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Trump Dodged The Vietnam War, But He Likes Hanoi Real Estate

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HANOI—Although plenty of American bombs pulverized targets here during the Vietnam War, they never flattened the city the way they did Pyongyang during the Korean conflict almost two decades before. If they had, U.S. President Donald Trump might not have such a strong argument to present his friend Kim Jong Un as they meet here for their second summit.

Today Trump, who managed to slip out of the draft in the Vietnam War, can claim that this country is “thriving like few places on earth,” and suggest North Korea might do the same, making everyone happy, if it would just get rid of its nuclear weapons.

There’s no doubt this place is booming. With a growth rate of seven percent last year, Vietnam, torn by generations of war, has emerged as a Asian powerhouse in a way nobody would have anticipated when troops stormed into Saigon nearly half a century ago.

There’s just one thing: don’t say a word about the governing structure, and don’t breathe anything about serious political opposition.

When Trump called on Vietnam’s President Nguyen Phu Trong on Wednesday morning, he was full of praise and compliments but of course silent on political issues. Ditto when he sat down for lunch with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Surely, that was to be expected of the man who seems to have a personal fondness for dictators—China’s President Xi Jinping and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin come to mind—as long as their records of success speak for themselves.

“The potential is AWESOME”—capital letters Trump’s—“a great opportunity, like almost none other in history for my friend Kim........

© The Daily Beast