November 28, 2011
President Obama’s recent stance on China is a welcome change for the better, but more needs to be done, says Heritage Foundation expert Walter Lohman.
Lohman explains the administration’s recent strides:
It has become rote analysis that American Presidents come into office hard on China and reverse over time. The Obama Administration has turned that on its head. The election cycle cannot account for the extensive groundwork required for this trip’s success. It was a product of [Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton’s extensive diplomacy over the past three years, the global force posture review, the TPP negotiations, and other behind-the-scenes work with friends and allies.
“The Administration is finally articulating a compelling response to the China challenge,” he continues, praising the administration’s efforts on promoting trade and freedom of the seas, reaffirming our alliance with Australia and signing the Manilla Declaration.
These steps could set America on the right track to securing its interests in the region. But there’s much more to be done.
For one thing, the pending defense cuts could undermine the progress we’ve made:
The American presence he emphasized on his visit is not sustainable in the event of a trillion-dollar cut in defense spending. Given the scope of America’s global commitments, “pivoting” to Asia will not square the circle. He has only one option: work with Republicans in Congress to reverse the impact of the cuts triggered by failure of the deficit “super committee.” His threat to veto any such effort undermines the very Asia policy he and his Administration are so vigorously enunciating.
What do you think? What should America’s role in the Pacific be, and how should we achieve that goal?