Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks at an event celebrating the 239th anniversary of the U.S. Independence Day in Hanoi July 2, 2015. Clinton is in...

Bill Clinton speaks about our relationship with Vietnam

Let me finish with something former President Bill Clinton said over the weekend over in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.

He spoke about our country’s relationship with Vietnam, a country we were at war with all those years.

He said there is “no American my age didn’t know at least someone who was killed here.” He spoke of the raging debate over that war, how both sides arguing the Vietnam war thought so little of the other.

And, how the two governments actually fighting that war…Vietnam’s and America’s twenty years ago accepted each other and were set free by that decision.  Clinton called that one of the most important achievements of his life, how it, as he said, “helped to heal the wounds of war, to build bonds of genuine friendship, and provided proof in an increasingly divided world that cooperation was far better than conflict.”

The former president described how Vietnam has going from being a country where people made barely a dollar a day twenty years ago, when we normalized relations with them, has seen explosive economic growth and how its children are now among the highest in the world in basic math, science and literature.

Finally, he spoke of how President Obama is trying to add to this record of economic cooperation with the TPP negotiations. He said he hoped “more than anything else that there will be as much bipartisan support for it as there was 20 years ago for the normalization of relations between the U.S. and Vietnam.” He said if our country can get good labor, human rights and environmental standards, the TPP will command the support of a broad swath of the American people.

What a difference a generation makes. A country we fought and bled for is now a diplomatic and economic partner…and Bill Clinton had a lot to do with it.