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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs