My favorite hero of modern day, Barack Obama, president of the United States, finally makes a grand Asia tour in November 2009 and visits several power-hungry uprising nations. Here is Obama’s rough schedule:
- 13. November: Tokyo, Japan
- 14. November: Tokyo, Japan
- 15. November: Singapore, Singapore
- 16. November: Shanghai, China
- 17. November: Beijing, China
- 18. November: Beijing, China
- 19. November: Seoul, South Korea
Besides his long term mission world peace, Obama will talk about a number of questions. I also want to give an overview about these.
US – China trade deficit
China exports much more goods to the USA than vice versa, therefore much more cash is flowing from the USA to China. The money is literally leaving the USA and the value of the dollar declines. While this shouldn’t be a problem for China it still is, because the USA is the main buyer of Chinese products. Furthermore China has huge money reserves in $US, therefore they are interested in a strong US-Dollar. Obama will try to solve this issue with Chinese leaders. Possible solutions include USA geting their household right and China. China on the other hand has to give up on the restrictions regarding its currency the Chinese yuan. The RMB is not freely convertible or tradeable and is subject to strict governmental controls, makeing exports from China to the world cheaper than they really are. The US – Chinese trade deficit is a serious problem for both nations and I’m sure Obama will spend a lot of time talking about this with Hu Jintao.
Looking for new allies
For a long time several countries of East Asia wanted to create an economical alliance, however they couldn’t agree on the terms. Especially Japan was leaning to the USA and keeping distance from China. But times change quickly and Japan is more and more accepting that USA is no longer the center of the world. It is clear that Asia will be the world-shaping global force at some point in the next few decades and an exclusive economical alliance within Asia is only the next logical step. Barack Obama wants to make sure, that the USA is not left behind in this restructuring process.
As part of his world peace task, Obama wants to promote human rights once again. With the influence of the USA fading and other problems on top I doubt his words about this will any weight, except if he can present some logical reasons. While it is clear that solid human rights are necessary for economic excellence, it is not clear why China with it’s economic growth should care about them. The growth keeps the people happy for now and ensures the top position of the party.
Afghanistan strategy, Iran, North Korea
Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan enjoy a walk in the sun. Picture: Wikipedia
When the Afghanistan war started I could read in the newspapers, it will be only for a few years until the NATO-troops move out again. The Afghanistan war started on October 7. 2001, lasting more then 8 years and still going on without an end coming into sight. Obama wants to exchange views with Asian leaders on Afghanistan, but also North Korea and Iran.
Barack, Obama, I wish you a great journey and good luck on your Asia tour. I guess all the political interested readers of my blog will also follow the events on TV and newspapers and also I’m looking forward for the outcome, however I doubt we will see any real surprises.