The latest issue (November 2011) of the U.S. Foreign Policy magazine published a “masterpiece” by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “America’s Pacific Century.” In the article, Hillary Clinton claimed that the Asia-Pacific has become the “key driver of global politics,” that “the future of politics will be decided in Asia,” and that “one of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will therefore be to lock in a substantially increased investment … in the Asia-Pacific region” to “sustain our leadership, secure our interests, and advance our values” in the 21st Century.
Hillary also proposed a detailed strategy of “forward-deployed” diplomacy to reach the goal of “Asia-Pacific leader” in the next decade. It included the so-called “six key lines of action:” “strengthening bilateral security alliances, deepening our working relationships with emerging powers, including with China; engaging with regional multilateral institutions; expanding trade and investment; forging a broad-based military presence; and advancing democracy and human rights.”
Among all the U.S.’s major announcements on its Asia-Pacific policy in the more than 60 years since World War II, the only documents that are comparable to Hillary’s “masterpiece” in its significance are former Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s lengthy speech at the National Press Club in January 1950 and President Nixon’s Guam speech in 1969.
In the first speech, due to the fact that the founding of the new China caused a revolutionary power shift in Asia, Acheson intended to create a “wedge” between the Soviet Union and China. In the second speech, because of the aggressive offensive that the Soviet Union launched in the Asia-Pacific and the difficult situation where the U.S. was bogged down in the Vietnam War, Nixon called upon China to establish an anti-Soviet alliance.
Now, a decade after “9.11,” against the backdrop of the accelerated rise of the Asia-Pacific and China, the day-by-day decline of American power, and the mushrooming of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in the U.S., Hillary is following the steps of her predecessors and beginning to create a new “Asia-Pacific Dream.” However, compared to her predecessors, Hillary’s “Asia-Pacific Dream” is farther away from reality.
First of all, like her predecessors, Hillary has repeatedly stressed that the U.S. will continue its “leadership” in Asia and the world, saying, “The region is eager for our leadership and our business — perhaps more so than at any time in modern history.” However, she did not mention how many and who are and who are not eager for this “American leadership.” In fact, in Asia as well as the entire world, where sovereign equality, peace, and development are the themes, no single country needs a world “leader” who is like a “colonial Governor.” Her so-called “leadership” is synonymous with world hegemony and a fig leaf for U.S. hegemony. In the 21st Century, Clinton has stubbornly clung to this fig leaf. How far she is away from the reality of the Asia-Pacific and the world!
Second, in the “six key lines of action” of Hillary’s “forward-deployed diplomacy,” the main objective is to develop a so-called “trans-Pacific partnership and a network of institutions,” while strengthening its traditional “security alliances” and establishing “working relationships” with emerging powers. The strategy involves dividing the Asia-Pacific countries into different classes: Japan, South Korea, Australia, and other traditional allies in the first class; India, Indonesia, and other countries that are close to the United States in the second-class; Vietnam, Mongolia, Malaysia, and other countries in the third class; China may be in the fourth class; North Korea, Burma, and others may be at the bottom. Although there are huge differences between Asia-Pacific countries, they are all committed to the revival of Asia, with ever growing interdependence, as regional integration continues to advance. Hillary still subscribes to an inherent hegemonic hierarchic thinking and a Cold War mentality since she classifies Asia-Pacific countries in an attempt to re-engage in the old game of “divide and conquer.” This thinking is far from the reality of the Asia-Pacific today.
Third, Hillary once again waved the banners of “democracy,” “human rights,” “values,” and “free enterprise” to promote the superiority of the American model. With the economic downturn in the U.S. and the West, the American model has been much criticized. While the “Occupy Wall Street” movement is sweeping through the nation, peddling the American model to the Asia-Pacific not only diverges from reality, it is also dishonest.
Finally, like Acheson, Nixon, and others, what Hillary touts as the U.S.’s “new policy” for the Asia-Pacific also highlights shouting out loud at China. The number of words that directly target China exceeds the sum of all the words directed toward the rest of the Asia-Pacific countries. Although some are attractive, such as “…a thriving China is good for America,” more are focused on pressuring China to meet “high standards” and “rigid requirements,” such as “transparency in military activities,” “allowing its currency to appreciate more rapidly,” “U.S. firms want fair opportunities to export to China’s growing markets,” “advancing democracy and human rights,” all in an attempt to include China in America’s Asia-Pacific “network.” Today this particularly deviates from reality as China is rapidly rising.
It has been a long-term problem that U.S. policy makers dream of leading the world while they are detached from reality.
Today, Hillary is filling a new bottle with old wine. Her carefully hatched “Asia-Pacific Dream” has lost all touch with reality and will eventually fail.
 Foreign Policy, “America’s Pacific Century,” November 2011.
 Globe, “Hillary’s ‘Asia-Pacific Dream,’” October 26, 2011.