Friday, October 12, 2012

US Presidential Elections: It's All Foreign Policy

U.S. PRESIDENTIAL elections.
     What American voters must dig in deeper is Washington's ever-intensifying relationship with global economy/regional security, especially that Uncle Sam's European allies are in disarray. World Bank and IMF are virtually penniless and tempest roars on the streets.
     Historically, most US presidents devote more energy while on campaign trail on domestic issues than overseas—but about a year or two after they are elected, they seem to focus an ever increasing amount of time to the rest of the world. The Balkans consumed Bill Clinton. George W. Bush launched two wars. Barack Obama paid much attention on revamping counter-terrorism policies, rebalancing priorities on the Pacific Rim, prosecuting a war in Libya, and wiping out Osama bin Laden.
     Without spending too much rhetoric on foreign policy, it is apparent that both candidates' tactical teams are looking beyond the West: Asia, Southeast Asia, South America. They have reasons to be wary. The playing field has become tight in the past few years. China has emerged big like the proverbial dragon, Russia launches huge stakes in Antarctica's melting icebergs for oil etc etc. India and Brazil—and most Southeast Asian countries—have muddled bidding for the world's factories with China and Russia.

NOTWITHSTANDING President Obama's campaign pledges to fix the economy, few weeks following his proclamation in 2008/9, he embarked on a trade mission to China—for obvious reasons. Apparently, such gesture didn't manifest into good tidings. Hence these days, as Mr. Obama runs for re-election, he takes on tougher line toward Beijing...
     The White House has filed two major cases in the past three months against China at the World Trade Organization. On the same day as the latest trade action, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced plans in Tokyo to help Japan deploy a new missile-defense system, which has aroused suspicion in Beijing.
     Then figure this out: Why did Washington gave a no-visa policy to Taiwan—a privilege that China doesn't enjoy although the Chinese is tops in terms of bringing in tourism money to the US. Washington has, time and again, rejected the suggestion that the United States was pursuing a cold-war-style containment of China... Let's wait and see. Meantime, we have to ask: Why is it there are renewed war exercises in South Pacific—at a time of Chinese “bullying” in contested islands in South China Sea?

BUT hold up, let us also look into how the presidentiables stand on North Korea, Iran, Mexico (it is NOT an illegal immigrant perch, it is an important economic partner), Colombia's drug wars, Libya (remember, Libya is an OPEC power), Afghanistan (take Kabul out, then worry about your next medication/pills--this country is a pharmaceutical minefield).
     Not Obama or Romney have presented credible or consistent stand on these matters, as yet. Americans can't just say, "Let's just look within." Whatever Washington decides on outside and beyond affect America's smallest town and biggest cities. Look what happened when Bill Clinton got China into WTO in the 1990s...
     If the 1 percent/Wall Street pushes for Russia, India and Brazil in re factory/outsourcing alternatives besides China and Southeast Asia, expect recession to go worst than the Great Depression. But then, we are all numbed by apps, FB, tweets, and Smartphones, so it's dim.

MOREOVER, I don't get the point why Romney/Obama (esp. Mitt) had to harp on education and the middle class. Education? College grads are waiting and bussing tables and cleaning houses just to pay rent. So Massachusetts made good in educating its youths under Romney? But for what? Where are the jobs that levels with such good education? Even Harvard scholars are caught cheating...
     And the middle class? They are living on their beat up sedans. History says many exodus to America for greener pastures... But the US has become simply a place to hang out and chill place for the contemporary rich (check Chinese and Brazilian tourist data in NYC alone in the last 4 years)--while brilliant Americans leave families and fly to Saipan or Hongkong or Guangzhou province to supervise workers. The world order has tilted.
     America has more than ever couldn't survive without its allies. Whoever wins in the coming election, must convince his constituency that life and living will improve drastically—because Washington is adapting a more decisive stance in regards foreign policy.

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