Review Category : Blog

Though the novel can simply be read as fiction, those who know where to look will see that it is deeply informed by the literary history and theory that Nguyen has studied. Its opening sentence – “I am a spy, a sleeper, a man of two faces – is a homage to Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Nguyen said the book is meant to be a critique with “something to offend everyone” and is, he hopes, a work that brings him closer to his ideal of writing criticism as fiction and fiction as criticism.

Read More →

Secretary Kerry said, “It is clear that we have turned some very important corners. There are hard choices still to make for our relationship to reach its full potential, but now we can say definitively, because so many Vietnamese and Americans themselves refuse to let our past define our future, Vietnam, a former adversary, is now a partner with whom we have developed increasingly warm, personal and national ties.” He and Ambassador Vinh spoke at the April 26-28, 2016 LBJ Presidential Library “The Vietnam War Summit.” The goal wass to shed definitive light on the war, and its lessons and legacy.

Read More →

The dry spell in the once-fertile Mekong Delta is devastating food supplies in southern Vietnam and threatening to reduce global exports of rice, seafood and coffee. It is also compounding a Southeast Asia water shortage along a 3,000-mile river that runs from Tibet to Thailand to the East Sea [South China Sea], as climate change and too many dams [in China and Laos] erode livelihoods for millions of farmers in  Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.

Read More →

The TPP will create great opportunities for trade by eliminating more than 18,000 tariffs on U.S.-made products sold overseas and establishing the highest standards on labor, the environment, and the digital economy ever to be included in a trade agreement. The agreement’s impact on trade between the U.S. and the five TPP countries with which the United States does not yet have a Free Trade Agreement will be particularly profound. These include large, well-established markets like Japan, where U.S. companies exported $66.8 billion in goods, and growing markets like Malaysia and Vietnam, where U.S. goods exports totaled $13 billion and $5.7 billion in 2014, respectively.

Read More →

Transitioning to a ‘knowledge-based economy’, which presumably means an economy in which the share of income earned from human capital is high and rising, is a worthy goal. Unfortunately, many of the countries that talk loudest about the need to transition to a knowledge-based economy are the most resistant to educational reform.

Read More →

For more than a decade, the ASEAN Business Outlook Survey  has been a key barometer of U.S. business sentiment in Southeast Asia. Executives from both American and foreign enterprises as well as thought leaders from governments, academia, and non-government organizations across ASEAN rely on the survey to understand the opportunities and challenges for American businesses across the region. The surveys incorporate the responses of nearly 500 senior business executives representing U.S. companies in all ten ASEAN markets. These include small, medium, and large companies in manufacturing, services, and agriculture.

Read More →

“Okinotori is an isolated rock in the West Pacific far away from the homeland of Japan. As prescribed in the UNCLOS, rocks like Okinotori which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone nor continental shelf. In April, 2012, the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf gave its recommendations in regard to the submission made by Japan on the limits of its outer continental shelf, not recognizing Japan’s claim of an outer continental shelf based on Okinotori. Japan has violated the UNCLOS by categorizing Okinotori as “island” for the purpose of claiming for EEZ and continental shelf based on that. China does not recognize the illegal assertion by Japan.” Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry.

Read More →

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has submitted a notification to Congress as it prepares to roll out a new maritime capacity-building initiative for Southeast Asian states near the South China Sea. With that notification, the United States will soon begin implementing the so-called Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative (MSI) which was initially announced in June 2015.

Read More →

Trade unions in Vietnam are closely tied to the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and have yet to find their role as autonomous representatives of the interests of workers. However, the ever growing influence of foreign investors and the increase in wild cat strikes put pressure on the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL), the only legally registered trade union in Vietnam. This pressure has an impact on both the ideological self-perception of the VGCL, as well as its organisational behaviour. It then faces a difficult political dilemma: if the situation remains unchanged and the VGCL does not deal with the challenges of changing labour relations, workers will nevertheless fight for better working conditions and render the official trade unions obsolete. Should the VGCL start to perform its role of a genuine representative of the interests of workers in Vietnam, it must do so independently of the party and state in Vietnam. 

Read More →