Letter 3 (page 6)

The world

There was a lot of fury from some groups when Mr Clinton normalised relations with Vietnam which shows mainly what bad losers they are. There are 1,618 military personnel listed as missing-in-action (MIAs) in Vietnam and the Vietnamese have been expected to account for all of them. The Vietnamese have been accused of continuing to hold American prisoners and of withholding information on others. From what I've read, these claims are virtually groundless and are largely (understandable) wishful thinking on the part of relatives. Compare those 1,618 with the 8,170 American MIAs from the Korean war and 78,750 from World War II.

America had fully restored relations with the Japanese and Germans in 1951, a mere 6 years after the war, and played a major role in rebuilding both countries. The Vietnamese have 300,000 MIAs of their own.

I was surprised to find out that more Americans died in 3 years of fighting in Korea than in 12 years of fighting in Vietnam. That war had been so forgotten that a national memorial was opened just last week, over 40 years after it finished.

The US Congress and Senate passed separate bills to lift the arms embargo on Bosnia though the effect is largely symbolic. I've been a little surprised that no-one in the US has argued against the French and British position by saying how lucky they were that the US didn't impose an arms embargo on everyone during World War II. The outcome would have been quite different if they had.

At least there is something good that has happened with Aung San Suu Kyi being released in Burma. What a remarkable woman.

And in confusion ...

There’s so much I wanted to say about our new life as it so interesting to see what is different in our new home. However, it is like Protestants and Catholics noting all that separates them and ignoring all that they have in common. America is like Australia except more commercialised and less tolerant of failure and differences. It’s fun for the moment but we look forward to getting back to Australia sooner rather than later. Australia is a great place.

That’s all for now.

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