You might not hear it on CNN, or on Fox, or on MSNBC, but one of America’s most important transitions in foreign policy is taking place right under the nose of the media, the pivot to Asia. Obama already announced that his administration would be pivoting towards Asia as early as in his first term. However, that’s not too exciting for the bombastic news reports the American people are used to.
Besides, who wants the same degree of excitement to be copied from the Middle-East? Given that China, India and Pakistan all have nuclear weapons and common territorial disputes, perhaps keeping a low-profile in this pivot would be the best idea rather than invade countries and change regimes, as was done in the Middle East. Recently the leaders of the Arab Gulf countries quasi-attended Obama’s summit at Camp David because of his seemingly dangerous rapprochement towards Iran which will be sealed in a nuclear deal.
What probably goes around the mind of most of the American’s officials minds is “why care about Arab theocracies when Asia has the largest and most rapidly expanding market?” The main pull factor towards Asia has been the rise of China, which has made the Chinese economy larger than that of the US in terms of purchasing parity. Furthermore, China has established the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which has absorbed 57 countries, including many allies, into its newly-formed financial sphere of influence.
And what was America, the sole superpower, doing in the meantime? Spreading freedom and democracy around the Middle-East: a strategic gaffe. There is a very silvery silver lining for the US, which is that, unlike China, it has what seems to be endless and growing supply of allies (new additions include India & Vietnam). So the realization from the Obama administration that their true interests require more attention for Asia has worried the Gulf leaders. This is why Saudi Arabia suddenly decided that it would unilaterally flood the oil market, while at the same time giving a hard blow to oil-producing competitors.