I saw the headline, and I knew what to look for:U.S. agrees to deal for Vietnam to join WTO
What would the US demand from some small developing country that delt the American empire one of its major defeats? Maybe the US government would just demand conditions that are reasonable and reciprocal (lower barriers to trade in goods), or maybe the US would demand concessions that are really one-sided, such as the right of the rich country to buy up the poor country.
The pact lowers Hanoi's tariffs on U.S. industrial and farm products and removes other barriers that block U.S. companies in sectors such as telecommunications, retailing, banking, insurance and energy from doing business in Vietnam, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said.
So the US demanded that Vietnam allowed US companies to set up shop in Vietnam, even taking control of fundamental infrastructure of the country (energy, finance, and communications).
Do typical Americans get anything out of this? I doubt it. It's not like we'll be working in those shops. It may increase the ranks of middle-managements at the companies that buy-up Vietnam, but that's about it. The US government will also get a share of the loot in the form of Corporate income tax and such. And of course, US investors will have one more profitable investment available to them, which is the real point of all this.
What does Vietnam stand to loose? Well, at one extreme, there's the complete shutdown of their energy, communications, and financial system if they have another political spat with the wealthy nations. In the more immediate scope, they may be afraid that the US telecommunications companies will aid the US government in spying
on Vietnamese citizens.
Clearly Vietnam will benefit from the reduction of US trade barriers, but I can't help suspecting that there's something more to it. The Party leaders in Vietnam will probably cash in on whatever new business goes on in their country--whether through more power as government officials (higher tax revenues) or more power as "private" individuals, coming from bribes, or the ability to transform their political power into personal ownership of resources that are valuable to the Westerners.