Dr. Hans Stockton is Assistant Professor in the Center for International Studies at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. His area of specialization is the political economy of democratic transition and consolidation in contemporary Asia Pacific. He has published in Asian Perspectives, Comparative Political Studies, the Chinese Journal of Public Administration, the American Journal of Chinese Studies, Global Economic Review, and Party Politics. Dr. Stockton is the author of The Impact of Democratization on the Utilization of Clientelistic Styles of Ruling Parties in East Asia (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2003).
2006 0-7734-5870-0 Vietnam has set 2005 as the target date for accession to the World Trade Organization. This momentous occasion would mark another milestone in Vietnam’s decades-long re-entry into the global community. Since the mid-1980s, the Vietnamese Communist Party has sought a difficult balancing act that bifurcates liberalism into two forms; one acceptable (economic) and one unacceptable (political). While Vietnam’s decision-makers have decided that entry into the global system of economic liberalism will complement the country’s economic development goals, the Vietnamese Communist Party has yet to eagerly embrace political liberalism. This volume addresses the domestic and international context of Vietnam’s global integration challenges with particular focus on the ruling party debate over liberalization; necessary economic and legal adjustments for WTO accession and the subsequent new challenges to the party’s legitimacy; emergence of civil society as a potentially empowered political actor; and the relationship between Vietnam and the United States. This volume finds that Vietnam’s accession may create as many new problems for Vietnam’s leadership, while aggravating extant tensions between urban and rural populations. It is clear that WTO accession is intended to bolster the economic legitimacy of the Communist Party, yet offers little respite from growing political and social challenges for the party in the 21st century.