Is Vietnam on Russia’s side by force or voluntarily?

Results of the vote at the UN General Assembly to remove Russia from the Human Rights Council on April 7, 2022

Whether Vietnam was forced or volunteered, the consequences of all three votes by Vietnam’s representative at the UN General Assembly were incalculable. One of the dangerous consequences for Vietnam is the change of the strategic chessboard in the South China Sea (Vietnam calls it the East Sea). Vietnam will stand almost alone against Chinese expansion, likely backed by a postwar Russia.

The surprise of a vote

Public opinion will still take a lot of work to find out why the Communist government of Vietnam on April 7 voted against removing Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Experts were surprised by three aspects related to this decision. First, voting against is like China and other authoritarian countries, but the government hides it, not letting the people in the country know the truth. Second, voting against, but in the statement before the UN, Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang still lied: “Vietnam opposes all acts of attacking civilians, violating international humanitarian and human rights law.” Third, when Russia was excluded, the domestic press reported that Russia had “decided to withdraw early from the Security Council.” A country cannot decide to withdraw from an international organization after having its membership suspended.

Regarding the first surprise, Philosopher’s Culture Researcher Nguyen Khac Mai explained to international media from Hanoi on April 8 that it was because the Vietnamese government wanted to hide its evil: “That’s it. is a trick, to hide one’s badness. And also left open the implication that ‘I honestly don’t want to’… but because of the relationship like this, I had to do it, but I didn’t let it be reported in the press… That’s the way of the crowd cunning, but can not be hidden from people. Because the hand cannot cover the sun. It is an indecent, improper attitude and it is not a gentleman. The evil in the world is condemned, but it’s clearly too bad, it’s cruel, but they don’t dare to speak out.”

Regarding the second surprise, Professor Carl Thayer – an expert on Southeast Asia and Vietnam – called the Vietnamese government’s choice “shooting itself in its own foot.” And many other Vietnamese people consider the anti-vote action as “an act of anti-people, an insult to the nation.” The comment that Vietnam “shoots itself in its own foot” is completely correct, because according to this expert, with the vote against, Vietnam has made it difficult for itself to call for support from Western countries. Vietnam in all aspects, especially in the context that the country is running for election to become a member of UNHCR for the term 2023-2025. And the idea of ​​”action against the people, insulting the nation” is also true, because no Vietnamese people will forget the tragedy that Pol Pot troops massacred Ba Chuc village in 1978, just like the actions of Russian soldiers causing in the town of Bucha.

As for the third surprise, why did the Vietnamese Communists “vote against” at the UN when the majority of members of the international community agreed that it was necessary to express a decisive attitude toward the barbaric actions of the Russian military on Ukrainian territory such as looting, raping, massacring civilians, destroying civilian facilities…? Just like the previous two times, Vietnam abstained, meaning indifferent, not expressing its attitude to the call of the international community, Russia to stop the invasion of Ukraine and the world to help the people. Ukraine in the present tribulation. But this third time, Vietnam has gone further than the previous two, not only indifferent but also opposed to the calls of the international community to support war victims in Ukraine. Military writer Pham Dinh Trong expressed his anger: By voting against the resolution of the human community to expose evil, the Vietnamese state extended its arm to protect the evil Putin Russia.

The consequences are dire

Thus, there have been three major votes on Ukraine at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) since Russia launched its invasion. The first time (March 2) condemned the invasion, the second (March 24) asked for the protection of civilians and humanitarian aid, and both times, Vietnam abstained. The third time (April 7) proposed to expel Russia from the UNHCR, Vietnam voted against it. Before the vote, the Reuters news agency cited a statement by the Moscow government on April 6, saying that countries that agree to the UNGA resolution will be considered “unfriendly countries” and will suffer consequences in the future. This statement reminds Vietnam of its dependence on Russia for defense weapons, equipment, and training. In addition, the multi-faceted dependence on China, being under a lot of pressure and influence of China in the domestic and foreign policies of Vietnam is not strange. Most importantly, the existence of the communist dictatorship model – monopoly on state management can only be guaranteed by close ties with China and Russia, former allies who both love and hate both before and today. Relations with the US and the West, no matter how necessary, still contain the “risk” of democratizing and liberalizing Vietnamese society, threatening the monopoly of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

So, not coincidentally, all three times Vietnam voted exactly the same as China. After three such votes, Vietnam’s communist regime has lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the people at home and abroad. The writer has many friends and acquaintances who studied in the Soviet Union, including the Republic of Ukraine, who kept good memories of the socialist period there. Now, in the face of Russia’s brutal invasion of a democratic Ukraine, all previous feelings have suddenly evaporated. They realized that Russia is no longer socialist, on the contrary, is being led by a cunning anti-communist. Say one thing and do another. Similar to the Vietnamese communist regime. These friends called from Ukraine with bombs and bullets, close to death, but still brave enough to affirm that they are embarrassed because they have Vietnamese nationality, the country is supporting a sick person like Putin to conduct a genocide throughout Ukraine.

A Vietnamese businessman living in Ukraine, who does not want to be identified, says Vietnam’s comments and reactions to the war of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, shown through three votes before UNGA, complicity with evil, are shameful behavior. This person told the RFA reporter: “We do not agree with the position of the Vietnamese Government. It is a government that thinks completely differently from us Vietnamese living in Ukraine.” The community also said that the local people do not consider Vietnam to have a significant position in the world, nor do they have any influence on their war. What is needed is the support of countries with economic capabilities, and weapons… such as the West, the EU, and the US… On this side, they distinguish between the communist state and the ordinary Vietnamese people who live in poverty.

One of the other dangerous consequences that Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Chu wrote on his FB is that Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine will change the strategic chessboard in the East Sea. A practical and vital issue for Vietnam now and for many years to come is security in the East Sea. Vietnam’s sovereignty over seas and islands in the East Sea must be protected. But the factors involved in determining the geopolitical chessboard in the South China Sea will change positions. After the Russia-Ukraine war, Russia’s situation and role in the East Sea are no longer the same. There are only three forces that directly determine the geopolitical chessboard in the East Sea: ASEAN, China, the US, and its allies. It would be a great disadvantage if, after the war, due to the decline in position, Russia fell into the sphere of influence of China. Russia will sell China’s oil and gas exploitation contracts in the East Sea signed with Vietnam.

Last, but very important, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine put the world in front of a new situation. The danger of nuclear war suddenly became real, even though people only talked about tactical nuclear weapons. What Russia has been doing in Ukraine is completely irresponsible. Putin is not only irresponsible to humanity when he sent troops to attack Chernobyl and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, but also considers the lives of Russian soldiers as garbage. After the Russian troops withdrew from Chernobyl with the Ukrainian hostages, Russian soldiers’ fortifications were found dug in the white sand filled with radioactive material. Among the food and objects left behind by Russian soldiers, people were amazed at the amount of radiation measured. It’s not that Putin doesn’t know anything about radiation, but that the lives of Russian soldiers are less important than the nuclear threat he wants to send from there. In addition to the disasters: ecological destruction, genocide, famine due to lack of wheat, and global energy crisis, this war has changed our perception of the world. (Translated)

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