Yes, Vice President Joe Biden noted, Washington is "deeply concerned” over China’s decision to create an air defense identification zone, but then he said nada, zilch, when it came to demanding the Chinese retract their decision.
While Washington and the world have been focused on the nuclear agreement reached with Iran last week in Geneva, on the other side of the globe, one of the parties to that deal, China, was at the very same time making the peaceful resolution of its dispute with Japan over a group of small islands in the East China Sea even less likely.
November 19 marks the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. And while there have been innumerable books and articles written about the content and rhetorical sophistication of Lincoln’s remarks, far less has been written about why he chose the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg to deliver the speech he did.
With the president’s decision to cancel this weekend’s trip to Asia and miss both the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and the East Asia Summit, it’s useful to remind ourselves that the reason for that trip was to reinvigorate the planned “pivot” to Asia, which continues to lose momentum.
One is inclined to say we’re in a classic D.C. he-said-she-said moment—except in this case polls show the American public siding with the president in blaming Republicans. Like most serious policy disputes in American history, however, this argument has a constitutional dimension that shouldn’t go without comment.
The era of long-term members and committee chairman, such as Richard Russell, Henry Jackson, Richard Lugar, John Tower and Dante Fascell are a thing of the past. In its place is a rotating cast of players who cannot match the years spent in committee hearings, closed-door briefings and one-on-one meetings with senior diplomats and Pentagon officials that a previous generation could call on.
In both Syria and Bosnia, tens of thousands have died, innocents brutalized, and massive numbers exiled from their homes, towns, and country while Washington and other capitals hope that a deal can be struck that will take the burden of military action off their shoulders.
At this event, the authors of a recently released AEI report titled “Ensuring Japan’s critical resource security: Case studies in rare earth element and natural gas supplies” will discuss how both the US and Japan can take advantage of the convergence of Tokyo’s quest with America’s “pivot” and energy boom.
Though some Republicans may be tempted to use the vote on military actions as a political opportunity, the GOP should remember that this is an office it will one day inherit, and the hole it digs now for Obama and the country's strategic credibility will be a hole itmight well be trying to climb out of in a few years.