Saturday, April 26, 2014

Obama’s “Rebalancing”: A Fig Leaf

On the eve of U.S. President Barack Obama’s eight-day trip to Asia, Thomas E. Donilon, until recently the president’s National Security Adviser, provided The Washington Post with an overview of America’s strategy in Asia. He makes no reference to “pivoting” to Asia—the new catchphrase is “rebalancing.” Instead of being portrayed as increasing its commitment to the region, the United States is now said to be merely restoring its commitment to a previous, unspecified level. For instance, the number of American troops in the area, which was decreased as units were moved from Asia to the Middle East, is being restored to its pre-Afghanistan and Iraq level. This emphasis on rebalancing is supposed to reassure U.S. allies in the Middle East and Europe that they are not being abandoned or even short-changed—and to reduce the concerns the pivot has raised in China.

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