This is....actually, not an entirely bad idea, come to think of it:
Barack Obama could lift restrictions on arms sales when he makes his first visit to Vietnam next week.
That would remove a final vestige of wartime animosity but would not please [Red] China, which views growing U.S. defense ties in its backyard with deep suspicion amid rising tensions in the disputed South China Sea.
I doubt this step would make much of a strategic difference. Vietnam, while a traditional foe of the ChiComms, is hardly any match for Beijing and wouldn't be more than a minor irritant on its southern flank even if we did arm them. But they do have skin in the South China Sea game, and it would be at least one more factor for the Xi regime to weigh in their eastward expansion. And it's astonishing to see President Divot actually recognizing for a change that the globe is a chess board, and trying to move some pieces on it.
Of course, the Vietnamese have their own interests and agenda, and aren't shrinking from driving a hard bargain:
As part of efforts to help Southeast Asian nations counter Beijing, the U.S. in 2014 announced it was allowing sales to Vietnam of lethal defense equipment for maritime security. Vietnam has not bought any but wants further restrictions on arms sales removed to show relations are fully normalized. [emphasis added]
Naturally. Practically ever other current and former enemy can bilk The One stark naked - why shouldn't Hanoi take a crack at it? It's like patronizing a casino where the house never wins.
Exit thought: I wonder if the ChiComms could make them a better offer? Hmmm....