The Americans are coming to Asia to lead the Asians to a better future. Asia is where they belonged. They have never left. If you stand at Changi Point and squint your eyes a little, you may be able to see LA at the horizon. Bangkok or Jakarta would probably be too far away.
This morning when I read Tommy Koh’s address to the Japanese on how peaceful and how welcomed the Americans are, I feel that I must be pretty naïve, or I am suffering from dementia. It is more a combination of both, really.
The Americans are like Asians on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. And they have been bringing peace to Asia for the last 70 years since the end of World War II. When the Koreans and Vietnamese were trying to start another big world war, it was the Americans who came in to defeat them and bring peace to East Asia. Otherwise the region will be marred in unceasing conflicts among the belligerent regional states.
The great deeds of the Americans can best be seen in the Middle East. Look, they have brought peace to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya. Now that their job is done in that region, it is the turn of the Asians to receive the American blessing.
And the Asean countries are opening their arms widely to receive the Great White Hope, to emancipate them from poverty, war, dictatorship and authoritarian regimes. The Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia are feasting the President like a Hollywood star. They were all gaga where he graced the Asean summit with his imposing presence. Without him, the Asean summit would have been meaningless, leaderless.
And India too would be flipping over with the sight of the Americans. The President even goaded the Australians to sell uranium to India, the first beneficiary of the American generosity, for peace of course.
The next great blessing coming the Asian way will be the Trans Pacific Pact to replace the FTAAP. The later is moribund, ineffective without the great leadership from America. And who says the TPP was an American concoction? It was launched by Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. The Americans just assumed leadership and make it better, that’s all.
And it has absolutely nothing about containing China. China is not excluded from joining. It can invite itself in on condition that all the members agree to accept its membership just like when China tried to join WTO. Nothing unusual, nothing of the sort like containing China. Please do not read too much into this kind of arrangement.
The Americans will lead the region to prosperity and peace with more cheap American goods to go around. Chinese cheap goods are of poorer quality and manufactured from exploitation of its own labour and abusing human rights and should be excluded.
The Americans are in the region to share power with the Chinese. But China’s entry into TPP would have to be blessed by the Americans. Oops, not really, but by all the members of the Pact. The Americans have no more use of their military forces in the peaceful Middle East they have left behind and would probably deployed these peaceful soldiers to the western Pacific Region for peace and stability. The first beneficiary of this peaceful gesture is Australia where the first consignment of troops will be stationed. But the 2,500 marines would be too small a force to maintain peace. The Asian nations will have to wait for the full deployment of the American main forces with its HQ likely to be in the Philippines or Vietnam, for a better guarantee of peace in the region. Without the presence of American troops in the region there can never be peace.
Remember the Korean War and the Vietnam War? It was the presence of American troops that brought peace to these two countries.
My apologies for the incoherent grumbling. I am just too naïve to see the goodness of the Americans in the region. The ineffective regional associations like Asean and FTAAP should make way for new associations led by the able leadership of America. Only then can this region live in peace and prospers. Please forgive me as I also have a bit of dementia and my views are pretty childish at times. You can be nicer to me by calling me innocent. But I must say that with the return of America to the region, good times are coming.
The Philippines, Indians and Vietnamese are celebrating. Of course Australia, Japan and South Koreans will feel more secure and more Asians. Not sure about the rest of Asean and China.