Sunday, October 06, 2013

How the shutdown plays in SE Asia

I have been flying home from Korea via SE asia the last couple of days, and reading a few local newspapers.  What is happening here is that while the US Government remains shut down, the premier and PM of China have been engaging on a major goodwill tour, offering things like a billion dollars towards a new monorail project in Indonesia, or 40 billion dollars in increased trade with Malaysia over the next four years.  In contrast, the US has cancelled the Presidents trip, sending John Kerry in his place.
The local take on this, from the Persian Gulf to Japan and everywhere in between, is that it makes America look weak and unreliable, and that it is a serious blow to the new "Asian Pivot" strategy. China's rivals are worried that this inability of America to project soft power will tip the regional balance too far in China's favor.  Whether the bickering factions in Washington are too myopic to see or too shortsighted to care is not entirely clear.

1 comment:

Mike Britton said...

It looks the same way from Atlanta, Georgia. Maybe not weak...but unreliable due to government instability.

As a citizen and one who also does business abroad, I'm concerned.