China Wins As ‘US Neglects Region’ – Greg Sheridan

Richard Armitage, the former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, has blasted the Bush administration for its exclusive focus on Iraq and neglect of Asia. From the Australian:

“In every measure, China is making real hay right throughout Asia,” said Richard Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state under President George W. Bush.

“It’s not that we’re ignoring Asia a little bit; we’re ignoring it totally. We’re playing foreign policy at the moment like five-year-olds play soccer, everyone is going after the ball at once rather than covering the whole field.

“Right now, we’re just so preoccupied with Iraq that we’re ignoring Asia totally.”

…Mr Armitage said there was a danger, but not yet a great danger, of Chinese leadership in Asia surpassing that of the US. He said he was aware of the Chinese military build-up and wanted the Chinese to exhibit more transparency in their military actions, but he did not yet think it was destabilising the region.

However, he said that China’s rationale for its military build-up had changed. “At first the Chinese explained it as needed to deal with the Taiwan scenario. But they’ve passed that point and now they talk about the need to protect their oil sources, they won’t sub-contract out protection of the high seas to the (US) Seventh Fleet.” [Full text]

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