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On the one hand, the administration responded well to its initial disappointment with G2 by returning “normalcy” to its relations with China in Obama’s second year.
The president stopped refusing to meet with the Dalai Lama, and it resumed authorizing arms sales to Taiwan.
The legacy of the policy, however, may ultimately be out of the president’s control as it rests in the hands of Congress and the next president.
The Asia that Obama expected when he took office was not the Asia that he got.
The White House’s critical but unseen coordination with the Japanese government during the Fukushima meltdown, followed by the more public Operation Tomodachi recovery project and the return of the LDP to power under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, helped to restore the reservoir of trust in the alliance.
In North Korea, Obama transitioned from engagement to containment, helping to erect a comprehensive multilateral sanctions regime.
In the case of China, Beijing disappointed America’s G2 policy by not delivering on climate change at the 2009 Copenhagen summit (it would do better in Paris in 2015); moreover, it launched what would become an unprecedented set of territorial claims in the East and South China Seas.
They talk all Indian languages, Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Gujarati...As much as the administration would like to take a victory lap in Asia, the legacy of the pivot is only partially complete.And it is on the China account where there remains much work.All you need is an headphone and you can start chatting now.President Barack Obama’s trip to Asia this week marks the final lap in his acclaimed “pivot” or “rebalance” to Asia.