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Commentary: Time for U.S. to revisit "Pivot to Asia" policy

English.news.cn   2014-01-29 13:40:46

by Liu Chang

BEIJING, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama vowed in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night that Washington will continue to focus on the Asia-Pacific and support its allies in the region.

A constructive America will be a real blessing for the region, but Obama should have realized by now that his pivoting, or re-balancing, is not working well and needs to be updated.

Nearly two years after the Obama administration coined the trademark policy, a strategic revision of decades-long U.S. emphasis on the tumultuous Middle East, tensions are mounting in the Asia-Pacific region, triggering widespread worries about possible confrontation.

Deep in its nature, Washington's current Asia doctrine is rooted in the firm determination to guarantee that U.S. hegemony and security interests remain unchallenged in a region that is still the most economically dynamic part of the world.

Boosting military presence is an integral part of the policy. Following its set strategy, the United States is going to deploy 60 percent of its fleet in the Pacific, and equip the Pacific Command with the most cutting-edge capabilities by 2020.

The pivot policy is widely conceived as an attempt to contain rapidly developing China. Washington has repeatedly claimed innocence, but facts on the ground have rendered its explanations weak and lame.

The United States has been a dedicated critic of China's military development, tagging China's legitimate military investment as moves merely to acquire regional domination.

Washington has also actively thrust itself into regional maritime disputes between China and countries like Japan and the Philippines, portraying itself as a neutral party but actually siding with its allies.

In fact, the proposed enlargement of U.S. military presence has already complicated the security situation in the area, with some countries having been emboldened to risk a host of provocative moves ever since.

For example, riding the waves, Tokyo has repeatedly tested Beijing's boundaries on defending sovereignty and territorial integrity, fully convinced that Washington would watch its back in an event of emergency.

Such abuses of U.S. support have not only done Washington no favor, but also dragged it into a rather awkward position. In a sign of U.S. discontent, Washington has expressed its disappointment over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's provocative visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in late December.

If the United States wants to continue reaping the benefits of a prosperous and peaceful Asia-Pacific region, then it is time for Washington to revisit its pivot policy, stop spoiling its mess-making allies, and play its due, responsible role in the region.

Right now, the most important and welcome contribution the United States can make to the Asia-Pacific and the broader world is to maintain its own economic health and avert exporting financial turbulence overseas once again.

As for China-U.S. relations, it would be of utmost importance for both countries to find every possible way to deepen mutual trust, especially in their political and military interactions. Clearly, Washington has not done enough on this front.

Political elite in Washington have to understand that growing China's economy is still Beijing's biggest challenge in the coming decades, and chaos and instability are never in line with China's fundamental interests.

It also has to be noted that although the current trade ties between the world's top two economies are rapidly growing, they could easily fall into disarray with the absence of a solid basis of political trust.

The Unites States is no stranger to unexpected consequences of its own making. Given the already volatile situation in the region, it is highly advisable that Washington begin to truly practice the virtue of prudence.

Editor: An
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