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More on Ashton Carter's rebalance speech

More on Ashton Carter's rebalance speech
Published 9 Apr 2015   Follow @SamRoggeveen

My Tuesday piece criticising US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's speech on the US rebalance caught the attention of CSIS's Bonnie Glaser and Ely Ratner from CNAS:

I can see Ely's point. Trade liberalisation is a notoriously hard sell in the US Congress, so the Obama Administration has to pitch the TPP to a domestic audience as a win for American standards and interests, which is what Carter did in his speech. And the stakes could not be higher for the Administration; as the FT's Tom Mitchell put it, 'Should TPP fail, then the economic component of the US president’s “pivot” towards Asia will — to Beijing’s surprise and delight — have completely unravelled.'

But although Google tells me that Phoenix (where Carter delivered his speech) and Sydney are 12,540km apart, that didn't stop me from pontificating about the speech from my perch at 31 Bligh St. So as Bonnie Glaser says, these speeches have a global audience. The open question for me is whether Carter overlooked this fact when presenting his clumsy remarks about the TPP and the rebalance, or whether he was aware of it and went ahead anyway. Neither conclusion is particularly comforting.

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