Leadership: Vietnam Buys Russian To Fight The Chinese


January 22, 2011: Vietnam is in the midst of trying to modernize its armed forces, as well as trying to convert its economy from an inefficient communist command model, to a more productive free-market one. To that end, it is increasing its defense spending 70 percent this year, so that it is spending 1.8 percent of GDP on the military. That means next year's spending will be $2.6 billion. That is about half what nearby Thailand spends. Thailand has a population 23 percent smaller and a GDP three times at large. That's because Thailand was never burdened with a communist dictatorship, nor a war of independence from France, then a civil war to unite the country under communist rule.

Worse, Vietnam has some more serious national security problems than Thailand. Namely, Vietnam has China as a neighbor, and several unresolved disputes over who owns some islands. So Vietnam is investing billions of dollars to upgrade its navy with Russian submarines and its air force with Russian fighters. This won't make Vietnam a match for China, but will make it much more expensive for China to attack. This has been the Vietnamese strategy for over a thousand years, and has generally worked. Vietnam also has to be prepared in case China revives its ancient claims on northern Vietnam, which is inhabited by a lot of people who originally fled membership in the Chinese empire.


Article Archive

Leadership: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close