Senate committees will soon be asked to vote on President Obama’s nominees to head the departments of State and Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency. Many, if not most, of the senators’ questions will be focused on the nominees’ views on the pressing security problems the United States faces in the greater Middle East and Afghanistan. But it would be a mistake for the committees to let the hearings pass without also examining the administration’s own stated policy priority — the “pivot” or “rebalance” to the Asia-Pacific region.
A productive discussion of the pivot, however, will require a frank acknowledgment that the primary factor driving the change is increased nervousness in Washington and Asian capitals about China’s rise and, in turn, recognition that the U.S. policy of engagement with China has not been as effective in shaping that rise as successive administrations, Republican and Democratic, had hoped. (Los Angeles Times, Posted 27 Jan 13)