News / Asia

How Would US Attack on Syria Affect Washington's Asia Pivot?

How Would US Attack on Syria Affect Washington's Asia Pivot?i
X
August 30, 2013 10:46 AM
What does a possible U.S. attack on Syria mean for the Obama administration's pivot to Asia, which Washington is presenting as part of its disengagement from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.
How Would US Attack on Syria Affect Washington's Asia Pivot?
What does a possible U.S. attack on Syria mean for the Obama administration's pivot to Asia, which Washington is presenting as part of its disengagement from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?  
 
Preparations for a possible U.S. attack on Syria were part of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's talks with Asian allies in Brunei. 
 
"I think it was made clear by President Obama, and I have said it on a number of occasions, that if any action would be taken against Syria it would be an international collaboration," he said.
 
Hagel meeting with Asian defense ministers amid U.S. preparations for attacking Syria is an important sign for the region, according to Asia analyst Patrick Cronin. 
 
"These are countries that really look to the United States, not just for economic influence but ultimately for the security insurance," Cronin said. "And for the United States not to show up at a meeting like this, not to take a trip that has long been planned, would send the completely wrong signal."
 
But what does it mean for the Obama administration's so-called Asia Pivot of military, diplomatic, and commercial resources to the region? 
 
"Syria is knocking Obama off his Asian mojo," said Asia analyst Michael Auslin of the American Enterprise Institute. "Not because Syria is that significant but because it is a perfect encapsulation of the problem of saying we are choosing between regions and yet not really being able to and then leaving the area that you said you were going to focus on somewhat in the lurch."
 
With China boosting patrols in disputed waters of the South China Sea, Asian allies are looking for a more robust U.S. military presence at a time when Washington is again focusing on conflict in the Middle East.
 
"The very fact that you are now consumed with figuring out how to deal with Syria means that beyond the rhetoric of you showing up at these meetings," noted Auslin, "are you really able to commit resources to both parts of the globe?"
 
Resources for the Asia Pivot were to come from U.S. drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan. But budget cuts have slowed that redeployment even before the military build-up off Syria, says Asia analyst Doug Bandow.
 
"What we are seeing with Syria now shows how hard it is for the U.S. to maintain this kind of global presence at a time of shrinking resources. And that's going to affect everything," explained Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute. 
 
Bandow said the United States as a Pacific power does not outweigh long-standing U.S. security interests in the Middle East.
 
"America has alliances in the Middle East. We still have concern about oil in the Middle East, human rights issues in the Middle East," he said. "It's very hard for the administration to pull away from that. So the Asians need to look at this and realize, as that drawdown happens, they shouldn't expect to be exempt."

China is warning against a military response to Syrian chemical weapons attacks.
 
"The only way out of the Syrian issue is a political resolution," stressed an anchor on China State Television. "So all parties ought to cautiously handle the Syrian chemical weapons issue to avoid interfering in efforts to resolve the Syrian issue politically."
 
Though China has in the past joined Russia in vetoing a tougher U.N. approach to Syria, U.S. officials say Moscow rather than Beijing is leading opposition to Security Council action against Syria.
 

You May Like

US Gives Malaysia Questionable Upgrade in Human Trafficking Ranks

Malaysia’s upgrade seen as removing barrier to country’s participation in the US-led 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership More

Turkey, US Try to Establish Buffer Despite Differences

Coalition airstrikes in proposed zone would aim to drive out Islamic extremists, allowing targeted area to come under sway of anti-Assad rebels More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs