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THE FAILED OBAMA-CLINTON ASIA PIVOT

As President Obama travels the Asia-Pacific, it is clear that after much


fanfare, the legacy of the Obama-Clinton pivot is a failed policy leading to
frayed alliances, an emboldened China, and a region, like in many other
parts of the world, where U.S. economic and geopolitical influence is
declining.
Tim Miller, Executive Director, America Rising PAC
This Week, Obama Is Traveling In Asia, With Stops In China, Burma And Australia. (Tanya
Somanader, The Road Ahead: President Obama Travels To The Asia Pacific, The White House, 11/7/14)

As Secretary Of State, Hillary Clinton Laid Claim Toward An Obama


Administration Foreign Policy Pivot Toward The Asia-Pacific Region
In A 2011 Essay Titled Americas Pacific Century, Secretary Clinton Outlined The
Obama-Clinton Pivot Toward Asia
In Her Essay, Clinton Describes The Asia Pivot As Putting A Substantially Increased
Investment Diplomatic, Economic, Strategic, And Otherwise In The Asia-Pacific
Region. CLINTON: As the war in Iraq winds down and America begins to withdraw its forces from
Afghanistan, the United States stands at a pivot point. Over the last q0 years, we have allocated
immense resources to those two theaters. In the next 10 years, we need to be smart and systematic
about where we invest time and energy so that we put ourselves in the best position to sustain our
leadership secure our interests and advance our values. One of the most important tasks of American
statecraft over the next decade will therefore be to lock in a substantially increased investment
diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise in the Asia-Pacific region. (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
Op-Ed, Americas Pacific Century, Foreign Policy, 10/11/11)

The U.S. Alliance With Japan, South Korea, Australia, The Philippines And Thailand
Were Considered Crucial To The Pivot. CLINTON: Our treaty alliances with Japan, South
Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and Thailand are the fulcrum for out strategic turn to the AsiaPacific. They have underwritten regional peace and security for more than half a century, shaping the
environment for the regions remarkable economic ascent. They leverage our regional presence and
enhance our regional leadership at a time of evolving security challenges. (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, OpEd, Americas Pacific Century, Foreign Policy, 10/11/11)

But A True Pivot To The Asia-Pacific Has Never Materialized


Democrats In A Key Report Questioned The State Departments Commitment To The
Asia Pivot
A 2014 Report From The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Then Under The
Chairmanship Of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) Criticized The State Department For A
Weak Commitment To The Pivot. Nonetheless, the State Department has not substantially
increased diplomatic engagement resources to its Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
Department of Commerce staffing levels have not significantly increased, hindering the ability of U.S.
businesses to take full advantage of new prospects. U.S. development assistance to the region, which
saw a modest increase in the administrations FY2015 budget proposal, is still below levels from
several years ago, and the U.S. development approach needs updating and upgrading. (Senate Foreign

Relations Committee Majority Staff, Re-Balancing The Rebalance: Resourcing U.S. Diplomatic Strategy In The Asia-Pacific Region, Senate Committee
On Foreign Relations, 4/17/14)

The Pivot In Terms Of Tangible Military Commitments To The Region Was Seen As
Small-Scale And Symbolic
The New York Times Called The Cornerstone Of The Pivot, A New Marine
Deployment To The Region, Relatively Modest. While the new military commitment is
relatively modest, Mr. Obama has promoted it as the cornerstone of a strategy to confront more
directly the challenge posed by Chinas rapid advance as an economic and military power. (Jackie Calmes,
A U.S. Marine Base For Australia Irritates China, The New York Times, 11/16/11)

The Congressional Research Service Called The Planned Military Shift To Asia SmallScale And Largely Symbolic. That said, many od the moved the Administration has taken
and said it will undertake are relatively small-scale; even the planned deployment of 2,500 Marines to
Australia is fairly modest. Yet, cumulatively they are designed to have a large symbolic impact. (Mark E.
Manyin et al., Pivot To The Pacific? The Obama Administrations Rebalancing Toward Asia, Congressional Research Service, 3/28/12)

Obama-Clinton Defense And Aid Cuts Have Hampered The Pivot


Despite Assurances That Budget Cuts Would Not Come At The Expense Of The AsiaPacific, The Military Budget For The Area Was Cut By 5 Percent In FY 2013
In A Previous Trip To Australia, President Obama Promised That Budget Cuts Would
Not Come At The Expense Of The Asia Pacific. OBAMA: As we consider the future of our
armed forces, we've begun a review that will identify our most important strategic interests and guide
our defense priorities and spending over the coming decade. So here is what this region must
know. As we end todays wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and
mission in the Asia Pacific a top priority. As a result, reductions in U.S. defense spending will not -- I
repeat, will not -- come at the expense of the Asia Pacific. (President Obama, Remarks By President Obama To The
Australian Parliament, Canberra, Australia, 11/17/11)

The FY2013 Budget The Last While Clinton Served In The Obama Cabinet Included
A 5 Percent Decrease In Funding For East Asia And The Pacific Bilateral Assistance.
The Administrations budget request for FY2013 sends ambiguous signals. On the one hand, the
proposed budget includes a 5% decrease for East Asia and Pacific (EAP) bilateral assistance programs
below projected spending levels for FY2012. (Mark E. Manyin et al., Pivot To The Pacific? The Obama Administrations
Rebalancing Toward Asia, Congressional Research Service, 3/28/12)

Administration Officials And Defense Experts Said The Military Realignment To The
Asia-Pacific Simply Cant Happen
Assistant Secretary Of Defense For Acquisition Katrina McFarland Said The Defense
Department Was Reviewing The Pivot Because It Cant Happen. But Katrina McFarland,
assistant secretary of defense for acquisition, said the agency is now reconsidering the strategy in light
of the budget pressures it faces. Right now, the pivot is being looked at again, because candidly it
cant happen, she told Aviation Weeks Defense Technologies and Requirements conference in
Arlington, Va. (Zachary Fryer-Biggs, DOD Official: Asia Pivot Cant Happen Due To Budget Pressures, Defense News, 3/4/14)
According To A January 2014 Defense News Poll, 62 Percent of Defense Industry
Leaders Think The Pivot Cant Happen Within Current Budget Constraints. Asked if,
given the budget constraints and ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, the planned rebalance of
military assets to Asia would be affordable, 62 percent of respondents said no. (Zachary Fryer, Biggs, Poll:
Cyber Warfare Is Top Threat Facing US, Defense News, 1/5/14)

Americas Allies Are Skeptical That The Obama-Clinton Pivot Will Occur
Allies In Asia Expressed Concerns That America Would Not Follow Through On The
Pivot
Allies In The Asia Pacific Have Expressed Concerns That The United States Will Fail
To Commit To A Pivot And Will Cede Its Leadership Role To China. Mr. Obama
described the deployment as responding to the wishes of democratic allies in the region, from Japan
to India. Some allies have expressed concerns that the United States, facing war fatigue and a
slackened economy, will cede its leadership role to China. (Jackie Calmes, A U.S. Marine Base For Australia Irritates
China, The New York Times, 11/16/11)

Governments In The Asia Pacific Argued That The Obama-Clinton Foreign Policy Team
Loves To Talk About The Pivot But They Do Not Walk The Walk. The White Houses
problem is that even after years of talking about the strategic rebalance to the western Pacific, the
president and his administration still face a wall of skepticism from regional governments and critics
inside Washington. Obama and his top officials love to talk about focusing on Asia, the argument
goes, but they do not walk the walk. (Philip Ewing, Obamas Asia Pivot, A Work In Progress, Politico, 4/21/14)
Many In Asia Were Unsure If The Pivot Amounted To Much, As The The Credibility Of
The Pivot To Asia Took A Big Knock, With Some Asians Remain Unsure About
Whether The Strategic, Military Pivot Really Amounts To Much. When Barack Obama
ducked out of two summits in Indonesia and Brunei a year ago, the credibility of the pivot to Asia he
had proclaimed, giving the region greater importance in American foreign policy, took a big knock.
This month he is due to show up at back-to-back gatherings in Beijing, Naypyidaw, the capital of
Myanmar, and Brisbane in Australia, giving him a chance to hammer out the dent. It will be a
struggle. The centrepiece of the economic aspect of the pivot, a regional free-trade agreement called
the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is still not a done deal. Some Asians remain unsure about
whether the strategic, military pivot really amounts to much. (The City On The Hill, The Economist, 11/1/14)

While Clinton Was Secretary Of State, Confronting China Came Second


To Begging The Chinese To Finance Obamas Spending Spree
As A Presidential Candidate In 2008, Clinton Pledged To Immediately And
Aggressively Crack Down On Chinas Unfair Trade Practices
In April 2008, Clinton Said We Also Need To Immediately And Aggressively Crack
Down On Chinas Unfair Trade Practices. China Should Be A Trade Partner, Not A
Trade Master. CLINTON: We also need to immediately and aggressively crack down on China's
unfair trade practices. China should be a trade partner, not a trade master. I'll start with currency
manipulation. It is outrageous that China and other countries continue to manipulate their currencies
to put our goods at a disadvantage. I've already cosponsored legislation to crack down on currency
manipulation as president and I will finish the job. (Hillary Clinton, Remarks On Trade, Pittsburgh, PA, 4/14/08)
Clinton In 2006: People Around Upstate New York Are Always Asking Me, Senator
Why Can't We Get Tough On China? I Say, Well, Every Month We Have To Borrow $60
Billion, To Feed The Interest On Our Debt And Deficit. So How Do You Get Tough On
Your Banker? SEN. CLINTON: So when we are talking about trade we need to be smart about
trade. I believe in smart trade. And the deficit that we currently have, estimated at $782 billion last
year, is more than a wake up call. It's like a jet engine with a big sign - Made in China - in your living
room. And if we don't pay attention we're going to wake up in ten or fifteen years and we're going to
be behind the eight ball even more than we are now. And why is this happening? Because number
one, our deep deficit. People around upstate New York are always asking me, Senator why can't we
get tough on China? I say, well, every month we have to borrow $60 billion, to feed the interest on
our debt and deficit. Who do we borrow from? China, Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia. So how do you get
tough on your banker? Think about it, every month we have to hope the Chinese don't go invest in
something else. That is unacceptable. I'm not about to cede America's fiscal sovereignty to the
government of Beijing and the only way to get it back is to get competitive and get back to fiscal
responsibility. (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Remarks To The United Auto Workers Legislative Policy Conference, 2/8/06)
But As Secretary Of State, Clinton Repeatedly Thanked China For Buying Up U.S. Debt
Asked If She Sounds Like You Feel Forced To Pull The Punch On Chinas Currency
Manipulation, Clinton Noted As Our Government Goes Into Deeper Deficit In Order
To Fund This Stimulus, We Are Relying On The Chinese Government To Continue To
Buy Our Debt. QUESTION: That sounds like you feel forced to pull the punch. CLINTON: No,
not at all, Wyatt. You know, I think that you will hear from the Obama Administration about the
opportunities that we hope to pursue with China. But we also know that there are differences that we
have. At this moment in time, there is no difference between our joint commitment to try to work our
way through this economic crisis. And were very interdependent. You know, the Chinese economy is
very dependent on selling a lot of goods to the United States. As the United States sees increasing
unemployment and consumers are cutting back and saving more, that has a direct impact on the
Chinese economy. As our government goes into deeper deficit in order to fund this stimulus, we are
relying on the Chinese Government to continue to buy our debt. (CBS News, Interview, Tokyo, Japan, 2/17/09)
Clinton Told A Chinese Television Station That Beijing Was Making A Very Smart
Decision By Continuing To Invest In [U.S.] Treasury Bonds Because Obamas Stimulus
Package Forced The U.S. To Incur More Debt. YANG LAN: Do you think that China should
further invest into American treasury bonds? Because there is a debate here - with unclear future, we
should stop buying more. CLINTON: Well, I certainly do think that the Chinese government and the

central bank here in China is making a very smart decision by continuing to invest in treasury bonds
for two reasons. First, because it's a good investment. It's a safe investment. Even despite the
economic challenges sweeping over the world, the United States has a well-deserved financial stability
reputation. And, secondly, because our economies are so intertwined. The Chinese know that, in order
to start exporting again to its biggest market, namely, the United States, the United States has to take
some very drastic measures with this stimulus package, which means we have to incur more debt.
(Dragon TV, 2/22/09)

Clintons Efforts Worked As Chinese Holdings Of U.S. Debt Rose By Over 60 Percent
During Her Tenure As Secretary
During Clintons Tenure As Secretary Of State, The Chinese Government Increased Its
Holdings In Treasury Securities From $744.2 Billion To $1.2142 Trillion, An Increase In
63 Percent. (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 9/9/13; U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 9/9/13)
And The U.S. Trade Deficit With China Grew By Nearly $90 Billion
During Clintons Four Years As Secretary Of State, The Annual Trade Deficit With
China Increased By $89 Billion, From $226 Billion In 2009 To $315 Billion In 2012. (Trade
In Goods With China, United States Census, Accessed 7/17/14)

The Cyber Security Threat From China Has Increased Under Clinton, Resulting In The
Theft Of Billions Of Dollars Of Data
Cyber Attacks On The American Military And Defense Firms Have Increased In 2011,
With No Response From Obama. Cyber attacks on U.S. military and defense industry computer
systems are increasing, and many of the attacks are coming from China, a U.S. government
commission says. China has recognized the importance of cyber operations as a tool of warfare, the
U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission says in a report released Nov. 20. (William
Matthews, Chinese Cyber Attacks On Rise: U.S. Report, Defense News, 11/20/11)

Chinese Hackers Are Erasing The Global Advantage For American Firms. Senior U.S.
officials know well that the government of China is systematically attacking the computer networks of
the U.S. government and American corporations. Beijing is successfully stealing research and
development, software source code, manufacturing know-how and government plans. In a global
competition among knowledge-based economies, Chinese cyberoperations are eroding America's
advantage. (Richard Clarke, Op-Ed, China's Cyberassault On America, The Wall Street Journal, 6/15/11)
Approximately A Dozen Chinese Gangs Are Responsible For Most Of The Cyber Theft In
The U.S., Stealing Billions Of Dollars Of Data. As few as 12 different Chinese groups, largely
backed or directed by the government there, commit the bulk of the China-based cyberattacks stealing
critical data from U.S. companies and government agencies, according to U.S. cybersecurity analysts
and experts. (Lolita Baldor, A Few Hacker Teams Do Most China-Based Data Theft, The Associated Press, 12/12/11)
Clinton Also Infuriated Human Rights Activists By Ignoring Chinese Human Rights
Violations
During A Press Roundtable, Secretary Clinton Downplayed The Importance Of
Discussing Human Rights With China Because We Know What Theyre Going To Say.
CLINTON: Now, that doesn't mean that questions of Taiwan and Tibet and human rights, the whole
range of challenges that we often engage on with the Chinese are not part of the agenda either. But we
pretty much know what they're going to say. We know that we're going to press them to reconsider
their position about Tibetan religious and cultural freedom, and autonomy for the Tibetans and some

kind of recognition or acknowledgment of the Dalai Lama. And we know what they're going to say,
because I've had those conversations for more than a decade with Chinese leaders. And we know what
they're going to say about Taiwan and military sales, and they know what we're going to say. (Secretary
Hillary Clinton, Roundtable With The Traveling Press, Seoul, South Korea, 2/20/09)

Clinton Said Human Rights Cant Interfere With More Pressing Issues That Needed
Chinese Cooperation. CLINTON: But successive administrations and Chinese governments have
been poised back and forth on these issues, and we have to continue to press them. But our pressing
on those issues can't interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the
security crisis. We have to have a dialogue that leads to an understanding and cooperation on each of
those. (Secretary Hillary Clinton, Roundtable With Traveling Press, Seoul, South Korea, 2/20/09)

The Washington Post: Clinton Infuriated Human Rights Organizations When


She Told Reporters Friday That Human Rights Concerns Cant Interfere With
Pressing China For Greater Cooperation. Clinton, who on Sunday will complete a oneweek tour of Asia, infuriated human rights organizations when she told reporters Friday that
human rights concerns can't interfere with pressing China for greater cooperation on the
economic front, the environment and the impasse over North Korea's nuclear program. Many
advocates were especially upset because Clinton, as first lady, achieved renown in 1995 for
making a tough speech in Beijing about China's human rights record. (Glenn Kessler, U.S., China to
Focus On Slump, Climate, The Washington Post, 2/22/09)