Today, I visited the American Center and learned about it’s and the U.S. Consulate’s role in Vietnam. The Consulate is a branch of the Embassy, and it works to strengthen relations between the U.S. and Vietnam. It also works with Vietnam on issues like the economy and human rights. U.S. workers in Ho Chi Minh City might be generalized to handle a variety of issues, or they might be more specialized. They perform duties such as conducting Visa interviews, providing media that is otherwise inaccessible throughout Vietnam, and serving as a liaison between the U.S. and Vietnamese governments.
The U.S. has worked an agreement with the Vietnamese government in which the American Center is able to provide films, books, and other mediums of information that are banned in Vietnam. The American Center also provides information about American customs, politics, and economics. It might seem strange that such an independent country is allowed to operate this way in a Communist nation; however, the U.S. states that its goal is to inform Vietnamese people of “pro-American” values, rather than “anti-Vietnamese” ones, and so the government allows the consulate to do these things. The U.S. believes that by working with other countries in these capacities, it is able to help itself. This is why it has consulates in states around the world, including in countries where the U.S. is not favored.
Vietnam has been working over the past years to strengthen its economic relationship with the U.S. The U.S. provides foreign investment to Vietnam, which is one piece that allows Vietnam to be developing as quickly as it has been. Vietnam also exports and imports products to and from the U.S. With recent U.S. ideals to renegotiate some of its trade agreements, many of these economic conditions may change greatly in the near future.