Recently, when addressing the Draft documents subcommittee for the 13th National Congress of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong asked them to look to the near and distant future to foresee and to sketch a political and power perspective to the party.
Professor Trong wants to look 40-50 years ahead and say, “It’s very difficult, comrades!”
The difficulty here is the limitation of the ideological cadres’ vision, or the ability of the Party to exist for such a long-term perspective?
Without a tradition of self-control and objective amplitude, the political nature of a regime is the will to remain in permanent power on an almost limitless scale.
To do so, the CPV must be able, theoretically, to reconstruct a new framework of reference for historical and political value in order to justify the monopoly of the country’s leadership.
Just as the Party has experienced many times changing itself according to the needs of the times to survive and rise to meet historical needs, this time, the Party has to face the risk of internal decomposition from within due to many internal and objective reasons.
“Use consensus to deal with threats from China“
Our people say that for decades “if you play with the US, you lose the Party; if you play with China, you lose the country.” However, Mr. Trong thinks that losing the Party is losing everything, without even thinking about the risk of losing the country then losing the Party.
If the 17th century was for Portugal, Spain, 19 was England, 20 was America, then 21 was Chinese. But the rise of China – in parallel with the US internal factors – is the growth of the third world, of India, Australia, the countries of ASEAN, and South America.
How to apply the national position between the process of refinement, exchange, and re-establishing the world order is an important strategic game, essential for the survival of the Vietnamese nation in the 21st century.
Throughout history, Vietnam’s existence and territorial expansion in the face of the danger of China is a miracle. But this miracle was not accidental or God-given, but the result of a long-term strategy to survive the Chinese threat.
People’s consensus is a national power.
Let us look back at the lesson of Vietnamese history over the past two centuries. At the same time, with a firm independent stance from the northern border, with a spirit of flexibility, the Nguyen Dynasty received the Chinese refugee class when the Ming fell, people like Mac Cuu, Duong Ngan Di. giving them the right to live to help Vietnam explore and conquer the southern waterways. Thanks to that, the Vietnamese nation has just expanded its borders to Ca Mau and Kien Giang.
That is external toughness must go hand in hand with internal reconciliation. The latter creates national strength for the country, the front side creates existing space for the nation’s viability.
Each time the country was divided, the danger from China increased. The Vietnamese people can fight the foreign invasion, but they cannot avoid internal disturbances.
From here, it is easy to see a two-sided national survival strategy of a long-term strategy.
The first is to establish a new base of national consensus to create the strength of national solidarity capable of dealing with foreign threats. The CPV alone, despite its mighty military past, would not be able to cope with China without the comprehensive support of the people, from within the country to abroad.
The Party should reduce its pride in the past, and reduce concerns about the non-Party people, which are the majority.
The first step is to end the abuse of the law for the Party’s political needs by pursuing an inhuman policy of persecution, arrest, imprisonment, or expulsion of dissidents from the country. If so, it will be a great human and beautiful will that the Party should exercise.
Next, imagine a future when the strength of the collective Vietnamese immigrants in the US and advanced countries jointly voice their support for the national position of the country and had a decisive voice and influence on themselves. American policies on Vietnamese interests – like the Jewish and Cuban communities to American foreign policy today. This is an optimal power that Vietnam can wield – if the national political leader can open up and cultivate it.
The overseas Vietnamese community, especially in the US, has differences in opinion on many issues with the Party, but when facing the Chinese threat, they will choose Vietnam, stand on the same line with the Party, not because of the Party, but for the destiny of national survival. The Party must embrace this patriotic principle.
While the possibility of a formal military alliance with the US is highly unlikely, the Party should continue and speed up the access and engagement of strategic relations, both economically and militarily, with the US. Open the door of Cam Ranh and invite the US to lease a long-term military base for Southeast Asia, replacing the African port of Subic Bay.
From a strategic perspective, the US needs a stable and militarily strong Vietnam under the Party’s leadership. Therefore, playing with the US is not afraid of losing the Party, but on the contrary, reinforcing.
The status of Party members
Second, in order to implement the above-mentioned issues, it is necessary to base on the reform of political institutions and state government.
In recent years, the Party and Government have had great success in many fields, from the economy, foreign trade, stabilizing prices and currencies, preventing epidemics, improving living standards for people. No one denied those achievements.
But because of its unique will to power and the need for political stability that is actually stagnant, the Party and people have paid a hefty price in terms of human consensus and national consensus.
In addition to suppressing political dissidents, there has never been such a high level of dissatisfaction and resistance that it is now.
Even among the ranks of all classes and organizations of the Party, from the government, the police, the propaganda, to the press or peripheral organizations, all secretly showed an attitude of disregard for all activities and policies of the party.
Almost every party member now becomes a bipedal human being. On the one hand, they participate in Party activities such as going to worship ceremonies at the communal house, reading pure slogans, but inside, they are silently dissatisfied, despite the Party’s authority and underestimate what they say.
Since then, the Party – as a collective soul – is corrupting and betraying itself from within. This is a dangerous disease for the spirit of the Party member, a growing germ of cancer within the Party.
The Party must ask questions: What is love for the country if it is not the will to nurture individual values on the basis of civic morality? Why do we still consider ourselves an authoritarian class, because of “genetic superiority” and inner morality than the majority of the people?
This distinction needs to end because it is essentially human discrimination and the source of political corruption.
Thinking a lot about the current degradation of the current generation of Party members, I believe that the great task of the Party at the 13th Congress is to urgently reform the national institutions – to improve Party members’ morale, nurture morality and public responsibility, improving citizens’ confidence in the state and law, and revitalizing the morality of the young generation.
Please allow me to give some specific goals:
Prioritize amending the Constitution.
Please return to the country’s name of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The socialist institution was eliminated in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union exactly 30 years ago and has now become the slogan that causes racial, ethnic, and economic conflicts in the US, so it is of no benefit to Vietnam.
Next is reforming and restructuring public institutions and fundamentally creating institutions of economic justice and justice and social security, including Reforming private property rights and immediately eliminating “ownership institutions of All-people ownership” for houses and real estate. Reform the tax policy. Apply progressive taxation on the rich, high-income class, especially the real estate business and the non-payroll economic circles such as artists, merchants, and large profitable companies.
With land-private property, real estate has to be taxed – as all European and American countries have done for a long time. Accordingly, the main residence will be exempt from tax to a reasonable level – for example, at current prices, VND1 billion. Annual recurring property taxes, for example, 1% of the market price, will provide the full national budget for defense, social security, infrastructure construction, to pay higher wages for the education, health, justice, police, and military sectors to reduce national corruption.
Currently, rich real estate owners in our country pay very little – almost no – property taxes. It is a grave injustice and unreasonable. The majority of corruption cases involve land, a sign of legal inadequacies that the Party knows but let interest groups rage.
New laws need to be enacted – and urgently enforced by local police – to curb the crime that is full of streets and under protection.
Abolish the background and party citizenship policy for all public positions. The big problem for the current corruption of morality comes mainly from the background requirement so that the Party has structured into the national public government system too many people who lack personality and knowledge.
To streamline and clean the public apparatus. Separate the Ministry of Public Security into two: the Ministry of Police and the Ministry of Homeland Security, to monitor each other and avoid the current conflict of interests.
Comprehensively reform the Ministry of Justice according to international standards in order to improve the institutions, quality of personnel, and the legal process. Accordingly, it enhances the independent and professional role of the court system.
Gather domestic and foreign experts to draw together a new strategy for national education. Appointing a professional and clean staff to the Ministry of Education and Training to attract and combine personnel, educational specialists inside and outside the Party, domestic and overseas.
Open more doors for overseas Vietnamese to participate in politics, run for office, and be appointed to public leadership positions. For example, the requirement that only Communist party members can hold the position of principal of the university – Southeast Asian universities, and in the world do not set such party standards and this out of place needs to terminate.
The government should allow overseas Vietnamese who have never given up their Vietnamese nationality to run for parliament. Today, compared to ASEAN countries, Vietnamese citizens living abroad are treated much worse because they do not have the right to vote and stand for nothing.
Not to mention other industries, the sectors where overseas Vietnamese have advantages are science and education, so the position of vice ministers, heads of science, technology, and education should have their participation.
A Ministry of Environmental Protection should be established to increase the oversight function and authority of environmental security and safety.
Establishment of the Ministry of Housing and Real Estate to focus on solving the problem of inequality in the housing situation for the poor and low income.
Establish the Ministry of Overseas Vietnamese with functions independent from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ministry’s deputy minister function, at the very least, must have the participation of overseas Vietnamese. It is necessary to immediately dissolve the Fatherland Front and unrealistic and anonymous peripheral organizations, which only spend on budget and contribute to the loss of confidence in the national political institution.
Be proud of the change
Finally, I sincerely share a new pride and expectation of an overseas Vietnamese citizen that I believe is also the common desire of the Vietnamese community around the world and the entire people of Vietnam. For generations, Vietnamese people have sacrificed their blood together with the Party, happy themselves and their families to follow the call of national salvation.
Today, the risk of losing our country, being colonized from within, and falling behind is also increasing because of the conservative spirit of a minority in the Communist Party of Vietnam, insisting on a steadfast political direction and stance has been and is misleading, not responding to the pre-era needs of internal and objective dangers, and for the nation’s humanity.
They forced other party members and the vast majority of the people to go into a dead-end of thinking just to satisfy their own self-esteem, for ‘sickness‘, for no other reason.
As a whole, the Party looks to the next decade with new pride.
The year 2021 opens not only a new year but a decade, to 2030, and beyond.
Change requires courage and the will to radically reform the Party. The future of the Fatherland and the People is waiting for the Party to take action.