|Reverend King has the answer to the question|
The trip to Vietnam is still ongoing, but there are already shadows on the visit that would give peacemakers pause. First rescinding a decades-old ban on sales of lethal military equipment to Vietnam is not a nonviolent act or the action of a peacemaker. The response by China, warning the White House to not spark a “regional tinderbox” is ominous pointing to an arms race or even conflict.
In answering the question with a focus on the Cuba half there have been a couple of months since the visit and time to further reflect on it.
First, since the December 17, 2014 announcement by President Obama and General Castro the level of repression in Cuba has grown exponentially.
Secondly, Christian Solidarity Worldwide has compiled figures that reveal a tenfold increase in religious repression in Cuba with 2,300 separate violations recorded in 2015 compared to 220 in 2014.
Cuban Americans warned that this would happen in an open letter in February of 2015 published in The Washington Post but were completely shut out and ignored.
Furthermore, the Obama administration signed off with Carnival on an agreement with the Castro regime that discriminated against Cuban Americans that prompted mass protests.
|Obama in Cuba and in Vietnam being photographed in front of communist icons|
Now in Vietnam, President Obama is photographed in front of the statue of the murderous Ho Chi Minh. That the U.S. ambassador would also be hanging out in the Vietnamese regime's Ministry of Public Security in a smiling photo opportunity with the head of that organization, despite that buildings history of persecuting and torturing dissidents, is again unfortunate.
|Vietnam’s Minister of Public Security To Lam and US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius|
It is important to recall that the United States lifted economic sanctions on Vietnam on February 3, 1994 and normalized relations on July 11, 1995. Twenty two years later the Obama administration has opened the sale of weapons to Vietnam, but unlike in Cuba that still has economic sanctions, President Obama was not able to meet with Vietnamese dissidents in a scheduled meeting.
Ending sanctions reduces leverage and normalizing relations with abnormal regimes such as Vietnam and Cuba leads the United States in being complicit with the injustice taking place there. Perhaps that is why some Americans guided by biblical principles are so upset.
Human Rights Watch's Kenneth Roth tweeted the following caricature summing up President Obama's visit to Vietnam.
Sadly, this pretty much sums up Obama's lifting the Vietnam arms embargo for no real progress on human rights. pic.twitter.com/EmXTFZs3Vu— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) May 24, 2016
There is an alternative and it is the road less traveled of nonviolence which has a great record of success. Unfortunately, neither the Bush policy of preemptive wars or the Obama policy of neo-appeasement follows this path.