07-11-12, 07:37 AM #1
Laos snubs America, guess it doesn't want to receive help
VIENTIANE, Laos – Traveling in Asia, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday made a brief stop in Laos, the first visit by an American secretary of state in 57 years and one that was marked by the enduring legacy of the Vietnam War.
Mrs. Clinton’s visit, in keeping with the understated nature of the people, was quite subtle. When Secretary of State John Foster Dulles came here in 1955, he tried to persuade the Lao royal family to drop their neutrality in the Cold War and join the American camp. Mrs. Clinton did not attempt anything as brazen as mentioning China, though the import of her visit – to seek warmer relations between the United States and Laos – was quite clear.
Now Laos is closely aligned with China, its biggest benefactor by far with investments of more than $4 billion in mining, hydropower and agriculture. The Chinese built many of the main buildings in the relaxed tropical capital, and are now constructing a new convention center with 50 villas for a European-Asian summit in November, a meeting that excludes the United States.
So IF Laos really does want to help from America for future trade, business or other things why would they want to exclude America from these meetings?
It would seem to me that by inviting an American representative they could then begin dialog that could start better relationships with America in the future but by excluding America shows they don't want to open that dialog yet, I don't understand why not.
07-11-12, 07:42 AM #2
07-11-12, 07:59 AM #3
That was many years ago. If you look at Cambodia today many of those who fought with the enemy there are now being accepted back into the fold. You can't move forward by always looking backwards.
07-11-12, 08:06 AM #4
07-11-12, 09:41 AM #5
Vietnam have also allowed their own people who were working with America back into the fold again. So there are many instances that show that forgiving others will help to unify a nation more than trying to seperate people because of their past transgressions.
Kampuchea was the initial reason for the conflict, was it not? or maybe they forgive others better than their own
07-11-12, 12:59 PM #6
Perhaps the biggest issue in the Laotian view of things is its relationship to both Vietnam and Thailand. Laos has been kind of a Vietnamese military-political satellite since the end of the Vietnam War. And Laos has always been very closely tied to Thailand and kind of dominated by that country both culturally and economically.
So that's how I read their interest in improving ties to China. It's their way to develop a third partner so as to reduce the powerful influence of their immediate neighbors, creating a little more freedom of movement for themselves. If China's influence gets too strong, then Vientiane will presumably tilt back towards Hanoi or Bangkok a bit more. They are trying to play the middle.
Vietnam doesn't get along very well with China, sensing its much larger neighbor's attempts to reduce them to a client-state. And Thailand is more pro-Western and already pro-American, European and Australian. So China's kind of a natural direction for the Laotians to tilt if they want to assert their difference a little.
(It doesn't hurt that the Chinese are awash in cash and willing to spend some of it on Laos, either. Don't piss off the bird laying the golden eggs.)
The United States doesn't really need Laos for anything. We like Laos and wish them the best, but they are going to do whatever they want to do, and whatever that is, we can live with it. (As long as it doesn't endanger our friend Thailand.)
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