Tuesday, July 11, 2017

When You Remove the Hope and Change, America Still Stands

The idea that America under Trump is abandoning Asia by "gutting" our policies is ludicrous.

What world does this writer live on?

Mr. Trump has taken a number of steps that gut the core of former President Barack Obama’s strategy for adding economic and security muscle to America’s role in the Asia-Pacific region.

So what is the evidence he cited to back that broad claim?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-nation trade pact led by the United States that was the economic backbone of the “pivot?” Out.

Security partnerships have been rattled, with allies like South Korea and Japan being told they need to pay more for the security blanket that the US has been providing in the era of a rising China.

Moreover, the attempt to tether Asia more closely to the US-led international system of rules-based agreements and institutions has been undercut by the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord – an agreement with particularly strong relevance for developing Asian economies – ironically ceding US leadership to China.

The rest of the article is just a lot of people who don't like Trump assuming doom is descending. The above are the only reasons given. What of them?

TPP was so unpopular that even Hillary Clinton turned against it. It was not going to pass as negotiated even if Obama had a third term.

The "pivot" is putting a higher percentage of a shrinking American military in the Pacific--and that shift was taking place before that policy announcement as a natural evolution of the collapse of the Soviet Union. And how is pushing allies to spend more on defense--as we are--to balance China undermining our ability to balance China?

And as for the climate accord? What rule said we couldn't withdraw from it? It is in fact a meaningless bit of fluff that will have no measurable effect on the climate even assuming everything the global warmers say about the future and the effects of the agreement are true. And how is an agreement that was never approved by the US Senate a part of the international rules-based system? The agreement was part of the international system of pen and phone-based agreements. China is welcome to lead on meaningless agreements with nearly undetectable effects.

Strike three, dude.

We've conducted actual freedom of navigation missions in waters claimed by China; flew through Chinese-claimed air space in international air space; exercised with the South Koreans and Japanese to confront North Korea; advanced on missile defenses in the region; halted the deterioration of American military power; bolstered ties with India and Vietnam; encouraged allies to spend more on defense; agreed to sell more weapons to Taiwan; and have had patience while Duterte's flirtation with China waxed and waned in favor of continued Philippines-American friendship.

Our Asia alliances are just fine.

That author isn't providing analysis--he needs professional analysis to cure his Trump Hysteria Condition.

UPDATE: I find it fascinating that people who think Trump is a fascist are pushing the notion that China, "the one-party state that tortures and jails dissidents and maintains a dangerous rogue state in its hip pocket, North Korea, for strategic leverage," is going to take the role of global leader, and that countries will be willing to follow such a so-called leader? Really?

Dream on. China is not the world leader.

UPDATE: The Philippines feels so abandoned by America that they will drill in waters that China warns them not to touch:

Drilling for oil and natural gas on the Reed Bank in the South China Sea may resume before the end of the year, a Philippine energy official said on Wednesday, as the government prepares to offer new blocks to investors in bidding in December.

The Philippines suspended exploration at the Reed Bank, which it calls Recto Bank, in late 2014, as it pursued international arbitration over territorial disputes.

The bank is in waters claimed by China.

Lord knows what Duterte will actually do when push comes to shove, mind you. But the intention is there and doesn't look like caving in to China out of fear that America has checked out of Asia.