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A Closer Look at the American ‘Pivot’ – NYTimes.com

November 2, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

HONG KONG — The United States still has tens of thousands of troops based in Europe, a full withdrawal from Afghanistan is two years away, Iran’s nuclear program appears to be a crisis-in-waiting and the Middle East remains highly combustible. But as a senior American diplomat says, “the history of the 21st century is going to be written in the Asia-Pacific region,” which presents the opportunity for “an absolutely unique American role.”

The diplomat, Kurt M. Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, is interviewed in a deft new documentary, “The Pivot,” which explains and explores the enhanced U.S. emphasis on Asia — militarily, diplomatically and economically.

The film, available here, is the latest in an excellent series of documentaries by the former CNN journalist Mike Chinoy, a senior fellow at the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California.

The documentary features interviews with a range of American diplomats — current and former — and scholars with long experience in Asia. Some offer their thoughts on what the upcoming election might mean for U.S. foreign policy in the region.

The Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, has a deep foreign policy bench, according to Richard Armitage, deputy secretary of state under President George W. Bush, and those advisers would likely ensure that “Asia policy would be relatively untouched,” Mr. Armitage said.

Some analysts fear that Mr. Romney’s oft-stated promise to call out China for manipulating its currency will not bode well for bilateral relations. Such a move would mean “we’re going to have a few years of very tough ties,” said Kenneth Lieberthal, a China scholar and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of “Bending History: Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy.”

via A Closer Look at the American ‘Pivot’ – NYTimes.com.

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