Saturday, June 25, 2011

"South China Sea, or me"

I came across an interesting article by Clyde Prestowiz on the U.S. economic condition and national security issues in East and South East Asia.

Prestowiz asserts that the national security establishment has taken us through a "detour" in the Middle East, and it is finally return to its attention to where it should be; East Asia (aka China).

He also states that since we have such a broad security blanket on the Pacific, our weathly companies know there is little risk in investing aborad, thus drawing money out of the U.S. economy.

Personally, it appears Prestowiz is a true realist with a Cold War tinge. While I loved this article and the way it got me thinking, it appears he is arguing that the U.S. should make the Pacific less secure in order to take the low-risk factor away from FDI in Asia. With this blanket gone, American companies would be more prone to invest back into America, while also making the American pull stronger for those Asian countries fearful of China's rise. He's also argues for more financial uniformity on free trade treaties, which I don't know much about, but it sounds more beneficial.

In essence, create an atmosphere which works for our interests; pretty realist.

If I am wrong on this, please correct me.

Its not that this whole idea doesn't make sense, if it would work, but that it kind of has the old Cold War 1 vs. 1 redux to it. Prestowiz is a veteran of Cold War, free trade, Reagan policies; he was commerce secretary during Reagan's administration. While I agree that Washington was too busy spending time in a unnecessary war in Iraq and running up the debt than paying attention to Asia, I don't think the U.S. should be actively looking for demons to fry. Instead of having another Cold War showdown with China that many speculate, we must double our diplomatic efforts in order to court China.

The world is different than in the Cold War, and we should adapt our policies accordingly. Veteran policy-makers of the Cold War do provide insight and wisdom, but it seems many have difficulties leaving behind the old "us vs. them" mentality. While Prestowitz's realist economic policies for the Pacific could work; we must be weary not to have China become even more aggressive and sense we cannot balance them out. Though some old concept apply in short term international affairs, there are many new ways to achieve long term relationships than ever before.

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