Horasis:The Global Visions Community Horasis China and business Asian business Asian business globalization systemic risk sustainability management consulting Asian trade globe visions leadership skills scenario-building World Economic Forum Frank-Jürgen Richter Frank-Jurgen Richter Frank-Juergen Richter Frank Richter
      Home Site Map Email
Home
Philosophy
Management
Events
Contact
Opinions
 
2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
The Straits Times, September 17, 2012
 

With the United States presidential election just a few short months away and Americans engrossed in the candidates’ domestic views, the rest of the world has shifted its focus to the candidates’ thoughts on foreign policy.

Nowhere in the world should the focus on the US election be more intense than in Asia. With the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit just ending in Vladivostok and President Barack Obama the only leader of a major Apec power not attending, Asians are surely wondering what this November’s polls will mean for them. With well over two billion people and some of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world, Asia is on the brink of dramatic change and whoever wins the White House will surely have a major effect.

This begs the question: Just how do the presidential candidates feel about Asia? One thing is clear. Both candidates feel the most important nation to focus on is China, but just how they approach this delicate subject could have very different effects on the region. Both want the US to remain the dominant superpower, but is that even possible?

It is fair to say that Mr Obama’s Asia policy has not been his primary focus. In fact, in his recent address at the Democratic National Convention, the President mentioned Asia only twice and practically in passing both times. That said, the nature of the administration’s Asia policy and its goals have become clear in the last year: to maintain the US’ powerful influence over East Asia and counterbalance a growing China.

Mr Mitt Romney also seems to believe that the US should maintain an influence in Asia, but he is taking an altogether different approach. He sees China as the enemy. The Romney campaign seems to have no qualms attacking China directly, whereas the Obama administration has steered clear of inflammatory rhetoric.

Strategists in the Obama administration believe that China may have an opportunity to gain influence over some nations in Asia, especially with growing economies in India, Vietnam and elsewhere. To counter this perceived threat, the Obama administration first turned to diplomacy. Mr Obama visited China last autumn and was not greeted warmly. This is because at the same time he was attempting diplomacy, Mr Obama was also making military moves. Last year, the President announced the shipment of 2,500 marines to a new base in Australia by 2016. Speaking in Canberra, the President said that the move was to “project power and deter threats to peace”.

This statement and the move itself infuriated the Chinese, especially given that he did not address it during his autumn visit, and led other Asian nations to fear further struggles between the two superpowers. Whereas Mr Obama’s America has been silently posturing for a conflict with China and outwardly attempting diplomacy, the Romney camp knows who its enemy is and Mitt loves to say so.

Mr Romney’s website breaks down his Asia-Pacific policy into several parts: “Maintain Robust Military Capabilities in the Pacific”, “Deepen Cooperation among Regional Partners”, “Defend Human Rights”, and “Disarm North Korea”. “In the face of China’s accelerated military build-up, the United States and our allies must maintain appropriate military capabilities to discourage any aggressive or coercive behaviour by China against its neighbours.” This statement from Mr Romney’s webpage on Asia policy says a lot about his views: China is a clear threat to the US and its economic partners in Asia and must be dealt with via a military build-up. The sections on deepening cooperation with neighbours and defending human rights simply mirror this view.

The Obama administration has made some statements against a nuclear North Korea, but lately nearly all positions in Asia have taken a back seat to China. Even on the subject of human rights violations, the administration has been largely silent – seeming to take the approach of not wishing to wake a sleeping beast or attempt to reason with it. Instead, Mr Obama intends to build up a fence to prepare for its arrival.

In contrast to their somewhat similar military views, economically Mr Obama and Mr Romney have starkly different approaches. Mr Romney is taking the high road. He wants to create a new economic partnership in Asia: The “Reagan Economic Zone” would act as a free-trade zone for participating nations. The invitation to join this zone would go out to all Asian nations, including China, but their participation is not expected.

Rather, this trade agreement would likely act as a way to continue the US’ sphere of influence in the region while discouraging “imbalanced bilateral trade relations between China and its neighbours”. With no solution similar to Mr Romney’s “Reagan Economic Zone”, the President stands to lose face in the midst of the heated debate.

The Apec conference’s biggest focus is the economy, and Mr Obama did not show up, which sends a strong message to the Asian community. Compounding that issue were comments made during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to Beijing, where the Chinese asserted sovereignty and control over the controversial South China Sea. With the Chinese public already fearing the turn that the Obama administration has taken over military power in the region, his no-show at Apec will likely stir the pot.

In closing, it seems that Mr Romney’s and Mr Obama’s positions in Asia differ crucially by their public appearances. Mr Romney is seeking to appear tough on China by bashing and attacking, while Mr Obama is hoping to appear more open to negotiation. However, the Chinese do not seem to appreciate either side’s rhetoric of “American superiority”. Expect to see both candidates stand strong on defence policies in Asia, while at the same time likely avoid contentious attacks on each other’s policies due to their startling similarity. Mr Romney, of course, will be more vocal about the threat posed by China, and Mr Obama will be vocal about the potential of strengthening diplomatic relations between the two powers while engaging in very little diplomacy.

China is an ever-changing country. It is on the verge of becoming the dominant world superpower and is in the midst of a leadership transition. Both candidates fear a loss of influence in Asia and China’s growing power, but they are living in a dream world. China is surely on its way to becoming the world’s leading nation.

 

The writer is founder and chairman of Horasis, a global business community


Horasis is a global visions community committed to enact visions for a sustainable future. (http://www.horasis.org)

For more information, please contact:
 
Communications and Public Affairs
Horasis. The Global Visions Community
phone: +41 79 305 3110
fax: +41 44 214 6502
e-mail: visions@horasis.org
 
 
Copyright © 2005 Horasis Web by Toronto Web Design