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The President Drops the Ball in Asia October 6, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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Haven’t I been telling you?

I’ve been telling you.

As Obama’s Asia ‘pivot’ falters, China steps into the gap

To execute your foreign policy, you actually have to believe in your foreign policy. And the President doesn’t believe in anything but class struggle.


The article points out that we have failed to bump up our military presence in Australia, which was the “most dramatic symbol of the policy shift,” and that the President’s cancellation of his Asia trip was taken by Asian leaders as emblematic of his lack of commitment to Asia. Enter China.

There was one statement I didn’t particularly agree with:

Still, analysts and diplomats say Beijing has a long way to go to catch up with not just the long-dominant United States, but other regional military powers such as Australia, Japan and Russia.

“China has come late to the party,” said Richard Bitzinger, a military analyst at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

This is a silly statement, given that Russia is now a pretty close ally of China, and that Japan and Australia are currently pooping their pants over China’s military/geopolitical rise. One only has to look to the dispute over the Senkaku Islands to see that China has long since caught up with Japan, and now has no qualms about throwing its weight around.

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That statement reminds me of a fundamental truth I discovered 15 years ago about MBAs. The best (and worst) thing about MBAs is that they are totally, 100% focused on money. It’s all they really want to do. So you should put them in charge of making money.

Similarly, when you’re talking about the implications of foreign military buildups on US security, you should only listen to those who feel the need for that security in their gut. I.e., conservative analysts who have a visceral concern about China’s increasing influence on global affairs.

Here’s a recent example of a bad liberal analysis:

Julia Famularo wrote an article for The National Interest entitled The Latest From the Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO]. In it, she rightly points out that eliminating Western interference in Asia is a primary mission of SCO. Her conclusion, though, is completely off the rails:

The geostrategic importance of Central Asia makes it imperative for Western powers to encourage these states to adopt democratic norms and embrace human rights. The United States and its allies should consequently adapt a more vigorous policy of engagement with and investment in the region. The twenty-first century incarnation of the Great Game has already begun, and the West should play a productive and positive role in shaping Central Asia.

That’s a funny takeaway from the facts she’s laid out. First of all, while there’s a very valid case to be made for encouraging states to “embrace human rights,” that case has nothing to do with the geostrategic importance of Central Asia. Second, she just spent the bulk of her article telling us that SCO’s primary mission is to prevent Western interference, but she wants the West to interfere. Seems unlikely to work.

Finally, she knows the Great Game is afoot, but rather than worrying about US security and interests, or even global security and global interests, she’s worried about whether we can convince Asian countries to “adopt democratic norms.” Let’s see…odds of convincing China to adopt democracy before they have consolidated their power in Asia…think, think, think….. Oh yeah, 0.

We’re facing the rise of a militaristic, totalitarian regime which is well along in its execution of a decades-long plan to become the world’s sole superpower. And this liberal analyst is concerned about whether they’ll be respecting human rights while they’re crushing all their opposition.

I swear these people must spend their days poring over reports of China’s military buildup, and then dotting all the “i’s” with Care Bears.

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