Asan Plenum


Panel: US Pivot to Asia (Regency Room)
Date/Time: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 / 12:30-13:45
Talking Points for: Walter Lohman, Heritage Foundation

The re-commitment implied in the “pivot,” shorn of its political content, is necessary and useful. It must be sufficiently resourced with trade policy, security commitments ? including deployment of military assets ? and enhanced diplomatic presence. At present, it is not. Much of the “pivot” is rhetoric. Like changing the SED to the S&ED, it created a distinction between the Obama Administration and its predecessor. It conveniently plugged into the 2008 campaign positions about “smart power” and reinvigorating alliances, and most importantly, drawing down military commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, the Bush Administration often expressed commitment to Asia. It negotiated three regional FTA’s. It initiated the TPP. President Bush and his cabinet secretaries also travelled to Asia. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan did absorb a great deal of energy. But the Middle East is also taking away from the amount of attention the Obama administration pays to Asia. On top of this, the rhetoric from the Administration has created conditions for an effective Chinese counter-argument about U.S. intentions. The truth is that is the U.S. is committed to its leadership role in Asia ? across administrations, Democrat and Republican.