Connect with us

Americas

U.S. Foreign Policy under Obama: The Case of the Asia-Pacific Region

Avatar photo

Published

on

image source: obamalibrary.gov

The foreign policy of the United States has changed dramatically with the accession of Barack Obama to the presidency in 2008, especially with regard to the Asia-Pacific region. Barack Obama is the exceptional forty-fourth president of the United States of America, who presented a different model from his predecessors in foreign relations. In 2009, the Obama administration announced a new strategy towards the Asia-Pacific region based on rebalancing. This region was a priority for Obama, unlike previous US administrations. This orientation of the United States towards the East coincided with the tremendous Chinese progress, which has become an imminent threat to the international standing of the United States.

So the Obama administration’s move to place great attention on the Asia Pacific region can be seen as anticipating Chinese progress and strengthening the US presence there. The Obama administration intended to provide great support to Asian organizations such as ASEAN in order to strengthen the US political and moral influence, and to isolate China in its Asian surroundings. Obama’s policy towards the Asia-Pacific region went beyond political support to include strengthening the military presence there. It was a clear and declared message from the United States to the Chinese that they will not abandon that region as it is a strategic part of the US geopolitical map.

As part of Obama’s strategy, the United States increased its economic exchanges with that region, with the aim of increasing the economic role of the United States and reducing exchanges with China. Several US reports indicated that Obama was tough and flexible with China at the same time. His administration has put great pressure on the Chinese while maintaining the good bilateral relations. Therefore, the primary goal of Obama’s new strategy toward the Asia Pacific region is to counter Chinese progress and strengthen the role of the United States, which has been greatly affected by Chinese openness.

Obama was able to combine realpolitik elements, such as strengthening the military presence of US forces, and liberal elements, such as more economic exchanges with that region. I am focusing here on Obama’s unique policy toward Asia-Pacific that combines structural realism with institutional neoliberalism. The bulk of my research links between structural realism and the foreign policy of the US administration. However, President Obama has presented an advanced model in foreign policy. It is certain that the United States will not make change through military force alone, specifically in the Asia-Pacific region, which explains the critical decisions of President Obama. He has promoted neoliberalism at the expense of realism, as he has given priority to institutions and economic exchanges without excluding the military option.

In this context, I rely on Obama administration’s interest in the Asia-Pacific region. Obama established a new model in the foreign policy of the United States based on realism and neoliberalism on soft and hard power; therefore, this article discusses the extent of the success of this policy in the Asia-Pacific region and the possibility of establishing it as a model. Therefore, I wonder about the feasibility of this unique hybrid policy presented by Obama’s administration. I explain this US policy towards Asia-Pacific by applying realist and neoliberal methods. Many previous studies have been published on this topic, but I am here to approach it from a different perspective and to add some clarification. The Obama administration’s move towards the Asia-Pacific region is extremely important, and this issue turned to be a hot topic in international relations to this day.

The Obama era was characterized by great concern for the Pacific, as it used the term “Asia-Pacific” that corresponds to Chinese aspirations, in contrast to the Trump administration, which used the concept of “Indo-Pacific”, which led to turmoil in the US-Chinese relations. In 2012 Obama stated that “‘the U.S. is a Pacific nation. [The] Pacific will sculpt the future of the U.S., that’s why I have made restoring U.S. engagement a cornerstone.” Obama has reduced the United States’ engagement in the Middle East and other regions to strengthen its presence in the Pacific. I am not about to judge the paradigm shift Obama made, but the main thing is that there are many challenges ahead for the United States in Asia-Pacific. In this context Hillary Clinton stated in 2011 that “it is becoming increasingly clear that in the 21st century, the world’s strategic and economic center of gravity will be the Asia-Pacific.”

The “Strategic Pivot to Asia” that the Obama administration adopted in 2011 aimed at maintaining the security of the South China Sea, reducing the threat of North Korea, and strengthening the American counter-presence as an indirect message to the Chinese administration. However, since 2009, the United States has become an economic, military and institutional actor in the Asia-Pacific region. Since 2009, the institutional, economic and military participation of the United States with regional institutions has increased, as well as military resources, trade and investment, such as the periodic deployment of American forces and ships in Australia and Singapore, and the signing of new military agreements with Japan and the Philippines since 2009 and 2010. Thus, the practical policy began in 2009, but was officially announced in 2011. The US administration at the time had strengthened its military presence and increased trade exchanges as a moral support for its allies in the region, but China has been in continuous progress at all levels and has not been disregarded by those American movements.

A military report indicates that the United States forces stationed in Europe and other continents decreased – relatively and absolutely – while the deployment of US forces in the Asia-Pacific region increased. Therefore, the US government reduced its interest in Europe and the Middle East and increased its focus on the Asia-Pacific region. Chinese progress has made the Obama administration seriously consider a policy of orientation toward Asia-Pacific, but at the lowest cost, such as increased institutional participation, rotational deployment and long-range missile systems, rather than a massive increase in military resources sent to the region. The Chinese administration is aware of the repercussions of US policy, so it has never stopped developing its military systems and securing the necessary protection for the South China Sea, which is part of Chinese sovereignty. The United States is obligated to strengthen its interactions with the Asia-Pacific; otherwise it will give China more power, which goes against its interests. In 2010 President Obama clarified his ideas when he said, “In the past, the United States has thrived when both our nation and our national security policy have adapted to shape change instead of being shaped by it …. Now, we must once again position the United States to champion mutual interests among nations and peoples”.

The administration of President Obama has strengthened US ties with the Asia-Pacific region due to the changing international balance of power. Therefore, it has become necessary for the United States to follow a new strategy towards Asia-Pacific. The US interests in that region are being threatened by the great Chinese openness. This explains Obama’s neoliberal approach on this issue. The question that arises today is “will US President Joe Biden follow the same Obama policy approach toward Asia-Pacific, or will he have his own policy towards this important geostrategic region?”

The world’s experience with the Democrats indicates that the US policy under President Joe Biden may not resemble Trump’s policy and will not be very different from Obama’s policy. US President Joe Biden should realize that war on terror and military interventions in the Middle East and other conflict areas would not be in the interest of the United States because the great danger to the United States is coming from the Far East; China is making rapid and tremendous economic progress and is likely to become the world’s first economy. The withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and their mobilization in Asia-Pacific indicates that President Biden has well understood the rules of the game of contemporary international politics.

Mohamad Zreik is an independent researcher, doctor of international relations. His areas of research interests are related to the Foreign Policy of China, Belt and Road Initiative, Middle Eastern Studies, China-Arab relations, East Asian Affairs, Geopolitics of Eurasia, and Political Economy. Mohamad has many studies and articles published in high ranked journals and well-known international newspapers. His writings have been translated into many languages, including French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Albanian, Russian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, etc.

Continue Reading
Comments

Americas

Review of indo pacific strategy of the United States

Avatar photo

Published

on

malabar quad

President Biden strategy is based on, “Free and open indo pacific enduring and flourishing world ahead.”-President Biden statement on QUAD summit on September 24,2021

Indo pacific is the home of the United states so they have really acute policies in this region. The united states have announced the Indo pacific strategy and the role of US in the coming 21st century for the betterment of the indo pacific and its stability and how can they work for this region and how they can utilize this region for the better cause of the world. The united states alliances system has deeply helped the world and they have tried their best to support and spread the agenda of the liberalism regarding open market, free and openness, connectedness, prosperity of the world, security of the world with respect to traditional and nontraditional security dynamics of the world which includes climate green security and they also tend to reflect on the post pandemic world order.

Since the united states is in the indo pacific region itself. This region geographically touches its coast from pacific to Indian coast and economically is the emerging yet emerged dominating hub of 2/3rd economy of the world and seven major militaries of the world. It also owns and supports $900 billion foreign direct investments and even it supports 300 million jobs by US. For US this regions stability is really crucial and important. Any damage to this region is considered as a threat to US itself and for US the stability of this region is really crucial and important as this region provide opportunities and making it a hegemon of the world and also thus increases risks for US either. This region got more important to US after world war2 and after end of the cold war and even in during presidency of president George Bush and also in the trumps era and also in the presidency of the president Biden.

Since president Biden is focused to invest more in every corner of the world keeping it engaged and integrated focusing from the northeast Asia to southeast Asia and from north to south including indo pacific. Since he stated that,

“We will focus in every corner of the region, from northeast Asia to southeast Asia including south Asia to Oceania and pacific islands.”

this defines the importance and utility of this region to the US.

Indo pacific strategy is based on 5 principles that motivates US to work on. These are The indo pacific strategy Is based on:

  1. Free and open indo pacific.
  2. Building connections in the region and beyond.
  3. Prosperity of the indo pacific region
  4. Security of indo pacific region
  5. Building regional resilience in the 21st century

Advance a free and open indo pacific:

It is in the vital interests of the us to advance a free and open indo pacific region and they are working to advance this home region where government can make their own choices and become consistent under the obligation of international law. They are working hard to enforce democratic type of government in this region and enforcing democratic institutions and establishing a vibrant civil society and press free society. They are also trying hard to expose corruptions and drive reforms. They are also trying hard to make the regions skies and seas according to international law and are trying hard to achieve major advance technologies like cyber space and internet.

Build connections within and beyond region:

It is believed that free and open indo pacific can be achieved only if we build connections within and beyond the indo pacific region through economy, trade and organizations and institutions etc. since US is making adaptability through alliance system and through trade. Well US is looking forward to deepen its treaty alliances with japan, Thailand, Philippines and republic of Korea and looking forward to strengthen its relations with India, Taiwan, Mongolia, Thailand, Vietnam and pacific islands. They are also empowering QUAD and ASEAN states. US is also supporting India to achieve the race of regional hegemony. US is also expanding its diplomatic presence in the indo pacific zones and expanding it in a futile way.

Drive indo pacific prosperity:

The indo pacific is the home of Americans and so their prosperity is linked with the stability and prosperity of indo pacific regions. The real fact behind the investments to encourage innovation, strengthen economic competitiveness, produce good-paying jobs, rebuild supply chains, and expand economic opportunities for middle-class families almost for 1.5 billion people in the Indo-Pacific that will join the global middle class this decade. We will drive Indo-Pacific prosperity. The indo pacific regions can get prosperous by developing new trade and environmental traditions and by stabilizing traditional and nontraditional paradigms and domains in this region. Also by governing the digital economies and by introducing new digital framework in this region. US is introducing advance and resilient and more secure supply chains that are more diverse and predictable and open to the new world and new technologies. US is thriving hard to make investments and decarburizations and clean energy. They are tend to promote free and fair and open trade and investment through APEC which means Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation’s.

Bolster Indo- pacific security:

US has maintained its militia in this indo-pacific region for more than 75 years to maintain the security of this region and has kept its defense in this region to keep its security, stability and peace secure. The United States is extending and modernizing and enhancing its capabilities to defend their interest and to deter aggression in this region. US is bolstering this region and deterring the aggression and coercion by advancing integrated deterrence and deepening cooperation and enhancing integration with their allies and partners. US is also maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan strait and they are really about it. US is also innovating to operate rapidly in evolving threats of environment, cyber and other traditional and nontraditional domains of this domain. United states is determined to strengthen its extended deterrence and coordination with Japanese allies and Korean peninsula.  They are looking forward to deliver on AUKUS. US is also working with congress to fund the pacific deterrence initiative and maritime initiative.

Build regional resilience in 21st century to transitional threats:

The indo pacific major challenge is climate security and glacier melting’s which is leading to consistent rise in sea levels. Similarly, covid is also inflicting a painful and is also an economic troll across the region. This region is also vulnerable to natural disasters, recourse scarcity, internal threats and major governance challenges so US is firm to build the resilience to 21st century transitional threats by working its allies and partners to develop 2030 and 2050 targets, strategies and plans and policies by limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degree Celsius. They are also firm to reduce regional vulnerabilities and its impact of climate change and environmental degradations and also working on health security after COVID-19 pandemic and its mass destruction in this zone.

Way forward:

The US is looking forward to work in strengthen and work in these zones which are as:

  1. They are driving and working more resources to the indo pacific and are determined to more transnational and individual based interactions.
  2. Leading indo-pacific economic framework
  3. Reinforcing deterrence
  4. Strengthening unified ASEAN.
  5. Supporting India’s regional leadership.
  6. Deliver on QUAD.
  7. Work on US- Japan-ROK cooperation.
  8. Firm to partner to work on resilience in the pacific islands.
  9. Supporting good governance and accountability in this region.
  10. Supporting open, secure and more trustworthy technologies in this region.

Conclusion:

US have entered significant time of Americans international strategy after the world war that their ambitions, goals and policies have become clearer in this region. The US will ascend to our authority charge on discretion, security, financial aspects, environment, pandemic reaction, and innovation. The Indo-Pacific’s future relies upon our decisions of United States and US strategies. “The US role in this region must be effective and enduring than ever for this region and the world.”

Continue Reading

Americas

America’s Exceptionalism in Mass-Shooting and Its Culture of Rugged Individualism

Avatar photo

Published

on

gun terrorism

Amid an unrelenting surge of gun massacres, many have wondered why the United States- the world’s leading country in mass shootings over the last century, is more prone to mass shootings than any other country. Gun violence, though, is prevalent in many parts of the world, for instance in most parts of Latin America. But in America, no form of violence is seen as more uniquely American than public mass shootings by “lone-wolf” gunmen. According to Gun Violence Archive, 39 mass shootings have already taken place across the country in just the first three weeks of 2023. Last year the country witnessed around 647 cases of mass shooting with the consequence of more than 44,000 death tolls due to gun violence overall.

Like its political establishment, American public discourse has long firmly been divided over what causes this epidemic. The critics of this national sickness focus their fire on the second amendment of the American constitution and the nefarious political influence of the National Rifles Association (NRF). But here comes down to the question: will a mere constitutional amendment and the neutralization of special interest groups like the NRF lead to the solution to the endemic prevalence of lone-wolf mass shootings? The answer is: not likely, as the problem is deeply rooted in America’s culture itself: the culture of rugged individualism built on its deep-seated historical myth.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, rugged individualism is defined as “the combination of individualism and anti-statism … a prominent feature of American culture with deep roots in the country’s history of frontier settlement.” While individualism, as noted, may be conducive to innovation and resource mobilization, it can also undermine collective action, with potentially adverse social consequences. During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was seen how America’s rugged individualistic mindset fomented by its frontier culture hampered the state responses to the pandemic, with many Americans having defied mandatory mask-wearing and vaccination programs.

Likewise, the gun is a great emblem and lethal offspring of American individualism. The nation has long valorized masculine heroes –violent frontiersmen or Hollywoodized American Archetype “White Loners” – who impose their will on the community’s enemies with violence. Added to that deep-seated historical ideal and cultural sickness are the deteriorating trend in kinship traditions and ever-declining “rational mobility”- a condition that helps establish bonds of support beyond immediate families on the basis of socially engaging emotions such as empathy warmth, trust, affection, etc.

Self-serving politicians and gun advocates often ridiculously propose giving more arms into the hands of “the good guys” to thwart “the bad guys with guns.” The Americans’ dire wishes for gun possession, however, stem less from their sense of personal or communal security rather more from an egocentric individualistic cultural reasoning that lacks the prioritization of collective communal safety. The unshakeable emotional and individualistic values Americans attach to guns frequently override concerns about the nation’s collective health and safety.          

The exercise of unfettered individualism is also seen in many parts of the western world, like in Europe; but nowhere in the world is this so infested by historical myth and pathological strains as in America- what the prominent criminologist Adam Lankford called “the uniquely American quality.” And where the United States is stunningly divergent from the rest of the world is the confluence of individualistic culture and the easiest access to guns. In no other part of the world gun access and rugged individualistic culture interact in the same way.

Although many European countries share the same cultural forces that produce aggrieved social outcasts. But those countries erect formidable hurdles on the way of purchasing guns legally that are quite unheard of in the United States: longer waiting periods, higher insurance costs, full-blown psychiatric evaluations, gun safety courses, etc. Resultantly, the country has more weapons than people: one in three adults possesses at least one firearm, and almost one in two adults resides in a home with a firearm.

But the prevalence of guns alone does not account for U.S. exceptionalism in mass shootings. For example, like the United States, much of Latin America is saturated with firearms but, despite high rates of gun violence, mass shootings there by a “lone wolf” gunman are exceedingly rare. And experts pointed to the cultural difference as a powerful factor playing out in creating a huge disparity in the number of mass shooting cases between the two regions.      

In America, ever-increasing personal and economic struggles combined with the inherent state structural tension and identity crisis continue to produce aggrieved social outcasts. On top of this, the ever-exacerbating political climate plagued by partisan divide, racial toxicity, and xenophobic bigotry has also been influencing socially and politically aggrieved outcasts, due to the absence of alternative social redressing mechanisms, to seek recourse by resorting to mass violence. Here, rugged individualism works in creating the very roots of virile fantasy to violence, a toxic political milieu in fueling grievances, and finally easy access to guns in triggering off those grievances in the form of mass shooting.      

Continue Reading

Americas

American Democracy Remains Under Peril

Published

on

The democratic system of government in the United States underwent an unprecedented test two years ago when supporters of President Donald Trump attempted to reverse his election loss—some through illegal schemes, others through a violent assault on the U.S. Capitol. American democracy has started to function better and its prospects have improved since that moment in history.

Extreme election deniers suffered defeats in crucial swing states like Arizona and Pennsylvania in the 2022 elections, which were successfully performed. The riots that attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 election and the role that former US President Donald J. Trump played in inciting them were thoroughly documented by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol. Elections for president were held peacefully in Colombia while candidates with questionable commitments to democracy were rejected in Brazil and France.

The most powerful authoritarian governments in the world are currently having difficulties. The idea of a resurgent Moscow was dispelled by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s disastrously planned and carried out war in Ukraine. China’s attempt to overtake the United States as the world’s greatest economy and most powerful nation has failed due to President Xi Jinping’s poor mismanagement of the COVID-19 outbreak. Xi’s domestic popularity has been further weakened by China’s real estate boom, a 20 percent young unemployment rate, a politically motivated crackdown on the private sector, and soaring local government debt.

However, despite their diminished power, Beijing and Moscow continue to constitute a significant threat to democracy. They will need to disparage other forms of administration and criticize their democratic rivals more and more as their domestic issues get worse. Beijing and Moscow are launching a campaign of deception that targets and amplifies the vulnerability of American democracy as a result of this. Russia and China both, This propaganda campaign tries to delegitimize Western-style democracy in order to quell calls for democratic reforms. In the long run, it aims to establish a new, fragmented international order that prioritizes “national sovereignty” over human rights. It also aims to oust and support friendly governments, as well as combat the growing perception that cooperating with Beijing and Moscow has negative effects on local citizens.

Because Western democracies are weak, Beijing and Moscow are supported in this endeavour. Trump keeps questioning the validity of the 2020 election, and he might soon be charged with a crime. Gridlock, partisan investigations and impeachment attempts, as well as cynical new initiatives to erode rather than restore confidence in the American voting system, may well dominate Capitol Hill for the next two years. Conspiracy theories and misinformation continue to abound on social media, and corporate content moderation attempts have fallen short. With the quick development of generative AI software, which can create deep fakes in which famous personalities appear to be talking and doing things they never said or did, the assault on reality is likely to get exponentially worse. For the two superpowers of disinformation in the world, China and Russia, all of this is a blessing. The propaganda is more effective the more reliable the content.

The decline of democracy in the US aids in the delegitimization of democracy by Beijing and Moscow. American democracy must be strengthened at home if it is to once again serve as a model that may inspire others. The fight for global soft power can only be won by Washington at that point.

Both domestic and foreign security issues are raised by the state of the American democracy. Principal authoritarian rivals of the United States, China and Russia, have taken advantage of (and made worse) America’s democratic divides and struggles in the race for world leadership. In order to recover the upper hand, the United States must simultaneously strengthen its own democracy and raise its profile as an advocate for democracy abroad. The democratic movement needs to attack.

A significant investment in American soft power will be needed for this. Public diplomacy spending in the United States peaked at $2.5 billion in 1994 (inflation-adjusted) and nearly surpassed that amount in 2010 and 2011. However, since then, as new problems have emerged, American efforts have remained unchanged, with total expenditures only amounting to $2.23 billion in 2020.

Washington must reenter the struggle for international soft power in a way that upholds American ideals. It must convey the truth in ways that appeal to and influence people around the world. The objective must be to advance democratic values, concepts, and movements in addition to effectively combating misinformation with the truth. Multiple trustworthy streams of information are required to combat misinformation and report the truth that autocracies repress. Additionally, they must be independent; even though the US government may give them financial support, they must run without editorial oversight. They will appear independent, which they are, in this manner.

One option would be to change the Voice of America to resemble the British Broadcasting Corporation more closely. Its goal should be to serve as a role model for the values of the American democratic experiment by offering completely unbiased news on all nations, including the United States. Truth, independence, and expertise in reporting are necessary, but they are not sufficient to win the information battle. A decentralised, pluralistic web of high-quality media is also necessary. In autocracies, local media are ideally situated to collect and distribute evidence of corruption,

Serious policy mistakes and violations of human rights. In order to report the news and provide critical commentary in the absence of media freedom, the United States and its democratic allies must elevate and strengthen the underfunded local media. Funding for public interest media will be needed in the billions of dollars, much of which should go through the nongovernmental International Fund for Public Interest Media (including media operating in exile). The fund is a nonpartisan alliance of multinational foundations that can provide funding for regional independent media while preserving their independence.

Together with its democratic allies, Washington should explore fresh geopolitical and technological avenues for assisting closed regimes to overcome Internet censorship and social media surveillance. Autocracies will be less stable when those living in them have easier access to unbiased information and more secure means of communication with one another. In order to prevent autocracies from seizing control of international Internet standards and protocols, democracies must engage in active and coordinated diplomacy. The biggest flagrantly false and dangerous content must be removed. Social media companies must also take more action to combat the malicious manipulation of their platforms by foreign governments. And by tightening social media regulation, the US and other democracies should support these initiatives. TikTok should be removed from American devices as a first step.

But the democracy in America is not secure. The last Congress failed to pass legislation aimed at reducing the influence of money, strengthening and expanding voting rights, ending gerrymandering, ensuring ethical standards for elected officials, and enhancing election security, and there is little chance that it will succeed in the following one. Even worse, numerous states have taken action to limit voting rights and make it more challenging for minorities to cast ballots. Most concerning, several state legislatures with Republican control, led by North Carolina, are attempting to construct a doctrine of “independent state legislatures,” which would allow these bodies to rig election results and even draw partisan gerrymandered voting districts.without being subject to judicial, executive, or redistricting commission oversight. If domestic politics in the United Nations turn into a collection of one-party states, the country will be unable to confront autocracies on a global scale. The revival of American democracy and domestic achievement will be key to countering autocratic deception.

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Middle East26 mins ago

Israelis and Palestinians do what they do best, but for the wrong reasons

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has put Israel’s closest allies and some of his key partners on the spot. So has...

Health & Wellness3 hours ago

Mushrooms emerge from the shadows in pesticide-free production push

By Ali Jones Mention La Rioja in northern Spain and most people will picture majestic sun-drenched vineyards nestled in the...

Middle East5 hours ago

Sisi’s visit to Armenia and Azerbaijan to join the Eurasian Union and BRICS

President El-Sisi’s visit to India, followed by Armenia and Azerbaijan, came as an affirmation from the Egyptian side and its...

Middle East6 hours ago

West sees Iran in a new way

The Wall Street Journal reported from Tehran that “a lethal crackdown and an ailing economy have quieted anti-government street demonstrations...

World News8 hours ago

Sergey Lavrov: ‘If you want peace, always be ready to defend yourself’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gave an exclusive interview to Sputnik on Thursday, February 2. The conversation took place at...

World News9 hours ago

More Americans believe US provides ‘too much support’ to Ukraine

A growing portion of Americans think that the U.S. is giving too much support to Ukraine, as the Biden administration...

International Law11 hours ago

Will COPUOS five-year mission produce a new “international governance instrument” for outer space resources?

Introduction During its 2022 session, the Legal Subcommittee (LSC) of the United Nation’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer...

Trending