Vietnam Society and Defense

Vietnam Society and Defense

Population, society and rights

Vietnam had almost 90 million residents in 2013, more than half of whom were born after the end of the war against the United States. About 68% of the population lives in rural areas, while more than a third of the remaining 32% is concentrated in the capital Hanoi, in the north of the country, or in Ho Chi Minh City, in the south. From an ethnic point of view, the population is decidedly homogeneous: 86% of the residents of the country are of Viet ethnicity and no minority exceeds 2%.

The literacy, education and health indices paint a relatively advanced social picture compared to the regional context, but the situation in terms of political and civil rights, freedoms and information is typical of an authoritarian country. The Socialist Republic, in fact, is considered by Freedom House to be a non-free country, closely controlled by the single party. The media cannot express opinions critical of the regime, nor accuse politicians of misrule, corruption or illicit acts. When this happens, journalists and bloggers face arrest. Nonetheless, given the low average age, there has been a tremendous boom in Internet use over the past decade, with a twelve-thousand-fold increase in users.

Defense and security

Vietnam continues to support a considerable military effort, in both economic and human terms. The lack of broad popular consensus and the cumbersome presence of the nearby Chinese power, with which the aforementioned dispute over the Spratly and Paracel Islands is underway, led the Vietnamese regime to maintain military spending equal to 2.2% of the GDP (however, this is an estimate, as the actual values ​​are a state secret) which led to an increase of 82% between 2002 and 2011. The country employs 482,000 soldiers and 40,000 paramilitaries in the armed forces and it has, if necessary, 5 million reservists, framed in the People’s Forces for self-defense for urban areas, and in the People’s Militia for rural areas. The Vietnamese army is thus the fourth largest in the world in terms of human resources, after those of Russia and the two Koreas. With the convergence of the interests of foreign powers in the South China Sea, whose waters have acquired a particular strategic value in terms of energy and security, the military elite has in recent years set up a series of international agreements to improve the navy, consisting of 40,000 soldiers. In this sense, Vietnam has entered into agreements with the United States and India. The latter, in 2010, agreed to provide technology to better equip Vietnamese naval bases and agreed to launch joint military operations in mountainous and jungle areas. The United States, on the other hand,

Next Eleven Economies

In 2005 Goldman Sachs coined the term Next Eleven Economies to define a group of eleven countries destined to establish themselves in the twenty-first century as the most important economies in the world. The US bank believes, in fact, that after the rise of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) it will be the turn of Vietnam, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey, South Korea and Mexico. However, only the latter two countries, according to Goldman Sachs experts, have the potential to assume a leadership role at an economic comparable to that of the BRICs. The parameters for defining the N-11, heterogeneous in political, social and economic order, are openness to trade and foreign investment, macroeconomic stability, political maturity and the quality of the education system. Since 1990, Vietnam, one of the poorest countries in the Next Eleven Economies, has made substantial improvements in the sectors monitored by Goldman Sachs. It is estimated that in the next decade it will record the highest growth in per capita GDP, and that in 2025 it will be the seventeenth economic power in the world after Iran and before Pakistan.

Vietnam Defense

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