in both North and South Vietnam, 2 million innocent civilians were killed in addition to 1 million Vietnamese soldiers.
Related Topics: Politics, World War II
Obama and King, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 30 Aug 2013
Contrasts Martin Luther King Jr.'s April 1967 speech condemning the Vietnam War with Obama's actions (planning to bomb Syria) on the 50th anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech
King saw through the lies, noting that the U.S. government refused to recognize Vietnam's declared independence after World War II and financially supported France's effort to recolonize the peninsula. The Vietnamese people "must see Americans as strange liberators," King said ... When the French were defeated in 1954, the American state persisted, supporting "one of the most vicious modern dictators, our chosen man, Premier Diem." "The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly rooted out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords, and refused even to discuss reunification with the North ..."
Rent Control, by Walter Block, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
Defines rent control, its general effects, its effects on tenants and offers some solutions; citing supporting examples from New York City and elsewhere
A "romantic conception of socialism" ... destroyed Vietnam's economy in the years after the Vietnam war, Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach said Friday. Addressing a crowded news conference in the Indian capital, Mr. Thach admitted that controls ... had artificially encouraged demand and discouraged supply.... House rents had ... been kept low ... so all the houses in Hanoi had fallen into disrepair, said Mr. Thach. "The Americans couldn't destroy Hanoi, but we have destroyed our city by very low rents. We realized it was stupid and that we must change policy," he said.
Related Topics: Government, New York City, Prices

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Vietnam" as of 4 Oct 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.