Friday, March 31, 2017

The Pivot is Dead; Long Live the Pivot

The word is that the Obama administration "pivot" to Asia is over as a term. There is some unease over this change in terminology. But that ship pivoted long ago.

The term is dead:

The Obama administration’s Pacific rebalance effort — also known as the Pivot to the Pacific — effort is officially dead, according to a top State Department official. ...

However, [Acting Assistant Secretary of State Susan] Thornton — speaking on the eve of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first visit to the Asia-Pacific region — stressed that the new administration remains committed to the region, even if the flavor of that commitment may change.

But the need to reinforce Asia and the Pacific is not dead.

In my opinion, the Pivot to Asia and the Pacific was really a cover for President Obama to pivot away from the Middle East.

But that proclamation that wars in the Middle East were "responsibly ended" was premature and the once-quiet European theater heated up a lot.

So now we are pretty much pivoting to everywhere, making a concept of pivoting away from vanquished threats to dealing with a rising threat rather pointless as a concept.

UPDATE: In related news, Japan is edging toward "offensive" weapons (At some level the distinction between shooty things as either offensive or defensive is rather pointless. But it is common to make.):

Japan's ruling party urged the government Thursday to consider arming the country with more advanced and offensive military capabilities, such as striking enemy targets with cruise missiles, further loosening the self-defense-only posture Japan has maintained since the end of World War II.

I find this amusing. Japan is too cautious to arm up in the face of China. But by pointing to the North Korean threat that China has supported for so long, enjoying how it made Japan, South Korea, and America squirm, Japan has an excuse that China can hardly oppose too strongly.

Will China actually deal with their little problem child to undermine Japanese, South Korean, and American moves to resist North Korea that are also very useful against a Chinese threat?