Periodic opinions from The Relentless Liberal, Jerome Grossman
Monday, October 7, 2013
Political turmoil at home has undercut a plan by the United States to focus more on Asia as a growing and dynamic factor in world affairs. White House energies and strategies had “pivoted” in preparation for world power shifts away from the traditional pre-occupations with Europe and the Middle East to the faster growing Pacific Basin.
Doubts about US policies are fed by American preoccupations with relatively unimportant nations like Syria and Israel absorbing US attention and energies. Asian allies of the US worry about US absence in their affairs: will the US help them when they are under pressure from China? Will the US retreat from its desire to act as a superpower in the Pacific area? Will it get its fiscal house in order to maintain its hegemony in the world?
As President Obama made apologetic calls to Asia to cancel his long planned trip to the region, China's leader, Xi-JinPing was the substitute star in many of the same countries, offering commercial and military deals for closer relationships and billions of dollars in trade.
China's trade with those countries has grown so quickly that many now regard China as its leading trading partner. Obama’s “pivot” strategy involves organizing Asiatic nations but not China (a must noteworthy exception) for joint commercial, aesthetic and military programs. We must continue to support such activities all over the Pacific for commercial, military and aesthetic reasons. Where is Obama, the China leader might answer, “Busy with Syria and the Republicans.”