N. Gorodnia U. S. — Vietnam Security Cooperation in 2001–2017

DOI: 10.20535/2307-5244.53.2021.248567

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

In 2020, the U.S. and Vietnam celebrated the 25th anniversary of normalization
of bilateral relations. Despite their previous hostility and the U.S.’ participation
in the Vietnam War, the security cooperation between these nations has
developed significantly since the early 2000s. The author studies the development
of the U.S.-Vietnam’s security cooperation in 2001–2017 during G. W. Bush and
B. Obama administrations from the historical perspective. This paper highlights
trends, dynamics and directions of this cooperation. The research focuses on the
major developments in the field and the most important factors which influenced
the process. The author also compares the level of this cooperation and its place
in the U.S. East Asian policy during G. W. Bush and B. Obama administrations,
and defines its different phases. The research methodology is based on the study
of primary and secondary sources. The author used chronological approach and
comparative analysis. The main goal of the article is to describe the background
of the U.S.-Vietnam’s political high-level interactions and trade cooperation, as
well as the trends in the U.S. foreign policy, Vietnam-China’s relations and security
situation in the South China Sea. The research has revealed that both G. W. Bush and B. Obama’s administrations
sought to accomplish the 1990s security goals and to ensure the Navy access
to Vietnams’ ports, first and foremost in the Cam Ran Bay, which was essential
for the development of the U. S. security infrastructure in Asia Pacific. Cooperation
in other spheres, including addressing the challenges of terrorism, transnational
crimes, and disasters relief was also important. Vietnam’s leadership
was often reluctant to the United States’ initiatives because of prevailed distrust
and the importance of relations with China. There were growing tensions in the
South China Sea with China that contributed to Hanoi’s readiness to advance
security cooperation with Washington, as both nations shared interests in keeping
the regional balance of power to avoid China’s dominance. Therefore, the
author defines three phases of the U.S.-Vietnam’s security cooperation starting
from the normalization of their relations to 2017.
Keywords: the U. S.-Vietnam’s relations, security and defense, the U.S.
foreign policy, Vietnam’s foreign policy, G. W. Bush administration. B. Obama
administration.

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