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Obama right on money on Asia-Pacific


President Barack Obama begins a nine-day mission today as a step toward furthering America's role in including this region of the world as an essential element in U.S. jobs and security. His hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation of leaders in Hawaii could not be more appropriate, as no U.S. leader has been as equipped in understanding America's role in applying and solidifying expansion of trade, security alliances and cultural connections.

During his trip to Asia and participation in the APEC summit in Singapore two years ago, Obama promised to strengthen and sustain U.S. leadership in the region.

"And there must be no doubt," he said. "As America's first Pacific president, I promise you that this Pacific nation will strengthen and sustain our leadership in this vitally important part of the world."

Indeed, Obama reached toward Asia early in his administration, welcoming the Japanese prime minister to the White House for the first time in nearly a half century, and setting the first destination abroad for his secretary of state to be Asia. As she did then, top diplomat Hillary Clinton is playing an important role in this week's APEC. Clearly, as Obama described, the peoples of America and Asia are interwoven.

"My own life is part of that story," he remarked in Tokyo during his 2009 trip. "I am an American president who was born in Hawaii and lived in Indonesia as a boy. My sister, Maya, was born in Jakarta, and later married a Chinese-Canadian. My mother spent nearly a decade working in the villages of Southeast Asia, helping women buy a sewing machine or an education that might give them a foothold in the world economy. So the Pacific rim has helped shape my view of the world."

Much has changed, of course, since those childhood years of Obama. Some members of Congress may sneer today about the president devoting nine days in Hawaii, Indonesia and Australia as the Nov. 23 deadline nears for finding more than $1 trillion in cuts for budget agreement. Critics, though, should grasp the realities that the financial troubles are worldwide, growth in the Asia-Pacific area is burgeoning, and U.S. efforts to counterbalance China in the regional global economy are essential.

Obama cannot turn around his most extensive travel of the year at this point without seeming to give Asia a stiff arm, especially by postponing the Australian leg for the third time. At particular stake is establishment of a Pacific-wide free trade zone necessary to balance China's gigantic trade advantage.

"This isn't a trip to the far-flung corners of Asia," explains Daniel Russel, the president's senior director for Asian affairs. "This is a trip to the Asia-Pacific. The U.S. is very much an Asia-Pacific nation. We're a resident power."

And Barack Obama is the ideal person to be at the helm. No previous president has been more sensitive to the mutual interests and respect of the United States and Asia, and the capability of achieving a lasting and beneficial alliance. He now needs to put his knowledge and sensitivities to the best use. It's time to bring the Asia-Pacific promise he embodies to fruition, for the economic vitality of the nation.

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Highinthesierras wrote:
DUH, everyone has known this is Asia's century for 30 years.
on November 12,2011 | 05:27AM
stanislous wrote:
Ask yourself: "Am I better off financially today than I was 3 years ago"? Hows that Hope & Change working out for you. LOL LOL LOL
on November 12,2011 | 06:08AM
Pacej001 wrote:
Just had a comment critical of this editorial "sent for approval". It happens too often. Wonder why? Does the SA filter out commenters or content based on political views? Customer Service at the SA has yet to answer that question after being put to them directly.
on November 12,2011 | 07:19AM
cojef wrote:
SA really must have a liberal agenda, and do not condone opposing views. Hope this gets through. Had 2 rejected yesterday.
on November 12,2011 | 01:16PM
Pacej001 wrote:
Perfect timing, this trip by the president to Asia. He'll be out of town when the Congressional Super Committee debt ceiling agreement is due, thus making it physically impossible for him to exercise leadership by voting present.
on November 12,2011 | 07:39AM
cojef wrote:
SA must have a liberal agenda which preclude expressing opposing views, which may destroy their goals for brain-washing the innocent and naive readers. Thus, they want comfortation from you, rather dissent. Happened twice to me yesterday. Have to very careful how I word this agreement, as I fear it will "sent for approval".
on November 12,2011 | 01:14PM
Anonymous wrote:
Perfect timing, this trip by the president to Asia. He'll be out of town when the Congressional Super Committee debt ceiling agreement is due, thus making it physically impossible for him to exercise leadership by voting present.
on November 12,2011 | 07:39AM
cojef wrote:
Agree with Pacej001!!! had 2 of mine rejected yesterday, by the same, "sent for approval" cuz i disagreed with comment contributed by one of theirl liberal writers. Didn't mince any words, but was absent of any cuss, dirty or inflamatory language.
on November 12,2011 | 01:22PM
Pacej001 wrote:
The SA web person told me one of my comments was denied because it had the word "ret@rded" in it. Their system flags certain words and denies the comments. As I remember, my use of the word was not derogatory, but had to do with our dear president's policies "ret@rding" economic recovery. Go figure. Guess the niceness police are hard at work. Thought police can't be far behind.
on November 12,2011 | 03:22PM
Kapakahi wrote:

I disagree the editors of the S-A are "liberal" in any meaningful way. But just to reassure you that you are not being picked on, I have had a lot of my comments "sent for approval"--which is just a polite way of saying they have been rejected. I guess it is too labor-intensive for a human being to check on the accuracy of the software filter.

I wish the S-A would be more transparent with their censorship policy. I truly do not know why some of my comments have been deleted. I try to avoid words which I suspect might trigger their word-sniffing hound dog, but I guess I do not understand how prone their software might be to false positives.

on November 12,2011 | 09:11PM
Kapakahi wrote:

"The U.S. is very much an Asia-Pacific nation. We're a resident power."

Er, no. The US is overwhelmingly a North American country. The US controls Hawaii and American Samoa and has a HUGE naval fleet for intimidating uppity Asia nations or rebels within nations. But "we" are NOT a "resident power" in Asia. We are a NON-resident power.

APEC was created mostly by the Anglo countries of the United States, New Zealand and Australia as an alternative to ASEAN. The United States wanted to undermine the legitimate regional organization of the actual "resident" countries and inject itself into their decision-making by insisting the proper geographic basis for organizing is as "Asia-Pacific.

And the actual Pacific nations, the peoples of the islands, are largely ignored at this "APEC" gathering, represented by the "Pacific Forum" and with only observer status. While the bigger REAL powers make deals, impose agreements in their name.

The new Obama-Clinton "American Pacific Century" policy represents a ratchet click upwards in American insistence that we have a right to interfere in Asian affairs. I find it offensive and I am an American. I imagine the Asian people themselves--not talking about their compliant elites--are probably more offended yet.

on November 12,2011 | 09:03PM
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