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Indeed, last month, on the 15th anniversary of the normalization of ties between Washington and Hanoi, the Senate Foreign Relations chairman and great liberal Democrat Sen. John Kerry, said, “Vietnam’s domestic politics are gradually changing, becoming more open and transparent.”

Of course they are. That’s why the Vietnamese arrested Mr. Hoang and Mr. Dinh and all the rest. That’s why they ban all other political parties.

That’s why they rigorously censor the Internet.

That’s why, every Tuesday, the nation’s editors-in-chief troop over to the Information Ministry to be told what they can and can’t write.

Sure, Mr. Kerry, things are getting more open and transparent in Vietnam. And pigs are flying higher, too, you know.

Memo to Hanoi: There is nothing wrong with people getting involved in politics. As President Kennedy said: “Political action is the highest responsibility of a citizen.”

And now the bad news:

Vietnam has a collapsing currency. On Aug. 17, the same day when Mr. Hoang was arrested, Mr. Dung’s government devalued the dong for the third time since November.

After the official 2.1 percent devaluation, the dong plummeted further and was not helped when a government adviser let slip that Vietnam risked a foreign-currency liquidity “shock.”

Its currency has now slumped 5.2 percent this year - the worst performance of 17 monitored Asian currencies.

Vietnam also has racked up a catastrophic trade deficit this year that has nearly doubled to $7.4 billion in the seven months to July.

It also has the world’s worst-performing stock market. The benchmark VN Index has dropped 8.4 percent this month - the most of 93 markets tracked by Bloomberg globally.

Mr. Dung’s communist regime is not only throwing innocent pro-democracy advocates into jail, but it has proved utterly inept at running an economy.

Second memo to the dinosaurs: Consider why, despite social unrest, Thailand’s economy is booming.

The reason lies in last week’s comment by Industry Minister Chaiwuti Bannawat, who said, “The government has a role to play in supporting the private sector, but not leading it. I don’t believe the government is more capable than the private sector.”

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