From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr
The Americans have committed unspeakable wartime atrocities in this Southeast Asian country, and now the German chancellor Olaf Scholz, of all people, expects Vietnam to take a clear stand against Russia in the Ukraine war. But during his visit today, the country’s communist leadership gave him the cold shoulder.
Every German politician should keep out of it. In Vietnam, the war against the American aggressor is deeply etched in the collective memory. And it was mainly the then Soviet Union that massively supported North Vietnam. How can anyone today seriously expect Vietnam to oppose Russia and side with the Americans, of all people? Put yourself in the shoes of a Vietnamese of my generation who lost siblings, parents, relatives to the American bombing, “body count” and Agent Orange war.
But the deep meaning of Germany’s intentions is discernible. Once again, Berlin proves its almost unconditional Nibelung loyalty to the Biden administration and now as its agent of fulfillment. For it is clear where the foreign policy pressure to have fewer trade relations with China comes from, so that Washington can push back its main economic competitor, China.
However, China is Germany’s most important trading partner. Olaf Scholz’s attempt to kill two birds with one stone in Vietnam is bound to fail. He will be lucky if the Vietnamese agree to new trade arrangements with Germany that could compensate, at least in small parts, for reduced trade with China. Once again, Germany is fatally complying with U.S. expectations, to its own detriment.