U.S. can’t afford to leave Asia

This article is a perfect example of a writer who doesn’t understand it was the Obama administration that has endangered Asian allies and allowed China to solidify its claim on the South China Sea. It was the Obama administration who allowed, and continues to allow, North Korean belligerency and nuclear threats against its neighbors to continue without consequence.

There’s nothing wrong with plans of having an ally pay their fair share monetarily or militarily. The author is simply complaining they’re not getting a free ride in a hypothetical President Trump scenario.

Japan is more than capable of defending itself if it wished. Japan is more than capable of going nuclear in months if it wished.


One hopes that Park Geun-hye and Shinzo Abe enjoyed their recent meeting with Barack Obama, because the show of unity that the South Korean, Japanese, and U.S. leaders displayed in opposition to North Korea’s nuclear defiance would simply not be possible in a hypothetical Trump administration.

Instead, Donald Trump, the front-runner to serve as the Republican candidate in this fall’s presidential election, asserts that U.S. alliances with Japan and South Korea will end if the country continues on “its current path of weakness.” He then doubles down on U.S. weakness by pledging to dismantle those alliances, which have provided an essential post-World War II foundation upon which the United States has been able to project its strength.

The U.S. simply cannot be made great again by defining its closest global relationships purely in transactional terms or by insisting on going it alone while making others pay. Such an approach undermines the shared values in support of international common good that have been the hallmark of the U.S. commitment to global security.

One of the U.S.’ great strengths is the multiplier effect for the country’s leadership that comes as a result of having an unparalleled global network of friends and allies. The key to the restoration of U.S. leadership will be for the next president to ensure that there is not a vacuum in international leadership, not to dismantle the structures that have enabled the U.S. to lead.

Trump may ask allies to do more, but the starting point for such a discussion must be to reaffirm the value of the relationship and to give full credit to partners for the contributions they are already making. To belittle one’s partner or threaten to walk away from decades-old ties by asserting that the U.S. “get[s] practically nothing” from allies like South Korea tears down the alliances and unnecessarily diminishes value of their contributions to U.S. security.

Abandonment of U.S. leadership in Asia cannot make America great again; instead, it is only likely to weaken U.S. leadership, and irreparably and unnecessarily damage the main instruments that have provided the U.S. with its strategic advantage. How much would the U.S. need to pay to rebuild the international order after it is destabilized? Is it worth abandoning its allies and partners? Can the U.S. afford it?

These are some questions that Trump should have asked before advocating the abandonment of the U.S.’ long-standing allies.

Going it alone will not make America great again, but it will make America lonely and nostalgic for the last American century, when Washington exported its ideals by defining leadership globally rather than focusing narcissistically on its own immediate self-interest.

Full article: U.S. can’t afford to leave Asia (The Japan Times)

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