28 December 2015
In his penultimate year-end press conference on Dec 18, before his annual Christmas holiday, United States President Barack Obama said America’s global leadership as a superpower is more than just “bombing somebody”. Moments later, he ended the session — where he had discussed a range of topics from terrorism to climate change — saying: “Okay, everybody, I’ve got to get to Star Wars.”
He was heading off for a special White House screening of the latest instalment of the sci-fi franchise for the next-of-kin of fallen US troops. With these final words for 2015, Mr Obama — whose term finishes in January 2017 after eight years in office — has shown how his administration uses both hard and soft power.
It is a balance that Washington has also struck in Asia Pacific since 2011, when he announced a strategic rebalancing to the region as a key foreign-policy initiative, after years of American preoccupation with the Middle East and North Africa.
In the past four years, by broadening economic and strategic ties with the Asia Pacific, the US has flexed its superpower muscle and exerted its benign influence on the region.
… “At this point, it’s impossible to discern whether this opposition (to the TPP) stems from partisanship, populism, vote pandering or a sincere political stance,” said Mr Harry Sa, a research analyst in the United States Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 29/12/2015