While the media focuses on the current American President Asian trip as apology visit’s….
And on American Politics for the Presidential Race…..
In addition to the President’s trip to Viet Nam, Hiroshema and on to the G-8 Summit in Japan…There is MORE going on under the surface…..
Asian/American TRADE and STABILITY ….
Obama was supposed to be here in Vietnam and later in the week in Japan to help seal up the Trans Pacific Partnership, the most concrete example of his pivot to Asia being for real. Instead this trip, aides acknowledge, is now being sucked up in part by the need to reassure leaders in the region that America’s international engagement will last once he’s gone.
They choose their words carefully. But they are nervous.
“In history there is a moment people are getting angry and frustrated, asking for a very quick solution to the problems they are facing,” said Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Kenichirō Sasae. “I don’t think that’s happening at this moment, but I just simply want to say that once we begin to slip into that mode, there is a danger.”
In his own meetings with leaders, Obama chalks up the campaign rhetoric to anxiety about the uneven economic recovery.
Other administration officials have a fuller pitch, complete with polling data they say shows that it’s the older voters who are the isolationists, which means that the future is really with the younger voters who think more globally and support open trade in the highest numbers.
“That bodes well for the future. This doesn’t mean that America is going to have a generational shift inward,” said a top administration official who’s in touch with foreign leaders. “If anything, in four or eight years you’re going to see more and more people who view themselves as international citizens.”
This argument isn’t really sinking in.
“Politics is politics,” said former Obama Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who’s still often in touch with officials in Asia, but “when you see Secretary Clinton pull back on something as big as TPP—it was an effort she championed—that’s a very disconcerting optic for our allies, especially our Asia-Pacific allies.”
Then there’s Trump, who said, famously, “Who cares if there’s a trade war?” He also suggested that Asian leaders don’t pull their weight in the world, and that maybe Japan and South Korea should go nuclear. So far, he’s not even mentioned Beijing’s incursions into the South China Sea.
“Considering that the vacuum caused by a U.S. withdrawal may invite dramatic change in the region’s political dynamism, we see it as essential that the U.S. continue its engagement,” said a South Korean official.
“The future of the U.S. lies in the Asia-Pacific,” the South Korean official added. “In most cases, not all campaign pledges are translated into policy actions. Whoever is in the White House, I am sure that he or she will not be able to dismiss the benefits of stability and prosperity in the region.”….
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