Tuesday, December 13, 2016

US policy for Asia Pacific

Mohammad Jamil
AFTER withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the US and its allies have started focusing on Asia-Pacific to counter China’s rising influence. China was already wary of the US manoeuvres in the Chinese sea and its plans to keep bases in Afghanistan. The US policy known as ‘pivot’ to Asia was unfolded in 2013 according to which 60 per cent of the navy’s fleet would be deployed to the Pacific by 2020; and Singapore would house four new US Littoral Combat Ships designed to fight close to shorelines, while Indonesia wanted to buy a range of American hardware and take part in joint manoeuvres.
The Philippines wanted to host more US troops and Australia had agreed to allow up to 2,500 Marine Corps soldiers to deploy to the northern city of Darwin.

China is also angered by what it saw as US support for its opponents in disputes vis-a-vis Japan, the Philippines and others over territory in the East China and South China seas. Beijing said America’s strategy of bolstering its alliances by sending more ships, planes and troops to the region frequently makes the situation tenser. China had accused the United States of destabilizing the Asia-Pacific region by sending additional troops and ships to bolster its military alliances. Beijing, however, views it as specifically designed to contain China’s diplomatic, military, and economic rise. 
But China’s rise seems unstoppable. It has already surpassed Japan as the world’s second largest economy, and is likely to replace the US to be the largest economy not in distant future. As conventional wisdom is often hard to dispute, most pundits agree that this is China’s century and they presage that China will rule the world, figuratively if not literally.
In his book titled “The Pivot: Future of American Statecraft in Asia” published in June 2016, the author former assistant secretary of state Kurt M. Campbell has come out with definitive analysis and explanation of the new major shift in American foreign policy, its interests and assets, to Asia. The main aim of Pivot to Asia Pacific is to counter a rising China. In this context, the main irritant to US/India is “Pak-China Partnership”. The book holds significance for Pakistan because it is premised on the idea to contain Chinese hegemony in the region. The above referred book offers a deep insight into US Asia Pivot policy. The heart of his argument is a 10-point American strategy for Asia, in which the author sets out in considerable details his observations and recommendations for intensified political, economic and military engagement with the various nations of the continent.
In view of the fact that economic strength is invariably sine qua non to military strength, China had all along single-mindedly focused on strengthening its economy. America has been pursuing the policy of containing China, but despite its ruses and manipulations, China has excellent relations with the countries of Asia, Africa and South America. Despite some bickering and debating, the relations between the US and China had markedly improved after boost in their economic ties. China, which owns an estimated $1.22 trillion in U.S. Treasuries, is the number-one investor among foreign governments. This amounts to over 21% of the U.S. debt held overseas and more than 7% of the United States’ total debt load. In this backdrop, China is benefactor of the US; therefore, the US should not rock the boat because it would be the loser in the long run.
A few lines of Nixon’s book expose the real intentions and motives of the US. Former US president Richard Nixon has confessed in his book “The Real War”, when he said that it is naïve to say that another world war may take place to defend the “free world”, when in fact the war is actually going on. He said that if the US were to abandon its allies or strategic military areas around the world, or those areas which are rich in mineral resources or lose control over the flow of oil and sea-routes, then in his opinion the so-called “free world” not only have lost the war, but its very existence would be at stake. The regions of Asia, Africa and Latin America contain the bulk of the world’s mineral wealth, economic resources and manpower, yet most of them are poor as they are being controlled politically and economically by the big powers. There is a perception that the conspiracies were hatched, which were responsible for assassination of Lumumba and removal of President Soekarno. And the US had played its role in stoking Iran-Iraq war, Arab Israel conflict and support for the contra saboteurs against the revolutionary government of Nicaragua. The list of its interferences, subversions, controls and overthrowing of Third World governments was too long to be elaborated. American leaders have never hidden their motives that they want to dominate the world and control its resources. There is an equally important objective and that is to strengthen Israel and to make it more powerful than all the Arab countries put together. This is the reason that Israel continues to build settlements in West Bank and Jerusalem. But this policy is fraught with danger.
In the new millennium, the US with a view to achieving its avowed objectives had attacked and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, obviously to control the oil resources, as all other pretexts were proven wrong. Despite setbacks in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US does not appear to have learnt any lesson, and continues with its policy of imposing its version of democracy on developing countries and the Middle East. There is a perception that the US had been instrumental in stirring unrest in the Middle East, what they called, Arab Spring. In the past, the US had resorted to unilateral use of force ostensibly to promote democracy in Haiti, Nicaragua and elsewhere in Latin America. It had also intervened forcibly to change regimes, collect debts and restore order. It has not weaned from the poison of sham nationalism, once the hallmark of Nazi Germany.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.
Email: mjamil1938@hotmail.com

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