Why the Bear is Back: Russian Military Presence in Vietnam
Global Research, June 15, 2015
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Russia-Vietnam ties that seemed to be cooling after the end of the Cold War are warming up all over again. More than 20 years after Moscow abandoned its largest foreign base, Russian military aircraft are once again welcome visitors at Cam Ranh Bay.
The renewed Russian presence in Vietnam has predictably set the alarm bells ringing in the Pentagon, with the Commander of the US Army in the Pacific confirming that Russian strategic bombers circling the massive American military base in Guam are being refuelled at Cam Ranh Bay.
On March 11 Washington wrote to Hanoi, requesting that the Vietnamese authorities not assist Russian bomber flights in the Asia-Pacific. The Vietnamese reaction was to remain publicly silent. According to Phuong Nguyen of the Washington-based Center for Strategic & International Studies,
From the perspective of many Vietnamese officials who fought against the United States during the war, Moscow helped train generations of Vietnamese leaders and supported Hanoi during its decades of international isolation.
Few things are more vital to Vietnam than an independent foreign policy. Given Vietnams complex history, its leaders do not want their country to be caught between major powers again. Anything that resembles U.S. interference in Vietnams dealings with Russia could unnecessarily aggravate this fear.