Monday, April 27, 2015

The Middle East’s Pivot to Asia

Allies and adversaries alike are “strategically rebalancing” away from the United States and toward China. 

By David Rothkopf

FOREIGN POLICY - April 24, 2015

Remember the pivot to Asia? The big signature move of first-term Obama foreign policy? Some called it a “strategic rebalancing.” We were going to reset our priorities, put the conflicts of the Middle East behind us, and devote big efforts to creating and implementing a strategy to deal with the vital strategic moves America needed to make to account for the rise of the world’s fastest-growing region.  As it happened, and as anyone with eyes could see, after its champions like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon left their jobs in Barack Obama’s administration, the initiative lost steam. Since 2013, there have been little more than assertions that the pivot was still pivoting — even though there was precious little concrete evidence to that effect. (See below for a brief note on one of the few significant Asia-Pacific efforts, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.) The region the administration had so hoped to pivot away from, the Middle East, was still sucking up every bit and bite of excess bandwidth, and top officials in the administration just weren’t able to muster up anything much more than symbolic gestures or relatively small initiatives to demonstrate America’s reprioritization of Asia at the top of its foreign-policy to-do list.