Aftermath of the Vietnam War.
If there is one word that best describes Ambassador Peterson's mission in Vietnam, it is "Reconciliation." Peterson came to Vietnam to help heal the emotional wounds of war, to mend the U.S. and Vietnam's political fences and to begin to build strong economic relations. It is an enormous task.

Resolving the fate of MIAs from both sides during the war is the greatest emotional issue and remains at the forefront of the U.S. agenda. A Joint Task Force has been working in Vietnam since 1992 to locate American MIAs. For Vietnam's fallen soldiers, there is no task force. But this doesn't diminish the nation's sorrow over it's 300,000 MIAs.

As its doors opened to foreign investment in the early 1990s, entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 countries poured in. Doing business in Vietnam is not for the faint hearted. It requires long term investment and risk-taking. Promised reforms have been slow as Vietnam tries to streamline its bureaucracy, writes the laws needed to move into a free-market economy and rid itself of corruption. Asia's financial crisis, which began in 1997, has also been a factor in cooling earlier enthusiasm.

American investors have also been hampered by U.S. government restrictions imposed on doing business with a communist country. Formalizing the relationship with Vietnam is very much a political issue. Peterson goes back to Capitol Hill regularly to fight not only for the legislation but also to urge his former colleagues in congress to put aside the past and move forward.


Home | The Man: Peterson | The Country: Vietnam | The Mission: Reconciliation | The Program | Teacher's Notebook | Production Credits | Links | Site Index | Order a Video

The Political Arena Business in Vietnam Two Nations Grieve