Vietnam wants to purchase and utilise US weapons but the United States wants Vietnam to have them even more.
Of course even the media is reporting this huge shift in US policy is due to the growing tensions with China. The media continues to insist China has acted in an aggressive manner.
It's often the case that it's more complicated than the official story being presented by the media.
In this case it's pretty simple. It's the United States that's the aggressor and it's not that hard to understand why, that is if you accept the American imperial paradigm.
China has to be kept down in order for the US to maintain global hegemony. China has to be blocked both in Asia and around the world. Their access to resources needs to be limited and they have to be contained.
The US is deliberately pushing them, inciting proxies to assert claims in the region and pushing for new alliances in East Asia.
Does the US want a war? Many think so. I think it more likely the United States would like to see China put under tremendous pressure, lose face and be subjected to internal turmoil.
In the 1970s the United States established a relationship with China in order to make a move against the USSR and its ally North Vietnam.
While China provided some support for North Vietnam, historically the nations have been enemies. The fact that they both claimed to be communist did little to change that.
In fact China and a newly united Vietnam fought a brief war in the late 1970s, a fact that many have forgotten.
China backed Cambodia and when Vietnam invaded to oust the Khmer Rouge, China wasn't too happy and viewed Vietnam's expansion as a Soviet ploy.
The US continued to wage a low-scale war against Vietnam throughout the 1980s, and supported the Khmer Rouge from its bases along the Thai border. Bangkok has long served as a US proxy and regional base for operations. It's a long, dark and complicated tale.
But in the 1990s things began to change and today the US and Vietnam find common cause in opposing China.
Of course I can't fathom the Vietnamese shaking hands with a US president. I would consider that a loss of face. Perhaps they view it as a triumph that the US is coming as a quasi-supplicant.
The US certainly doesn't view it that way. I'm sure the Vietnamese are wary and it would be very difficult for them to consider allowing US troops to be based in their country but stranger things have happened.
The media continues to focus on the China angle but I think they've missed something... the same issue that arose with the Cuba rapprochement.
Vietnam's historical ally has been Russia and this has continued right up to the present. The fact that the US is now edging into Vietnam and that they may begin to depend on US weapons systems and perhaps even eventually US strategic planning is a major foreign policy coup on the part of the United States.
The US hasn't quite made Vietnam into a proxy but their growing presence can only weaken Russian influence.