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Goals of US 'Return-to-Asia' strategy questioned

By Zhong Sheng (People's Daily)

16:43, October 18, 2011

Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton published an article titled "America's Pacific Century" in the latest issue of Foreign Policy magazine, in which she has made it clear that the United States will shift its strategic focus to Asia in the future.

Clinton said in the article, "The future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the center of the action. One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will therefore be to lock in a substantially increased investment — diplomatic, economic, strategic and otherwise — in the Asia-Pacific region"

Clinton's remarks appear to lack something new. She once proclaimed in Thailand last summer, "The United States is back." The United States has paid more attention to the Asian-Pacific region than ever, particularly military spending. The "return" of the United States will deeply involve the country in the issues concerning Asia's politics, economy and security.

"The United States is back" is a famous phrase of Douglas Macarthur. The U.S. general, who once lost to the Japanese army during the Pacific War, said the words to announce the success of the U.S. counterattack when landing the territory of the Philippines again. Today's Asia is totally different from what it was six decades ago because the United States has neither been defeated by any Asian country nor suffered a loss in Asia. The United States has achieved enormous returns from Asia's development over the past two to three decades. Certainly, Asian countries have also benefited greatly from their cooperation with the United States.

Since the United States has never left Asia, why will it need to "return" to Asia? Given rapid economic development of Asian countries over recent years and the gradual formation of a new type of cooperation pattern, the United States is afraid to miss the express train of Asia's development and accordingly lose its dominance of regional affairs. The U.S. move to "return to Asia" aims to gain more interests from Asia's regional development and cement its dominant position in Asia. Clinton has got it straight that the United States is willing to continue to get involved and play leading roles.

The United States faces at least two challenges as it "returns" to Asia.

First, it should learn to get along with China. Its "return" to Asia has drawn people's attention back to a possible confrontation between itself and China. Many Western scholars believe that the reassertion of the leading U.S. role in Asia is directed against China because only China's rise can pose a potential challenge to its hegemony. Furthermore, a few Asian countries hope to take advantage of the United States, especially its military power, to strike a so-called strategic balance with China. If the United States adopts this mentality in "returning" to Asia, it will face a zero-sum game with China, and will neither benefit from Asia's development nor play a positive role in promoting th regional security.

Second, a leading role requires more than ambition. The United States' status in Asia ultimately depends on its input. It should play a more constructive role in promoting the regional economic development and cooperation in multiple fields, instead of expanding its military presence to show off its irreplaceability because it has proven to be a dead end. Certain Asian scholars are worried that once the United States finds itself unable to maintain its leading role, it may extort more money from Asian countries in the name of protection and even stir up trouble by playing dirty tricks.

Asia's development is an unstoppable trend, and Asian countries will get closer and closer to one another during the process of development. Asia is a big stage and has enough space for the "return" of the United States. In this regard, the superpower's priority should be putting itself in the right place and working out an appropriate and practical strategy.


Leave your comment15 comments

  1. Name

Freedom at 2011-10-2780.45.144.*
The US should be kicked out of Asia and Pacific!
OctOVfNt at 2011-10-2285.232.50.*
I really cuoldn"t ask for more from this article.
turtle ninja at 2011-10-19175.144.151.*
America wants to come to Asia so that it can get a piece of the pie. But eveywhere it goes, there is trouble and war. No one wants the US, only despots of Asia welcome them. Asians must show the US what they think of the imperialist. The people of vietnam still show the effects Agent Orange. Vietnam should show the world what Agent Orange did to them, and who showered them with this carcinogenic Agent orange.
LovingChina at 2011-10-19183.39.24.*
Oh dear 220.249.100.*, if the facts of the matters are defined as hatreds, then all Psychiatrists may have to retake examinations for requalification purposes; else they shall create more human-beasts armed with only the thoughts to cause revolutions, conflicts, wars and racial genocides in other countries. That they had proved to survive very well over the centuries in grabbing gold, minerals, oil, artefact and all valuables for free whilst they were/are happily watching the locals to maul apart their own kinds, (* actual scenes like the wars between N&S Vietnams, N&S Koreas, CPC&KMT China, Sukarno&Suharto Indonesia, others… … *). Trying to repeat such uncivilised feats in this new era of the 21st_century will prove to be very costly and self destructing without a doubt though it is focussed via a tunnel vision over the horizon about the future of political struggles and shitty warfare among people of the world. Thus, too, you had not understood the real crazy rages of hatreds yet if the reminders of the twin towers aircraft crashes that took more than 3000 lives and those bodily guts exploding out of human-TNT onto those they hated so terribly & horribly almost daily in those warring zones are not sufficient for you to digest. Then how about those military tomahawk & drone strikes that killed, injured and poisoned so many innocent beings almost daily out of stiff love, happiness & sanity? Next please, the surgery doctor calls out, hastily! Best wishes!
Pan Asian at 2011-10-19220.255.2.*
The US "Return-to-Asia" strategy is more akin to re-colonalism strategy. But what can we say, when some of those dimwits south east asians especially those american worshipping filipinos are not capable of self-government in an independent manner.

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