President Obama is making some first choices right choices. Secretary of State Clinton is heading out on her first East Asia trip and it is first “destination Tokyo”, however don’t be fooled. While the surface intent may be destination Tokyo, the real reason is to initiate relations between the Obama Administration and China.
As Bunn Nagara writes in The Star Online, the Chinese economic success cannot be ignored. China has two trillion dollars in foreign exchange reserve and is first with respect to economic security-the United States is last, as relayed by the Wall Street Journal.
In Nagara’s article “It’s mostly about China,” Clinton’s itinerary is revealed. The first country that will be visited is Japan, then Indonesia, Seoul, South Korea and finally China.
Of course Clinton isn’t going anywhere without Obama’s blessing which is what leads me to say Obama is savvy in this instance. Japan will be given a courtesy “relief visit” that they are still “number one,” but Indonesia and South Korea have no major benefits to the United States. This trip is aimed at China.
Japan has been getting more and more nervous since China has been doing a great economic job. Plus the United States cannot ignore China because China owns some of us, having come up with cash when no one else could.
This puts the United States between a rock and two hard places. We cannot ignore Japan because they have a lot of success and cash and we have a political tie with them going back to WWII. However, neither can we ignore China’s financial and military might yet they are drastically opposed to our socio-political views.
It seems that we have taken the religious differences off the table in order to make working with China more acceptable.
It is a fact that China is somewhat concerned about what might be Clinton’s attitude since she has historically been hawkish towards the Chinese.
In fact she intimated that she wanted to stay away from brash decisions.
In the 1950’s when I was a kid we referred to China as “Red China” and “Communist China.” We criticized them for not believing in God and having such a large population that in a war they would just try and overrun you.
But things are different today. The United States isn’t in so good a position that they can be overly picky with respect to their friends.
Japan elicited joy and honor when they were the first country to be invited to the Obama White House. China won’t be far behind.