An Interview with Viet Nam's Nguyen Van Linh

"Let us put the war behind us and work for a peaceful future"

Nguyen Van Linh is, in a sense, the Mikhail Gorbachev of Viet Nam. Named last December to replace Truong Chinh as General Secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party, the 72-year-old economist has initiated a series of broad economic reforms, while encouraging citizens to voice their complaints and offer suggestions for change. Unlike the aging guard that led the wars against France and the U.S., then allowed the country to stagnate in poverty, Linh plans to raise his country's standard of living by streamlining the bureaucracy, cracking down on corruption and expanding trade with the West. He is also eager to improve...