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Thursday, 22 November 2012

What’s the intention of Obama’s visit to Asia?

From Nov. 18 to Nov. 20, U.S. President Barack Obama visited Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia, and attended the 4th ASEAN-U.S. Leader’s Meeting and 7th East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It is his first diplomatic visit after the reelection, and he has become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar.
A woman takes a photo of a wall painting created by Myanmar graffiti artists to welcome President Obama in Yangon, Myanmar on Saturda(Photo: AP)

The three-day visit reflects Asian strategies of the Obama administration in the second term, which can be summarized into one focus, dual purposes and three pillars.

One focus refers to that Obama will promote the “rebalance” strategy in Asia during his second term. Southeast Asia is the focus of the Obama administration’s “rebalance” strategy. In other words, the U.S. will devote more political, economic, military, security and strategic resources to Southeast Asia in the course of shifting its strategic focus back to Asia Pacific.

Dual purposes mean that the United States, on the one hand, maintains dominance in Asia Pacific and, on the other hand, benefits from rapid economic development in Asia Pacific. The U.S. has for long been worried that the rise of emerging powers like China will squeeze its strategic room in Asia Pacific, its allies in the region might be alienated and it might be excluded from economic integration of Asia Pacific. Obama’s visit to Asia is designed to achieve the dual purposes mentioned above.

Three pillars are strengthening existing alliance, expanding new partnership and benefiting from the multilateral mechanisms. In Thailand, Obama highlighted the significance of traditional allies. Under the disguise of democracy, human rights and freedom, Obama tried to develop new partnership to expand the U.S. presence and influence on Southeast Asia in Myanmar. To achieve the end, the U.S. phased out political, military and economic sanctions against Myanmar, and claimed to provide an aid of 170 million U.S. dollars. In Cambodia, the U.S. attended the East Asia Summit, 4th ASEAN-U.S. Leader’s Meeting and Trans-Pacific Partnership Summit to secure a foothold in the Asian multilateral mechanisms.

Furthermore, the Obama administration is making slight adjustments to the “rebalance” strategy. He attached proper importance to economy and culture during his visit since the United States has received criticism for overplaying the military and security issues, as well as ill-disguised hostility against China.

The Obama administration is playing trick in the “rebalance” strategy. But, Man proposes, God disposes. The “God” refers to the regional and global trends. Those who bow before it survive and those who resist perish.

Read the Chinese version: 奥巴马亚洲之行的小九九, source: Jinghua Times, author: Jia Xiudong

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