Nothing Is Impossible: America's Reconciliation with Vietnam

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Rutgers University Press, Oct 15, 2021 - Political Science - 356 pages
Today Vietnam is one of America’s strongest international partners, with a thriving economy and a population that welcomes American visitors. How that relationship was formed is a twenty-year story of daring diplomacy and a careful thawing of tensions between the two countries after a lengthy war that cost nearly 60,000 American and more than two million Vietnamese lives.

Ted Osius, former ambassador during the Obama administration, offers a vivid account, starting in the 1990s, of the various forms of diplomacy that made this reconciliation possible. He considers the leaders who put aside past traumas to work on creating a brighter future, including senators John McCain and John Kerry, two Vietnam veterans and ideological opponents who set aside their differences for a greater cause, and Pete Peterson—the former POW who became the first U.S. ambassador to a new Vietnam. Osius also draws upon his own experiences working first-hand with various Vietnamese leaders and traveling the country on bicycle to spotlight the ordinary Vietnamese people who have helped bring about their nation’s extraordinary renaissance.

With a foreword by former Secretary of State John Kerry, Nothing Is Impossible tells an inspiring story of how international diplomacy can create a better world.


List of Photographs
Biên Ḥa Cemetery
A Note on the Text
An Improbable Friendship
A Time to Heal and a Time to Build
The Story of Pete Peterson
David and Goliath
The Legacies of
The Communist Party
The Notorious
A New Journey
A New President
Ditches and Tree Roots

Think Unthinkable Thoughts
Diplomacy from a Bicycle Seat
Châu Khiết and the Students of Vietnam
China and the TransPacific Partnership

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About the author (2021)

TED OSIUS, a diplomat for thirty years, served from 2014 to 2017 as U.S. ambassador to Vietnam, a country he has known and loved since 1995. Only the second gay career diplomat in U.S. history to achieve the rank of ambassador, Osius went to Vietnam with his husband and children.

JOHN FORBES KERRY is a former secretary of state and five-term U.S. senator. He is the author of A Call to Service: My Vision for a Better America, The New War, This Moment on Earth, and Every Day Is Extra. Kerry serves as the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate in the Biden-Harris administration.

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