The Asia Pivot of the United States is in recognition that in the coming century the region will come to play a major role in the world, said Saturday U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Clinton said that the answer to “Why is the American President spending all this time in Asia so soon after winning re-election?” is because “the answer for us is very simple. Because so much of the history of the 21st century will be, is being, written in this region. America’s expanded engagement represents our commitment to help shape that shared future.”
Clinton made the comments in Singapore in the midst of her Asia tour, having recently wrapped up a visit in Australia. She will be joined by President Barack Obama, who is arriving in Thailand today. Obama will later travel with Clinton to Burma, and then to Cambodia
According to Clinton, the strategic and security dimensions of the U.S. efforts in the region are well known, “But the untold story that is just as important is our economic engagement. Because it is clear that not only in the Asia Pacific but across the world, increasingly, economics are shaping the strategic landscape.”
Clinton said that “Emerging powers are putting economics at the center of their foreign policies, and they are gaining clout less because of their size of their armies than because of the growth of their GDP.”
In the opinion of Clinton, for the first time in modern history, nations are becoming major global powers without also becoming global military powers.
“So, to maintain our strategic leadership in the region, the United States is also strengthening our economic leadership,” Clinton said. “And we know very well that America’s economic strength at home and our leadership around the world are a package deal. Each reinforces and requires the other.”
Clinton said that the U.S. is shaping its foreign policy to account for both the economics of power and the power of economics. “The first and most fundamental task is to update our foreign policy and its priorities for a changing world,” Clinton said.
Clinton said the U.S. is moving its foreign policy in similar ways in Africa and Latin America, as well as mention the ongoing trade talks with the European Union.
According to the State Department, Singapore is a close strategic partner of the United States across a range of developmental, economic, people-to-people and security issues. The State Department said this close relationship is maintained in regional multilateral fora such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the East Asia Summit (EAS) to support regional integration, prosperity, and security.
Bilateral trade in 2011 exceeded $50 billion, making Singapore the United States’ 15th largest trading partner and 11th largest export market. Cumulative U.S. investment in Singapore is over $116 billion while Singapore has $22 billion of foreign direct investment in the United States.