Harris' Vietnam Trip Is About More Than the White House Is Letting On

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

In a little-noted story published in late July, the White House announced that Vice President Kamala Harris planned to take a trip to the Pacific region, with diplomatic stops in both Vietnam and Singapore — a trip which we now know starts this Friday.

CNBC:

Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Singapore and Vietnam next month to strengthen the U.S.’s relationship and economic ties with the Indo-Pacific region, the White House said in a statement on Friday.

[….]

The visit comes as the administration works to fortify regional ties with Southeast Asian nations, while pushing back on China’s influence in the region and globally.

Late Wednesday night, my colleague Jennifer Oliver O’Connell wrote about Harris — who was very vocal about being a historic role model for women and girls (and John Kerry-level haughty) on her trip to Mexico and Guatemala in June — suddenly going stone-cold silent in the face of brutality against women and girls by the Taliban. It was the talk of the conservative airwaves, as well it should be. But that isn’t the direction I’m going with on this.

There’s more to this than talk show fodder about “Hanoi redux,” as in the past 24 hours, the White House has pushed back, or as Fox News put it, doubled down on Harris’ Pacific escapade, while the Middle East and American credibility burns to the ground.

The White House doubled down on sending Vice President Kamala Harris to the Pacific amid the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan, telling Fox News that the United States “has many interests around the world.”

[….]

“There are no planned changes to the Vice President’s travel,” a White House official told Fox News on Wednesday. “She is being briefed regularly on the situation in Afghanistan and she and her national security team are actively engaged in White House and interagency discussions. While in Southeast Asia, she will continue to be briefed regularly and will remain actively engaged.”

“Given our global leadership role, we can and we must manage developments in one region while simultaneously advancing our strategic interests in other regions on other issues,” the White House official added. “The United States has many interests around the world, and we are well-equipped to pursue them all at the same time.”

The White House might as well have said, “We can walk and chew gum at the same time,” of course. As any spokesperson is expected to do. But there’s something else to this.

Hanoi is between 11,000 and 14,000 miles from Washington, D.C., depending on which mapping tool you use. And as my colleague Jim Thompson points out, you would be hard pressed to find a place on earth further from D.C. than the capital of Vietnam.

It immediately brings to mind what RedState wrote Sunday (see “Kamala Harris Is Set up to Get Shivved in the Back by Joe Biden Again) on the blame game on this Afghanistan debacle the White House has found itself in.

Indeed, word has it that Harris was overheard (allegedly) screaming, “They will not pin this sh** on me!”

There are several takes here. This trip might be the White House trying to save any face it can. Or it’s a symptom of Harris’ naked political ambition. Take your pick.

One key part from the July CNBC article makes me think it’s the latter — and this, undoubtedly, is the narrative you’ll hear everywhere in legacy media tomorrow: (emphasis mine)

Harris will be the first U.S. vice president to visit Vietnam, and the highest-ranking official from the Biden administration to visit the Indo-Pacific, and Asia overall.

Let’s speak plainly about the Biden administration and just about everything it does publicly. It’s rarely about doing anything. The July statement claimed that they seek to make strides in diplomacy, to stay China’s influence in the region, etc. But they really don’t. It’s about looking good to their progressive buddies at the UN or in the E.U.

And it doesn’t matter, ultimately, whether this Pan-Asia jaunt for Kamala is meant to fulfill the Left’s apparent goal to reverse anything that awful Donald Trump did on foreign policy, or simply Kamala trying to look presidential leading up to 2028 (or ’24).

It ends up with the same result the world suffered from during eight years of the Obama administration. To paraphrase Shakespeare’s Macbeth, only a group of idiots like this would attempt to sell this narrative — which, in the end, is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.