Strategic mistakes in the Obama era

By Zhang Jingwei
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, April 14, 2016
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Chinese President Xi Jinping met with his American counterpart Barack Obama on the sidelines of the fourth Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C. on March 31. The two leaders reached consensus on a series of issues including the Korean and Iranian nuclear programs, the necessary steps to tackle terrorism and climate change. Particularly, the two countries will sign the "Paris Agreement" on April 22, which will have a leading role in future global ecological civilization.

However, differences between the two countries over the South China Sea issue are a continuing concern, their navies recording their latest confrontation just as the two leaders were meeting. Each accused the other of "militarizing the South China Sea." However, it is really going too far for the U.S. navy to enter waters in the vicinity of China and then blame it all on the latter.

The root cause of the stormy situation in the South China Sea, the Western Pacific and even the entire Asia-Pacific region is America's strategic adjustment under Obama. He and his former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, a likely Democratic candidate in the 2016 presidential election, have carried out a "rebalance to Asia" strategy.

However, the reality is that the United States has not made any progress in the Middle East. The Islamic State (IS) has not only dragged the U.S., Europe and the Gulf states into a terrorist quagmire, but also inflicted a tidal wave of refugees on Europe that is difficult to control.

The Asia-Pacific region, especially the Western Pacific, has become an area of potentially intensifying confrontation between China and the United States, as well as a conflict-prone area between China and its neighbors over territorial sovereignty.

The U.S. Asia-Pacific rebalancing strategy has actually brought about the imbalance of regional powers, resulting in chaos. There's no need for the outside world to evaluate whether the U.S. global strategic adjustment in the Obama era is a success or failure. American politicians and media outlets have already expressed their view. Obama hopes to prove his diplomatic achievements through rapprochement with Cuba and Iran. However, this small amount of diplomatic brightness cannot hide the disorder and miscalculation in America's grand strategy.

The chaos of the U.S. presidential election, typified by Republican candidate Donald Trump, exposes Obama's unsuccessful strategy in the Middle East. And this is exactly why Trump's extreme stance is popular with the public. Populism has completely reversed the mainstream values of the American image of freedom, democracy, pluralism and the melting pot of cultures. This is a negative legacy of the Obama era.

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