What Actions Will Promote Better Understanding Between the U.S. and Asia?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
February 14, 2009
Lanterns in Yuyuan Garden Shanghai China

A half century ago, Asia was frozen in a cold war and wracked by poverty. As this century begins, Asia is a global economic power and a region of vital importance to the United States.

Today, Secretary Clinton said she would work with our partners in Asia to strengthen the positive transformations of the past half-century. The Secretary encouraged all Americans to provide outreach and commitments in an effort to improve the lives of both the American people and those living in Asia today.

What actions will promote better understanding between the U.S. and Asia?

Comments

Comments

William
|
Alaska, USA
February 13, 2009

William in Alaska writes:

Actions across a range of issues and among a wide component of our respective communities will benefit our mutual interests. A realisation that we have numerous interrelated concerns and responsiblities will lead us toward solutions that are transnational in effect and interdependent.

A world that is engaged in creative response will better confront challenges that are truly global in scope.

Fortunately, our economic, transportation, communication and cultural capacity provides multiple methods of working together. There is so much to accomplish. There is a public confidence that our new Secretary and her team will find opportunity within crisis.

Look forward to innovation in processes but also look within ourselves for remarkable conditions of mind. It will modify all our thought to solve these vexing community problems.

Klint
|
District Of Columbia, USA
February 13, 2009

Klint in Washington writes:

Promoting understanding is always good but things in regards to corruption, state-less people, and other problems that does occur shouldn't be ignored. Though I guess it's the highlights of things going well not just by themselves but cooperatively that help things a lot better.

Maybe online -- offer a more 'interests' type version of the CIA World Factbook (which is straight basic stats) for each country where there is an Embassy. From general views, things to learn, services that Americans might find useful (similar to the guidebook that the U.S. Embassy in London puts out).

And then...create based on U.S. States, territories that U.S. Dept. of State employees are from...do an interest write up, local fairs, recipes..etc. Perhaps do these in a kind of newsletter blog form (that way when things are added - style isn't too much of a worry) for each country, U.S. state,
- -
Maybe when a foreign VIP is visiting, instead of having them go to DC have them go to some random fair or celebration in whatever State (where a U.S. Dept of State VIP (or semi-VIP muhahaha) would also attend) to give them a different view of actual Americana.

More foreign govt. inter agency training (concentrated through U.S. State Dept/Embassies) in regards to agencies that deal with the pacific rim type countries. Be they military, law enforcement, business, environmental, to even agricultural. Perhaps try to get some training that is normally done in CONUS to be done in Asia (to help reduce cost to interested Asian counterparts) or perhaps offer tele-commute training through Embassies or bases to those in CONUS training sites.
- -
Perhaps try to get U.S. State schools and Pacific Rim schools to communicate and perhaps create local news sharing projects and funnel their works through U.S. State Dept.

I wonder if regional Voice of America is on Twitter also.

Cara
|
Kentucky, USA
February 14, 2009

Cara in Kentucky writes:

I love Klint's suggestion of sharing more of our country with visiting foreign diplomats, spreading a wider world view of American Life, as well as the suggestion of broadening the "official" publication of stats to include experiential and interest-based information.

Just sharing my official "second" of Klint's ideas! :)

Deepa
|
Kentucky, USA
February 14, 2009

Deepa in Kentucky writes:

I think that the best way to promote understanding is through the citizens of our countries and not just the leaders. This should be done by promoting cultural exchange, informational exchange, professional partnerships, and other types connections. Asian countries are so rich in culture and thought that America would be missing out if we didn't take the opportunity to connect with them.

So, I think the state department should take a more active role in promoting the free exchange of artists, scientists, professionals, students, etc. between the Asian countries and our own.

Daniel
|
Arizona, USA
February 14, 2009

Daniel in Arizona writes:

The use of high profile Americans such as Secretary Clinton and special envoys and not low dignitaries will show Asian countries that they are important and not a mere after thought.

Reg C.
|
France
February 14, 2009

Reg in France writes:

There is one very powerful action the United States could take to improve understanding with Asia. It would help the United States rebuild its economy, in the bargain:

Start behaving as responsible adults in the upcoming world trade negotiations over the Doha Development Agenda. And, of course, I am referring to what everybody calls the "Doha round."

The conduct of the United States in the Doha Development Agenda talks, within the framework of the World Trade Organization, for the last eight years has been shameful, reckless and appalling. It is time for the United States to stop behaving as a pariah and come to the negotiating table with good faith and credible proposals.

I believe there is now an opportunity for a new beginning. I hope the administration of President Barack Obama will take full advantage of it. But there is not a moment to lose. Swiss Economic Minister Doris Leuthard said off-stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos that WTO ministerial meetings on the Doha Development Agenda could resume in April.

The 2008 round collapsed after the U.S. came to the table with a proposal that was an insult to everyone present.

Susan Schwab, the U.S. trade representative, said the United States would be willing to cap its farm subsidies at $15 billion a year, in return for India and Brazil going along with provisions that the United States wanted.

Because the U.S. agricultural sector has been so profitable in recent years, that would have represented an $8 billion a year INCREASE in actual farm subsidies. At that time the actual U.S. spending to increase U.S. farm production was, in fact, $7 billion dollars a year.

So, to gain important concessions from India and Brazil, the U.S. was asking to lock-in forever the right to INCREASE by $8 billion a year subsidies to U.S. agribusiness companies, including multinational giants such as Archer Daniel Midlands, Bunge Limited, Cargill Inc. and Corn Products International.

The only purpose the United States could have had for making such an arrogant and pathetic gesture was to wreck the negotiations. They succeeded in wrecking them. The talks collapsed.

Don't blame this all on the legendary power of the U.S. farm lobby. The U.S. farm lobby is powerful, as it has every right to be. But it is not stupid to the point of being suicidal.

Fairly soon, possibly as soon as two to three years from now, America's farmers going to be in desperate need of alcohol- and vegetable oil-based biofuels from the undeveloped nations, just to keep themselves in the farming business. This is not the time for the U.S. to pick stupid fights with its trading partners, particularly those with undeveloped and underdeveloped economies.

True, world energy demand and supply are now expected to remain relatively balanced through the end by 2010. But do not be lulled into complacency. After that, the most savage energy crisis the world could possibly imagine awaits us all.

I refer you to the International Energy Agency (IEA) at this URL:

http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/

"World Energy Outlook 2008: Even with demand static over next 22 years, four new Saudi Arabias needed to make up decline in existing oil fields."

You can read it for yourselves. For the sake of itself, and the entire world, the United States must assume a thoughtful and well-considered leadership role in the World Trade Organization's negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda.

Do you think that will be a difficult challenge?

Will it be any easier when, some time after 2010, America's gas pumps are showing $6 a gallon for diesel and $8 a gallon for gasoline?

Zharkov
|
United States
February 14, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

The answer is obvious. China is reluctant to invest further in U.S. debt instruments unless there is a guarantee of maintaining dollar value, because they have already lost billions of dollars and are unwilling to lose any more. Premier Wen Jiabao said last month his government's strategy for investing would focus on safeguarding the value of China's $1.95 trillion foreign reserves.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Jiang Yu said yesterday that talks with Clinton would cover bilateral relations, the financial crisis and international affairs, according the Xinhua news agency. Yu said, "China should diversify its reserves away from U.S. Treasuries if the value of China's foreign-exchange reserves is in danger of being inflated away by the U.S. government's pump-priming."

So Mrs. Clinton will be expected to offer assurances that the dollar will increase in strength, and if she fails to do so, China will begin to back away slowly from U.S. investment.

Mr. Obama will likely agree to Mrs. Clinton offering some kind of assurance, but can he perform such a miracle in the face of his own runaway bailout debauchery of our currency? I think not. Chinese economists are skeptical and it is Chinese money we are gambling with in these multiple bailouts and panic spending.

Anyway, if we want to remain friends with the Chinese, they gave us the answer -- increase the value of the dollar and reduce our irresponsible spending.

The correct way to "prime the pump" is to reduce taxation, not print more currency.

Businesses spend more on advertising, create jobs, and sell goods and services when taxes are lower. The Chinese know that works because that is how China became a spectacular success.

Hong Kong's tax rate was the model for any country wishing to have a booming economy. It is our pathetic Congress that forgot simple economics. Congress can't bother to read the stuff they vote upon. They may as well be illiterate if they won't read the laws they enact.

It's no surprise that the Chinese are worried. They should be very worried. They've handed their life savings to people who can't save any money themselves.

xander
|
Netherlands
February 14, 2009

Xander in the Netherlands writes:

Asia works in a different way as the U.S. and Europe. Businesses are run in a very different way and state politics are viewed upon by people in a way we first world citizens have long since abondoned..... For instance the Chinese. It's system is something we might reject, but the country and it's people become to full bloom.

This makes Asia a very powerfull and new "player". The U.S. might try to understand the differences and learn to live with it instead of denounce it.

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
February 14, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

1. First and foremost, what are you refering to...the question is too vast.

WHY? The problems and associations are with 44 different countries which incorporate ASIA...Asia:
Afghanistan, Kabul
Armenia, Yerevan
Azerbaijan, Baku
Bahrain, Manama
Bangladesh, Dhaka
Bhutan, Thimphu
British Indian Ocean Territory (overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Brunei, Bandar Seri Begawan
Cambodia, Phnom Penh
China, People's Republic of, Beijing
China, Republic of (commonly known as Taiwan), Taipei
Christmas Island (overseas territory of Australia)
Cocos (Keeling) Islands (overseas territory of Australia)
Cyprus, Nicosia
Georgia, Tbilisi
Hong Kong (special administrative region of the People's Republic of China)
India, New Delhi
Indonesia, Jakarta
Iran, Tehran
Iraq, Baghdad
Israel, Jerusalem
Japan, Tokyo
Jordan, Amman
Kazakhstan, Astana
Korea, Democratic People's Republic of (commonly known as North Korea), Pyongyang
Korea, Republic of (commonly known as South Korea), Seoul
Kuwait, Kuwait City
Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek
Laos, Vientiane
Lebanon, Beirut
Laos, Vientiane
Lebanon, Beirut
Macau (special administrative region of the People's Republic of China)
Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur (seat of government at Putrajaya)
Maldives, Mal
Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar
Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), Naypyidaw
Nepal, Kathmandu
Oman, Muscat
Pakistan, Islamabad
Palestinian territories (collectively the territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip)
Philippines, Manila
Qatar, Doha
Saudi Arabia, Riyadh
Singapore, Singapore (city-state)
Sri Lanka, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte
Syria, Damascus
Tajikistan, Dushanbe
Thailand, Bangkok
Timor-Leste (commonly known as East Timor), Dili
Turkey, Ankara
Turkmenistan, Ashgabat
United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi
Uzbekistan, Tashkent
Vietnam, Hanoi
Yemen, Sana'a

Can you be more specific? Many are our Friends, but the culture, economic and security issues vary greatly.

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
February 14, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Economic: Since President Obama has recognized this is our number one priority even here in the U.S.:

Japan, in the late 90s made the first open negative statements regarding the U.S. in more than one symposium. They blamed the downfall of the "lost decade" on U.S. trade with China; thus, resulting in great economic loss which they felt violated our many trade agreements. South Korea took the same stance. Other than the Auto trade agreements, our outsourcings to countries which are not in the smaller Asian Theaters have had a negative overall economic impact. Japan is especially hit hard right now:

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-business/economic-gloom-to-test-tok...

How the U.S.A. can offset their situation with a more secure economic outlook would come first.

The Russian-Sino Accord. The economic and military threat that it represented to the region put immense pressure on the area which the US addressed by increasing the Nuclear umbrella, but did little to address it otherwise. This has resulted in many free trade agreements to both Russia and China. The China-Japan Free trade agreement, which offset the SAARC agreement, out of necessity, is reshaping East Asia economically. This can impact our productivity in the long run with Investments into the US. Why build in America if you can manufacture in China as well?

The list of Free Trade agreements is too long to review individually; but, is the backbone of how we maintained a realistic bond with Asian interest initially. We WERE the benefactor originally.

While I understand it is not the U.S. Government that alienated many of our Asian allies (disregarding the Philippine conflicts), the countries view lack of control over our Corporate investments in the Free Market system as either a weakness of the Government to control, or a direct lack of sincerity by the U.S. Government involving their stability by proxy. This can be found in the many editorials against the U.S. policies throughout Asia.

I dare say, it is the U.S.A. who much attempt to gain support of these countries now as the power structure has changed dramatically. This is well represented by our current economic crisis and externalizing of more Asian investments to China, India and Russia, by many Asian investors versus making American investments now. Just being a military power is not enough, which Russia proved long ago.

If they can now stay in the middle ground and maintain stability to profit their countries, what is the benefit in taking sides with any one country?

We outsourced the life blood of economics to the enemies of democracy and now have the resulting problems. I think we need to identify our priorities and goals first in the U.S.

China is the largest problem in ASIA as Free Trade is not equal or free and Russia has their energy needs.

li
|
China
February 15, 2009

Li in China writes:

I want a friend of america.

Wendy
|
California, USA
February 15, 2009

Wendy in California writes:

There is no way to overstate the meaning of respect everywhere of course, but especially perhaps in Asia. 20 years ago a friend told me that in Japan there were seven levels of respect, courtesy, formality and added wryly that he was always on the wrong one, tho he was forgiven because he was trying.

I think every diplomat in State (& everyone in Defense & in the U.S.A.) should be issued or re-issued that old but timeless little treasure, *The Silent Language* by Edward T. Hall. It demonstrates how often we blunder like bulls in cultural china shops busting up the crockery, oblivious.

Having the discipline to maintain respect shows maturity and strength. Our beloved country is still learning this.

I think 98% of focus should be on what mutual challenges and solutions we both share and intra-share regionally. I would cite and re-cite their triumphs or progresses in any direction which leads to a more beautyfull & bountyfull planet. (I think we will in some centurys chuck the notion of nations and talk of neighborhoods instead. We are all kin under the skin.)

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 15, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I too am puzzled by the nature of the question's generality, when this question has already been answered:

http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2009a/02/117333.htm

I suppose we could debate specific actions targeting common issues affecting nations, but in the broad context what I see as developed policy has resulted in some very positive trends and the actions taken to produce them are not what's up for debate (as they have worked) within the review process the Obama admin. is in process of conducting now in all aspects of foreign policy.

We can discus "best practices", with approach to specifics, but if you want a simple answer to the broad question in question, I'll just add to the Secretary's comments that:

"Attitude is everything."

Li in China has one that is conducive to better understanding, and will no doubt be reciprocated on the official level within U.S. government.

So, proceed accordingly.

Zharkov
|
United States
February 15, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

If one reads the question in connection with Mrs. Clinton's current travel schedule, it will make more sense.

China is not the only part of Asia investing in the U.S. and none of them want to lose their investment.

Maintaining the exchange value of the dollar is their primary concern. If they lose their dollars through hyper-inflation in the U.S., all the respect in the world will not improve our image in their eyes.

Talking nicely while stabbing Asians in the back by destroying our dollar along with our economy doesn't win friends.

Terry
|
Connecticut, USA
February 15, 2009

Terry in Connecticut writes:

China is a country with over a billion people so any country that big needs a good relation with us. Keep us posted on Secretary Hillary Clinton's travels. Looking forward to more videos and pics of her trip.

William
|
Maryland, USA
February 15, 2009

William in Maryland writes:

The 'Asian development miracle' occurred to no small extent because of the contributions of Peace Corps Volunteers who were able to bring to thousands of small villages and towns through-out Asia the real face of American culture and spirit.

I am concerned, although very early in the administration that has created hope for changed US policies all over the world, that the role of PEACE CORPS is receiving so little mention.

Secretary Clinton, please begin to actively promote and advocate for 16,000 PCVs in the field by FY11. This will require a new, bigger, bolder, better model for recruitment and volunteer placement than has been used for the last 48 years. Not that a 24 month placement, combined with a 3 month orientation hasn't been effective. It has!

Look to the long-list of countries that frequently requested PCVs, but have not been able to get them fielded because of internal PC budget shortages.

Look to the technology improvement and access to the internet that field volunteers need to have. Many technologies developed on US university campuses with DOD funding have civilian applications that can save lives and bring prosperity, health and educational improvements. Give PCVs access to these in cooperation with State and USAID.

Howard
|
New York, USA
February 15, 2009

Howard in New York writes:

With regards to China, we need to do a better job of making sure that Chinese citizens understand that we don't mean them any insult when we criticize their government. We're obviously not doing a very good job of communicating this, as it seems to offend individual Chinese citizens when we question the practices of their government.

Kenneth
|
Michigan, USA
February 16, 2009

Kenneth in Michigan writes:

I just hope that the US does not turn it's back on and old and trusted friend like Thailand, after 175 years of Solid support for the US. They are feeling slighted after not being included in your Asia trip. (Bangkok Post Article in Opinion section dated Monday February 16 2009. What are friends for?)

Zod
|
Canada
February 16, 2009

Zod in Canada writes:

From one Hill's Angel to another, I'd like to see local Telco authority squashed in favor of some real police movement on phony charge and swipe card operators. Where is the money going if it just appears in Chinese currency on the street and then disappears into the pocket of sex traffickers, business software pirates and those who upend the authority of the Food and Drug Administration.

Chul-hong
|
South Korea
February 16, 2009

Chul-hong in South Korea writes:

In the Cold War era, Washington and Moscow competed over holding the hegemony in Asia.

Big Two attempted expanding their "influence" (a diplomatic word for pressure) in every corner of the world, especially in Asia.

The collapse of Soviet Union appeared to be the end of the Cold War era, however, the termination of Vietnam War and the Washington's diplomatic establishment with Beijing should be considered, I think, as the ultimate end of the Cold War era.

In my opinion, Washington's major role in Asia has shifted from the greatest "influence" to [the competent mediator] since the Cold War era passed.

Washington has kept initiatives (or key mediator) in 6 party-talks comprised of Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, Pyongyang and Moscow.

The peaceful solution over territorial dispute between New Delhi and Islamabad is partly dependent on Washington's mediation.

In order to keep its status as a mediator, Washington had better embody its [transparent] policy -- for example, promoting human rights and democracy -- on Asia, which would give its [trust] to reasonable Asian nations.

T.J
|
United Kingdom
February 16, 2009

T.J. in the United Kingdom writes:

I did not finish my comments for the last topic.

Dear Joe;
Re:-

5. There is no Cultural War in reality. There are only differences established in perspective from culture and the histology. The change has begun: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ixeFBxfLzaSjs8Mb8cuFmt...

It is good to read the News and be aware of the goings on. However, please be aware that, the News from Iran is very very far from the truth. There is a constant Cat and Mouse game to distract the masses in process with no end in sight.

Khatami is a Mullah and part of this game in essence. There were many crime against the Iranian people committed during his previous terms in office. The covert Nuclear activity was started during his time too. All he did was to sweet talk and deceive the people by his empty promises.

I hope you have heard of "Punch and Judy show". That is exactly what takes place in Iran.

In reality, the President has no power. He is the mouthpiece of the regime led by the Supreme leader -- Khamenei. The voting system is a farce and the winner pre- elected and the whole show is to occupy the minds of the Democratic World and ease and distract the likely pressure from a tyrant and corrupt regime.

The Economy is in the hands of a Mafia like Clan of Mullahs and their proxies.

The Iranian people ARE the real victims while the free World is watching the show.

I must remind you that, while the U.S. has been exerting pressure on the Mullah to behave itself, the Europeans have been busy trading with the Mullahs regime and ignoring its conduct.

Finally, in my opinion, a good Mullah is a **** Mullah.

Teri B.
|
Alabama, USA
February 16, 2009

Teri B. in Alabama writes:

International Women's Day is March 8th. Women around the world have celebrated this day since in the early 1900's, yet in the U.S. women have hardly heard of it. We are hardly equal, but too many of us take for granted the strides we have made, and do not show enough support for the struggles of our sisters around the world.

I encourage the Pres. Obama, the First Lady, and Secretary Clinton to bring attention to International Women's Day, so that women around the world can unite in celebration of women and in common purpose for women's equality, safety, and opportunity.

http://www.internationalwomensday.com/about.asp

Zod
|
Canada
February 18, 2009

Zod in Canada writes:

I wonder who is manning the local press pool feed here in T2 where we get glimpses of Hill disembarking the plane and watch as Kenobi-san or whomever is lined up radioing Bayjang with the triple and quadruple nods. 9Mhz 12:14.

Adam
|
Illinois, USA
February 16, 2009

Adam in Illinois writes:

While upholding human rights is something to which every nation should aspire, the definition of this concept is highly subjective and determined within the context of a nation's social and cultural norms. To apply a blanket definition and standard to all cultures is both obtuse and counterproductive. Using the cause of human rights as leverage against Asian nations such as China, whose legitimately differing interpretations of the concept may spring from practical and logistical limitations, does nothing to further our interests, nor those of China nor the cause of human rights in general.

Zharkov
|
United States
February 16, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Tax competition between nations is a healthy thing, the same as it would be with trade competition between corporations. Where competition exists, businesses become more efficient and so can governments.

Each nation should compete to have the lowest tax rates and thereby each government would have an incentive to become the most efficient government, which would result in the winner attaining the highest standard of living and the least unemployment.

When the Hong Kong tax rate was 10%, Hong Kong had the strongest growth and a booming economy. Estonia had one of the lowest tax rates in the region and before the current recession had the most thriving economy in Eastern Europe. When people and businesses have more money to spend, they spend it wisely and their economies show growth.

High tax rates are a drag on the economy by removing money needed to do research on new technologies, build new factories, and hire new university graduates.

Increased spending alone cannot help when the increased revenue is quickly removed by increased taxation in the form of a progressive income tax, which forms a feedback loop that renders the economy increasingly unstable as oscillations of higher spending and higher taxes eventually kill off even the most profitable businesses.

Betting one's life savings on the Obama Bailout is the position Asia finds itself today. Japan, China, and other nations buying U.S. debt instruments are taking a terrible risk because our government cannot work its way out of bankruptcy by throwing Asian money at our domestic problems.

America's economic problems were created by America's government - our tax structure invites our most productive companies to leave the country and produce elsewhere; our environmental regulations hinder new companies wanting to build factories; our labor regulations make it impossible to compete with unregulated labor overseas. We have committed national financial suicide by our own hands.

It is up to Congress to fix this, not Asia, and thus far, Congress isn't interested. When our Asian friends see us fix our problems, they will listen to us. Normal people do not take financial advice from bankrupts. Once we are solvent again, if that ever happens, that action alone will convice Asian leaders that we know what we are doing.

Ben B.
|
Alabama, USA
February 16, 2009

Ben B. in Alabama writes:

The best way to promote understanding between the U.S. and Asia is for both parties to be aware of and appreciate each others' pasts and cultural differences. American schools teach American history and its ties to several different European countries but for the most part leaves out the Far East, and Africa for that matter. Not only does this cause a breach of understanding but also leaves a hole in Asian-Americans and African-Americans' sense of self.

Ole
|
New York, USA
February 16, 2009

Ole in New York writes:

Accomodating enemies of democracy in the long run serves noone--except for those enemies. we've had 'peaceful coexistence' with Soviet Union, that resulted in them invading a country after a country. U.S. needs to take a principled stand on issues of human rights, and make further development of economic cooperation with countries like China, Russia, Iran dependent on those issues. for all problems between U.S.A. and Japan, they are of principially different kind than those we have with China or Russian Federation. i believe it was a blunder, albeit served at the time as a great success of American diplomacy, when Nixon-Kissinger administration 'normalized' relations with Beijing, switching recognition from Taiwan to Commujist mainland regime. without it, that regime would've collapsed in a few years, just like USSR collapsed; but since we didn't have patience or insight in top echelons of our country's elite at the time, and further rushed into every littlest business opportunity when Den Xiaoping's reforms started, we essentially threw a lifeline to what is one of the most criminal regimes in history. China need to free political prisoners, establish multi-party system, stop supporting thugs like Mugabe, Chavez, Karimov of Uzbekistan, Lukashenko of Belarus etc. we should make it clear, that their, as well as Japan's, Vietnam's, Korea's and other Asian countries' economic successes are due to learning and emulating Western model, rather than to sticking to their traditional, or what's passed (often falsely) as their traditional ways of life. Traditions are one thing, corruption, abuse, genocide -- totally different, and we should not turn a blind eye to them, lest people see Americans as utter hypocrites. Secretary Clinton herself put it very well back in 1995, i believe, when she said in a speech, that abuse of women and chikdren, for instance, is not cultural-- it's CRIMINAL. in particular, what is done to Falungong members is criminal -- note that this movement itself originally was an offshoot of Chinese Communist Party, so this just goes to show the cruelty of the regime, if it does such things to its former protegees. for all local diferences, there's more that unifies all of humanity, than divides, and China and other Asian countries should be no exception. once all nations are on the same page politically, sharing same basic concepts, values etc., economic cooperation will work itself out perfectly. I see no problem with economically mighty China, but i see all problems with oppressive regime taking credit for what is not its merit, and moreover using it to further its criminal agenda. And Mr. Kim John Mentally Ill needs to be finally taken to task for starving millions of his countrymen to death, while collecting foreign cars and building nuclear bombs.

We also need to support the push for democracy in still Russian-dominated states of Central Asia. people of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan etc. deserve full democracy, rather than Soviet-bred ideologically bleak reactionary dictatorships backed up by Russian guns, that they have currently. contrary to what some have been saying for years, Russia is not a buffer from islamism in this region-- its the reason for it; and if we extend helping hand to those peoples, aiding them in achieving full democracy, they will undoubtedly be able to build successful states; most definitely, more chance of it in such case, than under continued affiliation with Kremlin.

Speaking of Russia, i believe we should have a plan prepared for every possible turn of events there, including for what looks like a permanent latent possibility, albeit usually balked at by everybody, of that country's disintegration into several smaller entities. the notion that we need Russia to stave off islamism is false, for it creates it. the notion that we need their help bringing peace to Middle East, Africa, solving Iran nuclear issue, is equally false, for Kremlin is interested in those conflicts' continuation ,rather than solution ,especially the longer U.S. fails to succeed in solving them, for every such US failure presents opening for Putin & Co. I believe it was a mistake to unequivocally support Yeltsin when he disbanded Russian parliament in 1993, for it set the country back on its liong-running despotical path, and ultimately produced the headache that we call Vladimir Putin. tyranny at home breeds aggression abroad, and we saw that very clearly last August in Russian-Georgian war. thus, it seems that continued existence of overcentralized Russian political entity is a source of permanent threat to peace in the world, rather than a factor helping bring it. split-up into a dozen smaller, localized states might be lesser of evils, and in any case should be seen as a possibility. shall it happen, we need to be in touch with the local elites in Russian regions, perhaps prepare a plan for bailout of nuclear arsenals they will come to possess.

Hyun-Joo
|
South Korea
February 17, 2009

Hyun-Joo in South Korea writes:

Dear to Secretary Clinton.

i don`t know Secretary Clinton. and you too..

but,

i just say, "welcome to visit to Korea".

Asia? having plenty of opportunity. and also have risk.
(problem is some are lack and not realize of duty)

and thank you...

Daron
|
Singapore
February 17, 2009

Daron in Singapore writes:

Depending on what is meant by Asia, there would be a number of answers to the stated question.

In Northeast Asia, nothing is of greater importance than the six-party talks. Keep them going. Add more issues. Make everyone feel like they are getting something out of it. Don't take sides.

In Southeast Asia, ASEAN is going to be a very powerful force in the next few decades. They have their own stated issues and objectives. Helping ASEAN to meet their goals can be mutually beneficial.

In South Asia, India is the center. It is comparatively stable and progressive in light of every country it borders. We must help India to be a stronger, cleaner, and more just place. A strong India can help stabilize its neighbors. This isn't about taking sides. This is about helping the people best able to help others.

Further, task forces should be created for the multinational human rights problems of sex workers, North Korean refugees, extreme sweatshop conditions, access to clean water, etc. These are the hearts and minds issues. The Peace Corp can play a role. We should all play a role.

Then there is what the actual governments want: economic progress. China especially is a bit of a hard liner on this. For these we need to see which projects are good for everyone. For instance, my hometown of St. Louis can be hurt by Chinese steel production, but it will benefit greatly if Chinese airlines make a hub out of its airport or partner with its universities.

Marcia
|
Connecticut, USA
February 17, 2009

Marcia in Connecticut writes:

The U.S. has the United Nations, Europe NATO, enter into a Global agreement to construct a United Nations East complex which concentrates on Climate and third world issues. The Olympics brought China into our living rooms, we should continue to engage while remembering they are still Communist China. the construction of an international building in China would allow additional foreign press coverage and give china a steak in climate change issues.

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