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Pivoting and Balancing

23 Jan

I’m glad just to see the word “balance” in any discussion of the ‘pivot to Asia”.

In many ways, the pivot makes sense. Moving more U.S. military assets to Asia, and building closer ties with democratic partners like Australia, India, and South Korea, could help Asian nations feel more secure without necessarily sparking an arms race with China. The White House itself is not necessarily driving the pivot; Worried about China’s behavior, many Asian nations have looked to the United States as a balancer in the region.

But, Mr. President, as the past two months have shown, the excitement in Washington over the “pivot” has overshadowed some serious human rights concerns among many of the United States’ new friends. Your second administration needs to do a better job of continuing the pivot while demonstrating that Washington will make closer ties with autocratic Southeast Asian regimes contingent on rights improvements.

via (Joshua Kurlantzick)

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