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Wednesday 21 Feb 2018 | 06:10 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 21 Feb 2018 | 06:10 | SYDNEY

McCain's Asia op-ed



28 May 2008 11:53

This McCain-Lieberman op-ed on US Asia policy is worth your time, I guess, particularly in light of the debate Hugh White and I conducted some time back on whether a President John McCain would be good for Australia. Hugh endorsed McCain on the grounds that he would be best placed of the candidates to reach a modus vivendi with China. The passage on China in the op-ed is pretty carefully balanced to appeal to China hawks and moderates, so gives little away as to what McCain might do in office:

The U.S. shares common interests with China that can form the basis of a strong partnership on issues of global concern, including climate change, trade and proliferation. But China's rapid military modernization, mercantilist economic practices, lack of political freedom and close relations with regimes like Sudan and Burma undermine the very international system on which its rise depends. The next American president must build on the areas of overlapping interest to forge a more durable U.S.-China relationship. Doing so will require strong alliances with other Asian nations and a readiness to speak openly with Beijing when it fails to behave as a responsible stakeholder.

The section on North Korea takes a rather asinine and partisan swipe at the Obama pledge to negotiate with America's adversaries. And there's almost nothing in the piece about Southeast Asia, which tends to be a typical US blind spot. Then there's a passage about how democracy and human rights are universal truths, closely followed by a passage saying that America is at its best when willing to be persuaded that others are right. Presumably, the democracy and human rights stuff is embargoed from that kind of persuasion.

I did like the commitment to freer trade.

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