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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid