A Tunisia Next Door?


“Adam Boutzan” claims the same combustible mix of too many educated young people and too few jobs, combined with a “kleptocratic elite”, exist next door in Vietnam.

While it does appear unlikely right now that a popular revolt could challenge the regime, a failure to address the economic problems confronting the country could yet provide the ingredients for such a outburst, especially if, as seems likely, the government is incapable of lifting Vietnam out of the ranks of the exporters of raw materials and sweatshop goods.

Party members may understand that the legitimacy of their rule now depends intimately on delivering ever higher living standards and will act accordingly, but it is just as likely that reformers within the ruling party will continue to be hobbled by a sclerotic system characterized by patronage, pervasive corruption and local fiefdoms.

In Vietnam, like many societies in the Arab world currently facing popular revolts, education and digitally-driven social networking have made young, urban populations aware of what they haven’t got. Anyone who has seen celebrations of football victories by Vietnam’s national squad can imagine this same energy turned to political agitation. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/MA29Ae01.html

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