For almost two decades, US policy toward Vietnam has been guided by the past. Today, in the wake of a massive and largely unforseen upheaval in the world order, it is time to assess the nature and importance of future relations between our two contries. The US can no more dictate the outcome in Vietnam today than it could 25 years ago, but it should by now have recognized that a policy of isolation only strengthens the hard-liners while frustrating the new generation of Vietnam--both inside and outside government--who are poised to lead their nation in new and more welcome directions.