Just this week, U.S. Diplomat Christian Marchant was attacked by several Vietnamese policemen while on his way to visit Father Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic Priest and prominent democracy activist. If the allegations are true, Marchant was cornered by Vietnamese cops in the city of Hue, and subsequently thrown around and harassed by the Communist police.
As a result, the United States have released a formal protest against the Vietnamese government, recalling the American ambassador from Vietnam. According to the New York Times, the U.S. ambassador Michael W. Michalak describes the Communist attack on Marchant as “an incident of grave concern.” Sources also claim that the Communist police repeatedly slammed a door against the legs of the American diplomat.
Not only is this a disrespectful act on the Communists’ end, it is an embarrassment to the country as a whole. The American diplomat is a foreign representative to the country of Vietnam and should not, under any circumstances, be subjected to that type of abuse. An attack on a foreign representative signifies that the Vietnamese government clearly does not care about international law and human rights. They blatantly disregarded international rules, crossing the line against a valuable potential ally.
What does this mean for U.S.-Vietnamese relations? It is too soon to tell. However, under these circumstances, one should not expect the U.S. government to show any leniency to the Vietnamese Communist Party. Even I think that what the Communists did was over the line. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a government that does not respect human rights, and this latest act of stupidity just made it painfully clear in the eyes of all the world.
Just when one thinks that the Communist leadership in Vietnam could not get any stupider, they go and alienate their newest, most valuable ally. The United States has turned a blind eye on human rights in recent negotiations in hopes that Vietnam would slowly learn and reconstruct. It is now all too clear that these guys are way too dumb to make it happen, disrespecting international law to target Marchant, a man who should be treated with courtesy and respect, as he is a foreign representative. The new relationship that the Communists have been working so hard to cultivate with the Americans is now hanging by a thread. Idiots.