Arthur Cyr: Donald Trump visits Vietnam

Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

U.S. President Donald Trump waves goodbye as he enters Air Force One after participating in the East Asia Summit, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Manila, Philippines. Trump finished a five country trip through Asia visiting Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s extensive tour of East Asia has historic importance. The busy schedule included stops in China, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam.

Most press attention has focused on the two largest economic powers in the vast region — China and Japan. However, arguably the most significant stop in tangible as well as symbolic terms has been Vietnam

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit has just concluded in Danang, Vietnam. The traditional spelling of this third largest city in the nation is Da Nang, just as the traditional spelling of Vietnam is Viet Nam.

Americans do not like empty spaces. We turn unused real estate into productive enterprises. Getting rid of those blank areas between words speeds up pronunciation and, after all, time is money. The fast-moving, fast-talking technocrats who dominated military policy during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations brought precisely that perspective to U.S. foreign policy during the Vietnam War.

Unfortunately, quantitative measures featuring dead bodies, enemy weapons and weight of documents captured were not reliable indicators of progress. Given the enormous scale of American firepower, increasing totals especially of bodies meant mainly that the enemy was becoming more numerous.

Where quantitative measures are central is in the tough and quite tangible world of commerce, trade and investment. APEC is emerging as perhaps the most important intergovernmental network in East Asia to promote those activities.

President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker deserve great credit for making APEC a firm reality. Australia Prime Minister Bob Hawke conceived the organization.

Australia over the decades has moved in the direction of free markets, and a much more explicit national commitment to tolerance, directly reflected in official policy toward…

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