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Obama Administration Still Committed to Asia Pivot


In a big speech at Georgetown University on Wednesday national security advisor Susan Rice re-made the case for President Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” a big and bold policy maneuver that has fallen down the priority list in his second term. “The United States of America will be there—reliable, constant, strong and steady—for the long term,” said Rice.

Since Obama’s reelection, the US has been criticized for failing to live up to the promise of the “pivot.” During the same period, China escalated an economic and diplomatic charm offensive across the region, from Turkmenistan to Vietnam. Partly because the Middle East remains so unstable, Obama and his team haven’t devoted the attention and resources necessary to follow through on the “pivot.”

Rice’s speech, “hastily put together,” as the Washington Post reports, was short on specifics and focused mostly on China, with criticisms of state-sponsored hacking and economic espionage. But she emphasized the warming relationship and highlighted areas of mutual interest between Washington and Beijing.

It’s good to see that Washington hasn’t yet given up on what should be a major foreign policy initiative. A stronger focus on a rising Asia will remain key to US foreign policy, something likely to stay true no matter who wins in 2016. Serious people in both parties understand the importance of Asia for US security and economy in the 21st century.

[Susan Rice photo courtesy Getty Images.]

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  • Bruce

    Does anybody really believe that China’s long term plan includes being a partner with the U.S? Their plan includes world domination and weakening the U.S. Wait until they partially back their currency with gold and see what happens to the fiat U.S. dollar which is backed by a printing press. The end of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency is their first step – of many.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “The United States of America will be there—reliable, constant, strong and steady—for the long term,” said Rice.

    I don’t think any of our Allies think Obama has their back. (Poland, Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc…) So why would the Asian countries staring down the barrel of a Belligerent Chinese Tyranny, be so foolish as to trust Obama to have their back?

    • Corlyss

      Rice=another vacuous twit in a skirt, like Val and Powers. Obama’s put women in jobs that ought to have tough men in them, or at least a tough woman like Kirkpatrick, Albright, and Clinton. Instead, he puts in these non-threatening mother figures that blather about human rights and couldn’t project toughness if their lives depended on it.

    • USNK2

      “The United States of America will be there—reliable, constant, strong and steady—for the long term,” said Rice.

      Does Susan Rice really believe anyone believes that about the USA?

      After all, Obama’s transformed USA has seriously miffed Canada (Arctic issues and Keystone pipeline); and Mexico.
      Pivot to Asia? How about a pivot to our physical neighbors!

  • Corlyss

    Words . . . words . . . . words. This administration thinks words are actions. Our Asian allies aren’t fooled one bit.

  • Kavanna

    The “pivot to Asia” is completely vacuous. As is the Middle East, everyone knows the US is abandoning foreign policy because Obama is bored with it. So regional tensions are rising, along with arms races.

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