Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Pivot Into Decline

 Obama wanted to pivot to the Pacific.

That was smart; it was also obvious: in a couple decades China had gone from a post colonial basket case  to the second biggest economy in the world.

As the long term dominant power in that part of the world it seemed that it would behoove the United States to step in with vigor and guide things along.

A variety of things kept the Obama doctrine from being implemented.

So that was then and here we are in the now.

Now we are a decade farther down the arch of history; now our current president wants to get back to pivoting to Asia.

Again this is an obvious thing to do.

However: last time, if the pivot had taken place, China would have been a rapidly emerging giant.

Now the giant has fully emerged.

Last time the pivot would have involved keeping ahead of the emerging giant; at that time, for example we were about to complete the negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership, a trade deal consisting of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States; it was signed on 4 February 2016. 

But donnie didn't like playing with the rest of the kids and withdrew.

So today a powerful trade based alliance offsetting emerging Chinese trade hegemony in the Asia/Pacific Region doesn't exist.

Now the giant has fully emerged.

Now, as we pivot, we aren't trying to keep ahead of the giant (as TPP would have facilitated) we are hoping to counter the giant.

The United States didn't get where it is today by playing a counter game.

For example, from inception we marched mindlessly forward under the banner of manifest destiny: "kill, maim, move forward and take no prisoners; this place is ours".

I am not interested in engaging in a debate about the goods or the bads  of manifest destiny.

But I do know that playing the counter game is the game that the British Empire has played for most of the last century.

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