Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines – Obama’s Asia trip. The allies look closely at the Ukraine-policy of the U.S. president. Because if he does not stop Russia, what can he do against the great power China?
A trip with very clear messages should be that. Actually. So Barack Obama visited four countries within the next seven days on its Asian tour. These are the three close allies Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines plus.
The intended signals of the U.S. president:
* America’s strategic realignment to the Pacific region (“pivot to Asia”) is not a theory-practice, but concrete policies.
* China’s rise does not relieve the country from the observance of international standards.
* The U.S. understand itself as protector of its Asian allies.
That was the plan . But now Obama is because of the Ukraine in an all- overlapping conflict with Russia . He may still impose further sanctions against Moscow during his trip to Asia . The crisis always travels with : Ukraine on my mind But above all, some of his interlocutors – Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, South Korea’s President Park Geun Hye , the Philippine President Benigno Aquino – U.S. reactions to the events in the former Soviet republic are very accurately track . And then draw their conclusions .
They all pay attention to parallels between the two systems autocratic Russia and China. They are all with the red giant empire in their neighborhood – and sometimes each other – the dispute over uninhabited islands , rocks , fishing grounds , reefs . Can they trust Obama’s reinsurance? If he does not succeed , Russia to stop in Ukraine – what are the commitments of the American with regard to China worth it?
US President Obama Asia Trip:Principle of non-interference
” Depending on how the United States operate in one region of the world , the consequences in other regions,” says Jeremy Shapiro, under Hillary Clinton in the planning department of the U.S. Department of State . And Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser , says: ” The international order that is at stake in Ukraine , also plays in East Asia with a view to territorial disputes a major role. ”
However, there is a crucial difference between Ukraine and America’s Asian allies . They are just that : Allies . Just in case the United States would come to the rescue , as it is enshrined in defensive alliances. No contract but binds Washington in Ukraine. In addition, it is pointed out in U.S. government circles that China will probably leave little by the Russian example to land grabs carried away because Beijing will arrange my own but because independence aspirations of Chinese parts of the country , and always insist on the principle of non-interference .
Japan’s growing nationalism makes Obama’s reinsurance mission these days but not exactly simple . Just over a hundred Japanese politicians have the controversial Yasukuni Shrine visits , where war criminals are honored . In China and South Korea, the former victims of Japanese aggression , which has caused great indignation. Following this, Obama expected during the visit to Seoul possibly a renewed provocation of hunger dictatorship in North Korea : The South Korean government fears that Pyongyang could test a nuclear bomb just during the visit .
US President Obama Asia Trip:Complicated balancing act
Obviously, despite all these adversities the efforts of Washington, not to be dissuaded from his Asian agenda. The pivot to Asia remains “the right strategy,” writes Obama’s former security adviser Tom Donilon in the “Washington Post”. The reorientation go hand in hand with the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. From then on, just head to a region, “the U.S. has the best chance.”
In fact, Obama sought with the “Trans – Pacific Partnership ” (TPP ) to a free trade agreement, which connects a total of twelve Pacific nations. China is not there. The negotiations are more advanced than those with the Europeans for the “Trans- Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership ” ( TTIP ) . But it is not expected even in this Asia trip with a breakthrough.
The program behind it is clear: if the United States shape the economic rules of the game in Asia, then China will sooner or later have to approach this . Or, as former National Security Advisor Donilon expresses : “America’s Vision for Asia – stable order , open markets , peaceful resolution of conflicts , respect for human rights – China provides the appropriate environment for its rise . ” That sounds pretty unlikely to get caught up in the People’s Republic but . For where the U.S. rather want to define barriers , fears Beijing containment , thus curbing its political and economic expansionism .
It is a complicated balancing act for Obama to avoid this impression on his journey.
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