Secretary Clinton with Indonesia President Susilo Bambang

Yudhoyono: What is she doing in Asia while a Democratic

convention is going on in America?



Why Hillary Clinton is with Us Instead of in Charlotte (Jakarta Post, Indonesia)


"What peoples are more important to America than the economically-beaming Asians? ... During hard economic times in the past, we saw the U.S. turn protectionist. But this time, America has pledged to further integrate itself into the global market. ... Will this bring a fast-enough plumping  of American pocketbooks? The eerie alternative would be what occurred in the past: the use of war to create jobs, attract investment and rally support of Americans around their leader."


By Dinna Wisnu*



September 4, 2012


Indonesia - Jakarta Post - Original Article (English)

Secretary Hillary Clinton: Now in Beijing, her message on the South China Sea is seen by Chinese as meddling, but by many smaller states in the region, it is welcomed.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Hillary Clinton calls for 'code of conduct' in South China Sea, Sept. 5, 00:00:58RealVideo

Jakarta: These past few weeks have been a time for America's political parties to hold their conventions. We have seen the praise for Republican nominee Mitt Romney's “big speech,” how he introduced his family members, reached out to non-traditional voters and revealed his choice of vice president.


Soon we'll hear President Barack Obama's big speech at the Democratic Party convention. To Americans, the conventions have the potential of boosting support among voters.


To the world, the conventions provide an opportunity to witness U.S. political competition, the agendas critical to voters in the country, and hence the direction of future U.S. engagement with the rest of the world.


It is clear that now, Americans care most about pocketbook issues and whether the next president will be able to improve the fortunes of the U.S. macro economy.


The gist of the debate is this: should we give President Obama another chance to deliver on the promises he made in 2008, or should we give someone else a chance? It is a very tough call.


Yet for us non-Americans, the dilemma has clear implications.


We understand that whoever is elected, strengthening the U.S. economy will be his priority and that any talks, visits, and dialogue with the United States will have embedded within the agenda of fixing the American economy. This issues will have ramification on how America handles bilateral, regional and multilateral relationships that have been built up in prior years.


In the event, what peoples are more important to the United States than the economically-beaming Asians? U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would say it isn't only Asia that is vital, but the entire Asia-Pacific. With the Democratic National Convention now taking place, Clinton is traveling to six countries in the Asia Pacific, where nations large and small all matter in the eyes of American politics.



Huanqui, China: China Must Show 'Courage of Convictions' in Face of Japan-U.S. Hostility
Huanqui, China: For Helping America Return to Asia, Vietnam will ‘Feel China's Pain’
Huanqui, China: Confronting America Requires Wisdom and Stamina – Not Warships
Global Times, China: China Must Draw a Red Line Against U.S. 'Encirclement'
Global Times, China: Vietnamese Should Beware of U.S.' 'Suspicious Cozying Up'
Mainichi Shimbun, Japan: China 'Must Not Be Permitted' to Push Around Neighbors
Global Times, China: America ‘Disqualified’ as Global Human Rights Judge
Xinhua, China: Human Rights Record of the United States in 2011
Rodong Sinmun, North Korea: America by Far World’s Leading Human Rights Abuser
Yezhednevniy Zhurnal, Russia: Putin is Mistaken to Favor China Over the United States
Huanqiu, China: U.S. Should Keep its Nuclear Weapons Away from Koreas
Global Times, China: America ‘Disqualified’ as Global Human Rights Judge


She is scheduled to visit the Cook islands (to meet officials from tiny island countries across the Pacific, as well as Australia and New Zealand), Indonesia, China, Timor Leste [East Timor] and Brunei. Then she’ll head off to the APEC Forum in Vladivostok, Russia. On these visits, Clinton will touch on issues important to the region, namely the dispute over sovereignty in the South China Sea, trade and food security.


And Clinton has another important agenda item: demonstrate American attention to even the smallest states scattered across Asia. The Obama-Clinton foreign policy duet has taken the approach of embracing both influential countries, like Indonesia and India, and reaching out to those that haven't been given a pat-on-the-back by senior U.S. officials for decades, such as Laos and Myanmar.


And then what? Both Democratic and Republicans camps have made clear that they have serious concerns about the rise of China, both economically and in terms of defense. In the United States, China is depicted as not being “responsible enough” when it comes to its rise in the region or the world.


Last November, the Pentagon said that by 2020, roughly 60 percent of its naval fleet will be stationed in the Asia-Pacific, and it is considering deploying sea-borne anti-missile systems to East Asia. The first of 2,500 U.S. Marines arrived [in Australia] a few months ago. Yet more is needed.


Like Worldmeets.US on Facebook



Romney has showed a desire to maintain a strong military presence in the Pacific, and engage India, Indonesia and Taiwan in order to monitor aggressive behavior in disputed waters and keep trade routes open. Romney believes that the United States should supply Taiwan with “adequate aircraft and other military platforms” for the reinforcement of maritime awareness; employ radar and other networks for detection on order to prevent surprise confrontation and military miscalculation.


Both Democrats and Republicans sending the same signals about how cooperation with the United States is always better than confrontation with it, and that the era of U.S. hegemony is far from over.


Clinton said: “We are prepared to lead … whenever the U.S. has experienced setbacks, we have overcome them through reinvention and innovation. Our capacity to come back stronger is unmatched in modern history.”


Of course, who could forget that America has the largest defense budget and military and nuclear capability in the world?


Despite China’s military build-up, its overall defense budget remains just a fraction of America's. Who could miss the fact that U.S. military bases exist in nearly every corner of the world, with a total of over 1,000? Yet the U.S. asserts that it will beef up its defense, military and nuclear capabilities even further.


The Americans also plan to expand its alliances with Australia - from a Pacific partnership to an Indo-Pacific one, disarm and be firmer with North Korea, and do more strategic thinking and operating with countries in the Asia-Pacific.


During hard economic times in the past, we saw the U.S. turn protectionist. But this time, the United States has pledged to further integrate itself into the global market and has praised regional free-trade initiatives (including the controversial U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement). Will this bring a fast-enough plumping  of Americans’ pocketbooks?



The eerie alternative would be what occurred in the past: the use of war and military tension to create jobs, attract investment and rally support of Americans around their leader. War and military tension would energize the defense industry and its supply chains.


Sure, that would be morally costly, but surprisingly, we are seeing Democrats and Republicans converge on taking firmer action against those standing in the way of U.S. interests.


Clinton said that the United States is keeping a cool head about engaging with other countries. But what guarantee of this is there? Clinton says she'll step down -even if Obama is reelected.


How Indonesia reacts and nurtures relations with the United States, China, and other countries, will be tremendously important over the next few years. Tension between the U.S. and China is simmering and the tools for aggression are in place.

Posted by Worldmeets.US


When leaders of these countries take comfort in making threats, accusations and posing about military showdowns, jitters over a preemptive strike are likely to spread to other countries. Robert Kaplan said last year that any future world war would occur in Asia, potentially in the South China Sea. Nobody wants to see this materialize.


In light of Hillary Clinton's visit to Jakarta this week, it is clear that what Indonesia does will make a huge difference in the seas of Asia Pacific. Clinton seeks Indonesia’s support for a heightened U.S. “presence” in Asia. Our problem is this: how do we alleviate military tension, accusations and threats coming from either the U.S. or China?


The U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership should not stop exclude military exercises or improved weapons systems, because that would send the wrong signal about where Indonesia stands. The time is ripe to urge the U.S. to adhere to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation and push it to refrain from escalating tensions and surrounding Asia with deadly weapons.


Even if open war is avoided, it would be terrible if wider chasms opened up between members of ASEAN and its associated members. Indonesia may be determined to find a middle ground between the U.S. and China, but the hard work will be to inspire other nations to do the same.


The source of current and future global economic growth is in Asia. There is enough potential for growth for everyone as long as the opportunities and challenges are managed peacefully.


*Dinna Wisnu is co-founder and director of the Paramadina Graduate School of Diplomacy in Jakarta.



blog comments powered by Disqus



































[Posted by Worldmeets.US Sept. 6, 4:39pm]



Bookmark and Share