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June 14, 2013

Asia needs constant U.S. care to stay as her allies

The "Pivot to Asia" policy of the U.S. was an epoch-making initiative. It produced remarkable achievements like soothing of Sino-Japanese confrontation, mediation of the row between Japan and South Korea, opening of Myanmar and many others. But if the policy ever loses its steam, the precious initiative may end up with being used as pretext not to be seriously involved in the Middle East and others.

I support that the U.S. make more efforts in the Middle East for the sake of freedom, democracy and market economy, because these values are shared not only by Japan but also by other Asian countries. But if the U.S. neglects Asia too much, then she may lose it entirely together with China.

Some people in the U.S. may think that Asia should be left on its own, and that it would be enough if the U.S. can do business with Asia (China inter alia). But to "leave Asia on its own" would mean "to leave Asia on China's own". For example, if the East China Sea be "closed" to the U.S. navy, South Korea's main sea transportation route would be easily severed by hostile forces. Therefore to leave Asia on its own would mean to leave U.S.'s economic relations with Asia on China's mercy as well.

China is now a big economy, but if you add up the GDP of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the ASEAN nations, the aggregate is by 23% larger than China's GDP.

The Chinese population will soon start rapid aging, whereas Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia will start enjoying large influx of younger working force.

If the U.S. keeps efforts to maintain the stability in this region, the entire Asia including the Chinese market will keep serving the U.S. interest, and if not, then the U.S. may lose all, including the Chinese market.

And Asia matters not only because of sheer economy. Many countries, starting from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, have now irreversibly embraced democracy and market economy, and the trend is now spreading to the ASEAN, and even to the urban Chinese youths. A lack of U.S. care would entail the loss of this precious achievement, which would harm the status of the U.S. and even her security.

Asia would not need a "pivot", which can exist only one in the world. Instead Asia needs to be declared as a region of U.S. "core interest". And the U.S. contribution would naturally commensurate her political, economic and military capacity.

Politically Asia would need constant surveillance by the U.S. and her timely political intervention and mediation. In economy promotion of the TPP would be very pertinent. The desirable level of the presence of the U.S. Armed Forces depends upon each contingency, but at least up-keeping of bases and constant disposition of aircraft carrier would be needed. And military burden-sharing among the allies may be pursued to a greater extent.


Author: Sid Feinleib | June 15, 2013 9:40 AM

Mr. & Mrs. Kawato:

It is always interesting to receive your comments. We hope you are well.

My view is that you have described the results of the disease affecting US-Asia, but have not touched the cause of the disease.

At the end of WWII Winston Churchill commented something to the effect that Japan entered the
war because of a lack of energy and raw materials and wanted access to them on an equal basis.

With growing world population and desires to live at the same level as the Japanese, or Americans, or Europeans, etc., consumption and demand for energy and materials has increased to the unsustainable point. In my mind, the only interest by China in the disputed tiny islands is their potential for oil or methane. How do we resolve the global energy and material problem?

With regards,
Sid (and Hisako) in Tokyo

Author: Sid Feinleib | June 15, 2013 9:41 AM

sorry. I posted my wrong email address before.

Author: Akio KAWATO | June 16, 2013 12:57 AM

Dear Sid and Hisako Feinleib
Thank you for your view. I agree. Certainly oil and gas are playing the role. But even if Japan concedes in this regard, China will not stop its foray eastward.

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