Mastering the political chessboard is not holding a large army but elite ones. Usually, in Vietnam, when it comes to the top leadership, people refer to the “four pillars” but in fact, only the two pillars are the real power, which is the position of General Secretary of the party and the Prime Minister. The other two pillars, the state President and the Chairman of the National Assembly have less power. So, every time, if there is a big battle in the four pillars, it will only be a great war between the party chief and the government leader.
The General Secretary holds the Secretariat, while the Prime Minister holds the Government. The number of ministries in the Government is always more than the number of departments in the Secretariat. However, there are more commissions in the Secretariat headed by a Politburo members than there are ministers. In the Government, there only the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Public Security are members of the Politburo.
Between the Prime Minister and the General Secretary, whoever holds the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of National Defense, that person will hold absolute power. However, among these two people, it is difficult for anyone to fully grasp the above two sets. Currently, Nguyen Phu Trong firmly controls the Ministry of Public Security. To Lam is its minister, nominally under the management of the PM, but Nguyen Phu Trong is in charge of the Party. After removing Nguyen Tan Dung from the political arena, Trong joined the Public Security Party Committee. And only the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of National Defense are the two agencies where Nguyen Phu Trong participates in their party Committees, while in other ministries, Trong does not participate.
PM Chinh does not hold the Ministry of Public Security, but holds half of the Ministry of National Defense. As far as we know, although Trong is the Secretary of the Central Military Commission, meaning the head of the army in terms of the Party, his influence cannot cover the entire ministry. Nguyen Phu Trong firmly controls the General Department of Politics while PM Chinh strongly influences the General Staff and General Department 2. Mr. Phan Van Giang is a ambivalent person, not sure which side he is on.
It is no coincidence that Nguyen Phu Trong let a Politburo member hold the position of Chairman of the General Department of Politics. This is the intention of Luong Cuong is a General, Politburo member, Chairman of the General Political Department of the Vietnam People’s Army. In terms of rank in the military, Mr. Luong Cuong is Phan Van Giang’s subordinate, however, in terms of the Party, Mr. Luong Cuong is equal to Mr. Phan Van Giang, because both men are members of the Politburo. In the Politburo, Luong Cuong is considered a loyal soldier of Nguyen Phu Trong in the field of defense.
In the General Staff Department and General Department 2, there are more military contracts for the Ministry of Defense than the General Department of Politics. And whoever holds more money has more influence. The fraction close to PM Minh Chinh has more influence in the military than the group close to Nguyen Phu Trong. However, the fraction of PM Chinh also has a weakness, that is, it is very easy to find mistakes.
The case against Pham Ba Hien is believed to have been caused by a group that has no power in the Ministry of National Defense pulling the strings to hit the big money force in this Ministry. Like before, Trong beat Trinh Xuan Thanh to attack Dinh La Thang. When he wanted to attack Trinh Xuan Thanh, he started with the blue car that Thanh used illegally.
Currently, the attack on Army Major General Pham Ba Hien’s mansion seems similar to the way he beat Trinh Xuan Thanh before. It is worth mentioning that Pham Ba Hien has just been promoted to major general by Phan Van Giang not long ago.
Attacking interest group in the Ministry of Defense is not easy. The Ministry of Public Security cannot be used, because the Ministry of Defense has its own military court system. This system protected Pham Ba Hien once 20 years ago. If Nguyen Phu Trong does not use the Central Inspection Commission and the Central Internal Affairs Commission to get involved, then even the powerful Ministry of Public Security will be powerless.