Vietnam Criticized for Its First-Round Victory Over COVID-19

Ranking the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic, country by country (21.5.20, Politico)

Here’s the essay-length version of this 15.5.20 blog post. Below are the first three paragraphs to whet your appetite for more (or not):

You can’t please everyone, especially those who do their utmost to find fault with a country that has distinguished itself as a national role model in the midst of a global pandemic. Earlier this month, Foreign Policy (FP) published a slanderous and mean-spirited op-ed with the clickbait title Vietnam’s Coronavirus Success Is Built on Repression by Bill Hayton (BH) and Tro Ly Ngheo (Trợ Lý Nghèo translates as “poor assistant.”)

Like the author, whose Vietnam-related claim to fame is that he was a one-time BBC correspondent 13 years ago and who reports from his perch in the English countryside, his supporters are people who appear to have little to no substantive experience with the Vietnam of 2020. What unites them is their visceral dislike and, in some cases, hatred of the country and resentment of its phenomenal success in dealing with the coronavirus. As BH and FP know all too well, there is nothing like a little commie-bashing and red-baiting to excite the base.

It is both ironic and pathetic that BH lives in a country that has failed spectacularly at containing the coronavirus and that many of his sycophants live across the pond, which is the world’s leader in both infections and deaths. The essay and their cheerleading ring hollow to those of us who call Vietnam home.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

2 thoughts on “Vietnam Criticized for Its First-Round Victory Over COVID-19

  1. Here’s an introduction of my article by Chuck Searcy in 27.5.20 his “Việt Nam Notes” update:

    An intense discussion followed publication of an article in Foreign Policy magazine last week entitled “Vietnam’s Coronavirus Success is Built on Repression” which was authored by Bill Hayton and his anonymous colleague who used the name Trợ Lý Nghèo. My first reading left me with a sense that the article was a cheap shot, an unwarranted and unfair criticism of Viet Nam from a very far distance, accusing the country and the government of repressive tactics in order to control the coronavirus pandemic – a health threat which, in fact, Viet Nam has managed and tamped down with impressive results. Some would argue that Viet Nam’s record is second to none globally in dealing with this crisis.

    The spirited internet discussion that ensued resulted in far more vigorous and passionate defenses of Viet Nam’s achievement than endorsements of the Foreign Policy article, which were few. The debate had now pretty much tapered off, but as a convenient coda, Counterpunch has published an article penned by Mark Ashwill, a rather detailed and comprehensive summary of the arguments that went back and forth during the discussion. Mark’s article is an instructive warning that throwing around terms and accusations freighted with political tones that may be incorrect or inappropriate to the situation under examination may be damaging to one’s professional credentials.

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