Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


US Must Send Right Signals at Pacific Islands Forum

State Department Must Send Right Signals at Pacific Islands Forum
Eddie Walsh

Is the United States upping its diplomatic engagement in the Pacific? One would think given rumors that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is considering heading to the Cook Islands for next month's Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). The problem: Her attendance could send the wrong message to regional partners; thereby undermining U.S. influence in the Pacific.

Last year, the United States sent its largest and highest-level delegation ever to the PIF. This strong showing was seen by many as an indicator of a larger and more substantive shift in U.S. regional engagement. Unfortunately, this shift (like the larger Asian pivot) has yet to materialize - leading some regional diplomats to question the U.S. approach.

The U.S. can ill-afford to repeat these mistakes. The Pacific Islands countries sit at the geopolitical crossroads of the Asia-Pacific century. China and other Asian powers will capitalize on further American missteps; eroding the power and influence of the U.S. and its allies in the process.

If the U.S. intends to lead in the Pacific, there is no question that Secretary Clinton should head the U.S. delegation. However, she cannot do so empty-handed. The U.S. Government must recognize that the size of its diplomatic contingents provide little more than talking points at Beltway think tanks. What the region is really looking for the U.S. to back its diplomatic posturing with serious on-the-ground investments.

The problem for the State Department is how to muster the political and financial resources necessary to make such investments in an election year marred by escalating conflict in the Middle East and global economic uncertainty. U.S diplomats must also overcome an entrenched American mindset that takes for granted Western power and influence in the Pacific - a remnant of the Cold War where the region was seen as a strategic backwater. Neither will be easy.

If the State Department cannot overcome these challenges and match regional expectations, the U.S. should not send Secretary Clinton to Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

Eddie Walsh is an accredited foreign correspondent. He currently serves as a non-resident WSD-Handa Fellow at Pacific Forum CSIS. He also writes extensively and speaks regularly on Asia-Pacific Affairs. Follow him on Twitter and Tumblr.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news