Obstinate Dragon: A Strategic Assessment of Vietnam in Southeast Asia

  • Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey A. Vandaveer

Vietnam re-enters contemporary American military consciousness as a key player in Southeast Asia power dynamics relative to US rebalance to the Pacific. Vietnam’s historical ability to complicate Chinese aspirational calculations is a unique quality that has direct implications for US strategic interests in the Pacific. This paper examines the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s (SRV) strategic “status quo” in the region and analyzes Hanoi’s ability to respond to perceived security challenges against Chinese ascendancy. Finally, the paper posits opportunities and limits to which US security interests in Southeast Asia may align with Vietnam’s for future potential collaboration.