This study analyzes the speech that U.S. President Barack Obama delivered on May 24 2016 at the My Dinh National Convention Center in Hanoi, Vietnam to uncover how he fostered identification with the Vietnamese government and people during his visit. To carry out my study, I conducted a rhetorical analysis of Obama’s address and found that he performed cultural prudence and created identification between the two countries in ways that allowed him to fulfill his goals of articulating a new normalized foreign policy relationship with Vietnam as well as promoting democracy in Vietnam. Specifically, I argue that Obama embraced common interests between the two countries to ultimately ask Vietnam to join the U.S. force to unite against China. Then, I examine in-depth how Obama performed cultural prudence to advocate for a gradual approach toward a more democratized Vietnam. Finally, I explore Obama’s rhetoric of hope for a more perfect U.S. – Vietnam relation in the future. I conclude by offering some implications of this study’s findings for future foreign policy rhetoric directed at Communist nations in North and Southeast Asia.


Singh, Rohini


Communication Studies




rhetoric, presidential rhetoric, rhetoric of hope, identification, President Obama, Vietnam, prudence, U.S. – Vietnam relations

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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