We must stop thinking small

VietNamNet Bridge – In the second part of the talks with VietNamNet, Professor Vu Minh Giang said that the ultimate goal of any country is the people's happiness.

The roundtable talks about Vietnam after 30 years of renovation had the participation of Prof. Vu Minh Giang, Senior Specialist, Chairman of the Scientific and Training Council of the Vietnam National University in Hanoi, and Prof. Tran Ngoc Vuong, Lecturer of the Literature Faculty of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities. 

VietNamNet: Discussing the issue of independence, I still remember that in the Declaration of Independence, President Ho Chi Minh also stressed: "Vietnam has the right to enjoy freedom and independence, and in fact it has become a free and independent country. The entire people of Vietnam are determined to use all the force and spirit, life and wealth to maintain their freedom and independence." Have we really had independence and freedom as President Ho's expectations or not?

Chúng ta phải chấm dứt tư duy nhỏ lẻ, vụn vặt

Professor Vu Minh Giang

Professor Vu Minh Giang: This is a huge problem and we cannot tell it in a simple way.

I say that it is not simple because the concept of national independence today is far different than the time when we lost independence. We have to preserve and protect independence in a new context, in the era of globalization.

In a "flat world" of the era of information explosion, and the stormy development of science and technology, independence is no longer a thing of our own to treat arbitrarily, whether it's just purely domestic policy decisions. Now every decision must be taken into account of its international impact. It is no coincidence that the world today is the "balance of dependent relationships". Now we cannot have absolute independence. A small incident occurs in this country is also known immediately in other countries. And one country can be involved in the developments in other countries that are very far away

We also need to know that the value of independence today is also different from the past. It includes new inner values, and the protection of independence is much harder than before.

Professor Tran Ngoc Vuong: The main task of an institution is to protect national independence, sovereignty and civil society development to make the people be happy.

Actually, if talking about social and political ideals, I have not seen any bad idea. The ideals that we pursue "freedom, equality, humanity" itself is beautiful. But whether that ideal is feasible or not, and how it is implemented in reality and if we cannot solve it, we are guilty before history.

Therefore, dealing with independence and national unity has been done better. And the desire to get ahead in the current national context, we have to try to reach the world’s development level.

One of the matters that I think a lot about is the marine economy. Vietnam is a separate country, with 3,260 km of coastline and many advantages to develop the marine economy, but it seems that we have not paid attention to this. Meanwhile, in some countries with such advantages, the marine economy accounts for 50-70% of the overall economy.

In fact, with all the geopolitical conditions, the level of education and the nature of social politics and many other aspects, a country like Vietnam can fully return to being a middle-power.

Seventy years is a very long time, today we are facing the risk of lagging behind the world. If we only compare today with yesterday, this year and last year to say that we are getting better, it is so simple. We should compare ourselves with the level and pace of development of other countries with similar conditions to see where they are and where we are.

VietNamNet: What is the importance of a country, the welfare of the people, or something else?

Professor Vu Minh Giang: Since ancient times, there seems to be an immutable truth that people are the root and the government has to respect the people. Without the people, the country means nothing.

The period when we shifted to democracy was when the people were returned as the real value of the social master. Therefore, the ultimate goal of any country under democracy is also considering the welfare of the people as the most important thing.

However, it is in theory. When that theory is used in each country, each situation, or each historical period there will be a difference. As we all know, there are countries in which the people with political power are considered the most important ones and other social forces have to follow and obey these people. They call it a dictatorship, and as we have seen, dictatorships collapsed sooner or later and had to be subject to the judgment of the people and history.

When identifying a strong or weak country, people often consider two perspectives: hard power and soft power. Hard power is the power that can be seen through specific figures such as the total gross domestic product, foreign exchange reserves, the amount of weapons, while soft power is the power of culture and national prestige through policies.

If hard power is generated by the imposition, soft power creates attractiveness that make other people love and trust. That is why it is often called hard power, the power of thrust, and soft power is gravity.

In the current stage, the support from the people is very important for the country.

Recalling the 1945 event, we can see that at that time the revolutionary government had just come out, the armed forces were almost nothing. General Vo Nguyen Giap, the commander in chief, established an army of 34 soldiers in Tan Trao, who were equipped with only scimitars, hackbuts. Our treasury had only a few thousand Indochina banknotes. We hardly had no hard power, but why was that government still firm? It all depended on the people. After the government called upon the people, the people donated thousands of taels of gold for the government to buy weapons and to feed the government.

I suddenly remember a story in history, under the Tran Dynasty. When King Tran Anh Tong visited Hung Dao Vuong when he was seriously ill, the King asked him about strategies to retain the country. Hung Dao Vuong did not say a word about war or military, but calmly explained the cause of the three-time victories over the Mongols: the consensus and unity in the country. 

Well, the lessons learnt from history are still very valuable. The happiness of the people is the top priority.

VietNamNet: In your opinion, how can we make the people happy?

Chúng ta phải chấm dứt tư duy nhỏ lẻ, vụn vặt

Prof. Vu Minh Giang: People will be happy when their legitimate demands are satisfied, not only physical needs, but also spiritual needs, freedom and their special needs to know how their sweat, their money contributed to the development of the country.

When those things are not transparent, then the people cannot be happy.

I think there are two issues that people are concerned about today.

Firstly, how has the government used the funds contributed by the people?

Secondly, the relationship between the government and the people.

With the personality of the Vietnamese people, maybe they do not place material on top, but they need to be respected and listened to.

The people must be involved in the political process and control the process of implementation of such rights. In other words, the government must belong to the people.

Professor Tran Ngoc Vuong: From the perspective of a scientific researcher, I do not believe how much is enough to the people. However, for the Vietnamese people, they highly respect equality. That is spontaneous equality and the needs for spontaneous equality. Vietnamese tradition is not resigning themselves to their fate and the Vietnamese people's patience is low. Perhaps, it is a kind of strength.

Therefore, if the Vietnamese are satisfied with the elements of transparency, accountability, and fairness, they'll trust the government.

To be continued…


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