In mid-1995, the United States opened a diplomatic mission in Hanoi, in part to assist American businesses eager to join Vietnam's economic boom. Then, in late May 1996, the United States announced that the first U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam since the war would be Congressman Douglas Peterson, a former prisoner of war. This was a clear sign that the U.S. government acknowledges the bitterness that still remains within many Americans, but that like all prior wars, the interests of the nation are best served by helping our former enemies rebuild. A permanent presence in Vietnam provides support for U.S. businesses, and ensures encouragement for Vietnamese officials committed to moving their country toward a free-market economy. Defense attaches reassure the Vietnamese of our peaceful intent, and can help break down the barriers that have stood between the Vietnamese leaders, most of whom have military experience, and their Western counterparts. Our embassy in Hanoi is staffed with a Defense Attaché, a U.S. Army colonel; now it is time to nominate a U.S. Naval Attaché to Vietnam.
Nobody Asked Me But…Dispatch a U.S. Naval Attaché to Vietnam
By Lieutenant Commander Dan Shanower, U.S. Navy