In Vietnam, Bill Clinton healed the wounds of war; George W. Bush stopped off to talk economics. Barack Obama has different reasons for visiting. Today in Hanoi, he announced the end of an arms embargo that dates back to 1975 — sending a message clearly intended for China. It's all about the South China Sea, where Chinese oil drilling and military expansion intrude on some of the world's most vital waterways.
Mr. Obama did not let concerns about human rights get in the way. Human rights groups the end of the embargo to be conditioned on the release of political prisoners, an end to the beating of protesters and other human rights abuses.