Nepali Times
Obama and Asia's Two Futures


TOKYO. Despite the relentless shift of global economic might to Asia, and China's rise as a great power – the central historical events of our time, which will drive world affairs for the foreseeable future – America's focus has been elsewhere. The terrorist attacks of 2001, followed by the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the Great Contraction of 2008, the Arab Spring, and Europe's sovereign debt crisis, all diverted the United States from helping to create a lasting structure of peace to accommodate today's resurgent Asia.

In November, US President Barack Obama can begin to redress this imbalance when he hosts the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in his native state of Hawaii. The meeting's timing is fortunate, because a number of critical Asian issues are coming to a boil.

The South China Sea, for example, is now churning with competing claims to its islands, atolls, and sea bed, including China's bold assertion that all of it is Chinese sovereign territory. At this year's ASEAN summit in Bali, it was agreed that these territorial disputes be settled through bilateral negotiations. But the scope of Chinese claims doomed that agreement from the start; indeed, China now insists that the sea constitutes a core national interest, on a level with Taiwan and Tibet, for which it is prepared to fight.

China's willingness to throw its weight around amplifies the grave imbalance in size, and leverage, between it and the other countries bordering the South China Sea. This has made bilateral negotiations to settle these disputes unviable. Vietnam and the Philippines have been bullied in this way recently, with both pushing back rather than submit to Chinese imposed terms.

The presidential elections scheduled for next year in two of Asia's strongest democracies – South Korea and Taiwan – are also likely to cause diplomatic temperatures to rise in the months ahead. The risk stems not from the conduct of the South Koreans or the Taiwanese, but from the democratic choices that they make, which may offend two of Asia's last dictatorships.

In South Korea, the remarkable Park Guen-hye's bid to become her country's first woman president may provide an excuse – as if any were needed – for North Korean mischief-making. The regime in Pyongyang is seeking to ensure that power passes to a third generation of Kims, represented by the pudgy and well-fed "Dear Young General," Kim Jong-un, and appears to believe that provocations such as its bombardment of a South Korean island earlier this year are the way to secure the succession.

Taiwan, too, may elect a woman president, Tsai Ing-wen, the leader of the opposition Democratic Peoples' Party, next year. That outcome would stoke Chinese ire, not because of Tsai's gender, but owing to her politics. The DPP has long been the Taiwanese party keenest on securing independence for the country.

A third Asian issue with combustible potential is Burma, where another unique woman, the Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, is at the heart of events. The elections earlier this year, which many at first assumed were a sham, now appear to have produced changes to which Asia's countries will need to collectively and individually respond. The government not only freed Suu Kyi after two decades of house arrest, but has even begun a dialogue with her – talks for which the meticulous opposition leader has expressed real hope.

Indeed, President Thein Sein's government has begun to release thousands of political prisoners, including the monk who led the massive street protests of 2007. Sein's government has also listened to Burmese public disquiet at China's massive influence in the country, and has canceled a huge $3.6 billion dam that Chinese firms were building.

China, it is plain to see, is at the root of most of the disputes troubling Asia. Two main issues must be managed – one philosophical, the other structural – in seeking to ameliorate the problems caused by China's unconstrained rise. Only by resolving the structural issue will Asia succeed in overcoming the philosophical problem.

The philosophical problem concerns China's renewed conception of itself as the "Middle Kingdom," a state with no sovereign equal. Throughout its history, China has sought to treat its neighbors as vassals – a mindset currently reflected in the way that it has approached negotiations with Vietnam and the Philippines over the South China Sea.

China's free-floating rise, unanchored in any regional structure or settlement, makes this mindset particularly worrying. At the Hawaii summit, Obama must orchestrate the first steps toward constructing an effective multilateral framework within which the complications posed by China's rise can be addressed.

The absence of such a structure of peace has been obscured, to some extent, by America's dominant role in Asia since the Pacific War. But China's rise and America's other global and domestic concerns have left many Asians wondering just how enduring those commitments will be in the future. Nevertheless, China's recent strategic assertiveness has led many Asian democracies to seek to deepen their ties with the US, as South Korea has done with a bilateral free-trade agreement. The US is reciprocating by pledging not to cut Asia-related defense spending, despite the big reduction in overall US defense spending that lies ahead.

What Asia most needs today is a well-conceived regional system, embedded in binding multilateral institutions. A "Trans-Pacific Partnership" between Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US, and Vietnam to govern supply-chain management, intellectual-property protection, investment, rules on state-owned firms, and other trade issues – likely to be announced in Hawaii – is a good start in the economic sphere. But much more is needed.

Ultimately, the best way for peace to prevail in the region is for the US and China to share responsibility for a regional order with Asia's other powers, particularly India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea.

Asia's choice is clear: either the region embraces a multilateral structure of peace, or it will find itself constrained by a system of strategic military alliances. In Hawaii, Obama and the other assembled Asian leaders – particularly the Chinese – must begin to choose between these two Asian futures.

Yuriko Koike is Japan's former Minister of Defense and National Security Adviser.

Project Syndicate, 2011.

1. Vija Srestha

The time of SAARC was most fortunate for Mr.Bhattarai.

First,Mr.Dahal's bilateral talks with Chinese government oficial's about Lumbini Project, then Mr.Bhattarai's visit to India,then Mr.Dahal's visit to USA .In between politicians drop us some bones forall of us to chew on to divert our focus from the spider web's woven by Mr.Dahal and Mr.Bhattarai.Directives are coming from USA and China.
Mr.Bhattarai and his party openly wrote about it in their programme of action before Mr.Bhattarai came to office.PLA and its integration,Mr.Dhungel and his case those are all the events for interim government to chew on while Mr.Bhattarai and Dahal does his visits.
I would advise everyone who wants to understand what is going on in Nepal and why,the reasons behind Mr.Dahal's and Bhattarai's actions and visits, to read YURIKO KOIKE's article ,but most importatnly read PROJECT SYNDICATE 2011 indicated under Ms.YURIKo KOIKE'S article.Read all of those articles and put puzzle pieces together to Mr.Bhattarai's and Dahal's actions.To understand why Chinese politely declined to help EUROZONE,to understand wherelies USA interests in 21st century,to understand what are the hegamonous plans of Chinese,not the pharases spoken by Chinese officials is the indicator of their intentions but the actions taken and the analysis given in the Project Syndicate articles are the exact intentions of Chinese and USA government.

What are the common interests of Nepali politicians .Bhattarai .Dahal ,and the above mentioned governments,China and USA and their common projects.However ,in this triangle there is a dillema,ASIA'S 2 FUTURES in which Mr.Bhattarai and Dahal have already signed in single handedly,so there is no even more a choice for Nepalis,unless it is what Nepalis want .

Nepali politicians are only needed as messengers whose greed and thirst for quick and in their interpretation a quick flow of cash for them personali for a uncertain time lime line is assured,as we would need minimum another 25 years to see the results as a proof of the end of Bhattarai's and Dahals' actions to turn into disaster for Nepal and it's citizens.Let's look at statements Mr.Bhattarai gave to a press after his retun from SAARC meeting.He calls it s successful visit,I call it a betrayel of all small nations living in the Asian subcontinet ,including Nepal.The question here is a matter of choice Nepali citizens must make.Mr.Bhattarai and Dahal have done it single handedly.They have chosen the path of all small countries of EUROPIAN UNION.Those countries joined EU according to the tailored plan by Germany and other bigger states like France, ,Italy,Ireland etc.The opposite to these we see countries that didn't join EU.We also see the results of these countries and their economies.We also see the results of EUROZONE and all those vassal countries who joined EU with the promises of prosperity for it's citizens.The leaders of these small countries are the same politicians like Mr.Bhattarai and Mr.Dahal,they all have common interests,their personal ambition to get rich and as you see,not the politicians are getting poor it is the citizens of those countries who pay debts and taxes to stich together holes in the sacks of gold politicians so single handedly decided to share among themselves.
Why the end of EUROZONE is coming to an undenyable end ?

Let's understand and read these words and lets read and compare the analysis in PROJECT SYNDICATE 2011.

The results are most satisfying for Mr.Bhattarai and Mr.Dahal.Everything goes according to a plan.First Lumbini,then BIPPA,now SAFTA. Nepal will be a transit state for Chinese hegamonious plans , increasing connectivity through air, water and surface transport and communications as well as promoting the people-to-people relations in the region.

He said the leaders of the SAARC member states agreed to promote unhindered flow of goods and physical connectivity.

The prime minister added that the heads of states or governments of all the eight countries of the SAARC expressed their commitment to take the regional group to a new height by agreeing to build the infrastructures for collaboration, cooperation and participation among the countries of the South Asia region.
Yes,here Mr.Bhattarai has succeeded personali,he was able to catch into this trap other small Asian nations which are so desparate like Nepal ,but it must be up to people to vote and decide if we want to join the project Asia in multicultural region or be an independent state being able to stand upto Chinese and USA hegamonous plans.However,knowing Chinese history,one must be able to see the pattern.Has China included America in its final plans,remains to be carefully weight out.While Eurozone will leak its wounds,China easily with the help pf Nepal promotes its biznesses in all subcontinet,including Pakistan ,Afghanistan,Russia.USA's economie is at stand still speed.As you see,the advantage of beig away from the other continents of the world.
The question is ,are we willing to read and understand or are we just willing to take as it is,what comes we have a choice.NC and other parties signing the 7PACT deal gave Bhattarai confidence to rush everywhere and sign anything.The politicins of other parties will have its piece of cake as well or are we willing to think like Japan and make our own decisions?
I think this is the most important discussions that needs to be presented to Nepali citizens ,it's a matter of urgency.
Will China and OBAMA agree?As long as their bizness interests are being served.China wants to rule our hemispere and America can always be safe on the other .As for Mr.Bhattarai, and Dahal's actions.These two politicins will do anything they please,even if there will be some spikes in a meantime.So if this is the case,we better implement all the plans we were promissed by our big neighbours,however the buttons,pursed and taps are not on our teritory.

That is the result of actions taken by Mr.Bhattarai and Dahal for nation,but most importantly for them personali.Do we want to make a multicultural Asia Zone?Do we want to have an identity like Japan?

2. Anonymous
Economic development alone does not suffice to ensure political leadership, be it at the regional or global levels. Strategic thinking and firm convictions are required both for waging war and maintaining peace. Strategic thinking requires economic prosperity plus something else. One needs history, culture, civilization, military might and, above all,Β  a deep conviction to be an effective leader. America demonstrated these attributes in the twentieth century despite having a short history. China certainly can draw enormous inspiration and motivation from her past, i.e. the civilization of the "Middle Kingdom"; more than that, the firm ideological conviction and pragmatism rooted in the Chinese soil, and championed by the modern Chinese leaders have transformed China not only into an economic power house of the world within a short period of time, but also put Beijing to take up challenges of leadership in the regional arena. Why Japan, once a veryΒ  ambitious and aggressive military power during the WW-II, and the second top economy after the US in the eighties, failed to fill in much needed leadership vacuum in Asia, even before the wake of the sleeping 'Dragon' from the deep slumber? The Japanese definitely gained an enormous economic and technological might within a short span of time, but what was lacking in them was a fundamental inner strength of conviction, perhaps the cause being their not only military but also moral defeat in the WW-II; even their Constitution was drafted by a foreign power!! China's rise as an Asian power may be good for the region and for the world, specially when the world is evolving into a multi-polar one. The fundamental idea of democracy is pluralism and in that sense the world needs multiple paradigms and models of development to compete with each other. (Had India not mimicked the West, perhaps she could also provide an alternative paradigm of human development and democracy to the world!) Today the reality of Asia is such that no single world power can decide on its own, as in the past; it makes a lot of sense and needs some wisdom to keep the 'Middle Kingdom' in mind, before any unilateral steps are taken.

3. Tashi Lama
Interesting article, I think due to rising of Capitalist Communist China in this world, created by the hypocrite politicians and a greedy business corporates was huge mistake. World is feeding this tyrant China by buying it cheap goods. Feeding monster means danger for all it's neighbor, this monstrous regime of China will spare no one. Autocrat regime is Habitually a war mongers, they just believe in money and power, not anything else. Now the real sad situation in China is of it's dying moral values, which is serious threat to the world and moreover to 1.3 billion Chinese people who have to live with lack of moral values and distrust amongst them. It is then natural who will trust this one party autocrat regime of China, if they smells danger of the regime to fall, they will play a game by waging war on any of their neighbors, most probably India, as to divert the Chinese people attention for greater freedom of true democracy. This bloody regime will play any kind of politics to remain in power, but I am optimistic that one day peoples power will over come from this one party autocrat regime of China!Β  Just wait and watch, days are just numbered!Β  Β  Β  Β 

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)