America in decline or simply the return to a multipolar world?By Asia Sentinel Oct 06, 2013 10:57AM UTC
The US is not in decline. China takes over the multipolar spot vacated by the former Soviet Union, writes Khanh Vu Duc for Asia Sentinel
The consequences of the US government shutdown have not only had an impact on the wellbeing of the American people but the nation’s commitments abroad, harming the country’s image.
Thus far, President Barack Obama has been forced to cancel an important trip to Asia with stops in Malaysia, the Philippines and Bali for the APEC Summit, leaving the door open for China to fill the void – which Chinese President Xi Jinping is working on assiduously with his current trip to Indonesia.
Moreover, if this shutdown should continue, at risk will be America’s pivot to the Asia-Pacific and its participation in shaping the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, to say nothing of its recent attempts to strengthen relations with regional countries.
However, although the US is preoccupied with its domestic affairs, this should not be taken by its allies and partners abroad as willful neglect. Honoring obligations and executing foreign policy is difficult when one’s house is on fire, and the first order of business for President Obama must be getting Congress in order and the federal government back to work.
If anything, the crisis in Washington will fuel talk of an America in decline. Much is made about this being the twilight years of the US. The government shutdown has contributed handily to this narrative in depicting a nation so politically fractured that it has been forced to stop working.
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