A proper pivot toward Asia

Much of recent talk about a pivot of US policy toward Asia has been framed in terms of military containment of China. United States has announced plans to station about 60% of its naval forces in Pacific, up from 50% today. US Marines are being sent to Darwin on Australia’s northern coast. The Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam have cautiously welcomed the possible return of US to bases that were abandoned after Vietnam War. On Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton injected a welcome new dimension into this shift. She said clearly that democracy matters, not only ships at sea. In an address in Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia, Clinton emphasized that democracy is “the heart of our strategy” and vital to Asia’s future. Although she never mentioned China, Ms. Clinton warned that China’s model of authoritarian capitalism cannot be sustained, and she beckoned other nations to take a different path. In so doing, Ms. Clinton confronted a spurious notion that China’s system of political repression and souped-up economic growth offers a viable alternative for some developing nations. It will not work, declared: “You cannot over the long run have economic liberalization without political liberalization.” Ms. Clinton also tackled another long-standing shibboleth often voiced by China’s leaders: that their monopoly on power preserves some kind of social stability. By clamping down on what people read, say and see, Mrs. Clinton insisted, the leaders create an illusion of stability, but it will eventually fade, while the yearning for liberty does not. It has long been a favorite argument of autocrats that people in a certain culture or region are just not suited for democracy. Ms. Clinton dispatched this canard as well, pointing to examples all around Asia of flourishing and nascent democracy, from India and Taiwan to fragile opening in Burma (also known as Myanmar). The examples “stand in stark contrast to those governments continue to resist reforms, work around the clock to restrict people’s access to ideas and information, to imprison them for expressing their views, to usurp rights of citizens to chose their leaders, to govern without accountability, to corrupt the economic progress of the country and take the riches onto themselves.” West’s relationship with China is based on both rivalry and dependence, nations in China’s shadow have their own imperatives and pressures to deal with. Ms. Clinton’s address offers hope US pivot to Asia will go beyond simple muscle-flexing, become a multi-layered approach to match complexity of China’s rise as a modern superpower. (Editorial – The Washington Post – 15/07/2012)

Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

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