George W. Bush chose Mexico for his first trip abroad, determined to use his experience as governor of Texas to get Latin America out of the backyard and into the front yard. Barack Obama preferred to strengthen his alliance with Canada with a visit to the north. While Donald Trump was dazzled by the luxuries of the Saudi monarchy and the possibility long cherished by his predecessors to sign up for the elusive Middle East peace.
Reality always ends up prevailing, either with terrorist attacks or with economic crises, but today the Government of Joe Biden has set the goal of its foreign policy in the Pacific-Indian region, which it sees as “the center of its geopolitics. global”. Precisely because “while the US has spent the last two decades focused on the Middle East, China has modernized its armed forces,” said the new Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, during a press conference in Japan on Tuesday.
The country of Emperor Naruhito has been Lloyd’s first foreign destination and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, “not by chance,” stressed the latter. Also its prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, will be the first foreign president to step on the Biden White House in April. The region’s main ally for the past 60 years is home to the largest concentration of US troops abroad, with 54,000 pairs of boots spread across bases in Okinawa, Honshu and Kyushu, all within a stone’s throw of Beijing, than a single shot could cause a large number of casualties. That is why the Chinese maneuvers near the Senkaku Islands have made not only regional actors nervous, but also Washington.
Blinken could have gone alone on this trip to “revitalize” the network of traditional allies, but he has taken the Pentagon chief with him because the message is not limited to diplomacy. Unlike his predecessor, Suga shows no interest in continuing the modernization of the military that Shinzo Abe started. Washington will press as much as it can, not only to sell it arms but to strengthen the Pacific front that it wants “free and with respect for human rights”, in direct allusion to the Chinese operations of ethnic cleansing of Uyghurs in Xianjiang, the repression in Tibet , the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy and Taiwan’s democracy, he spelled out.
At the same time, the United States shakes the defenses of its rivals by renewing the treaties to extend the presence of its troops in Japan for another year and five in South Korea, the next stop on the Asian tour, to the indignation of the Kim Jong government. -a, that has not seen with good eyes the joint maneuvers with the southern half of its peninsula. His sister, Kim Yo-jong, attacked this Tuesday with the usual arrogance of his government against this attempt to “spread the smell of gunpowder” across its seas, warning Biden’s that “if he wants to sleep in peace for the next four years, refrain from stinking in your first steps.
Washington is not afraid of him. He has shaken the hornet’s nest to awaken the beast with whom there has been no dialogue in the last year, although there has been an epistolary understanding with Donald Trump. In the last month and a half, the Biden government has sent messages through different channels “to reduce the risk of an escalation,” Blinken confirmed on Tuesday, without receiving a response. Now it is up to Pyongyang to decide if it wants to jump on the bandwagon of the new geopolitics in Asia, now that the Cold War with China is a fact.
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