Obama - "First Pacific President or Supplicant?" - APEC
In Tokyo President Obama declared himself as the "First Pacific President". It would appear that that didn't cut salt with the big players and Obama soon found himself on the defensive.
Asian countries agreed that there should be more free trade and stimulus. There was concern about rising U.S. protectionism. China holds $1 Trillion Dollars of U.S. debt.
No consensus was reached on climate change and it is not likely that one will be reached in Copenhagen. The consensus was that something needs to be done but not at the cost of destroying already fragile economies.
Obama is now embarking an a three day trip to China. He is expected to make speech to an audience of China's students, which is to include human rights and the economy. He is not expected to raise the issue of Human Rights officially, at least not in public. How will China's leaders react to this?
A lot is at stake here, since at APEC no consensus could be reached on exchange rates.
The Asian economy has taken off and is expected to increase by 6%, while the U.S. is only forcast to increase by 1.6%.
Since leaving Washington on Thursday, Obama has sought to show that he is more in synch with Asia than his predecessors, describing himself in Tokyo as "America's first Pacific president" because of his upbringing in Hawaii and time spent in Asia as a boy, when he lived with his American mother and Indonesian stepfather in Jakarta.
Hard economic facts, however, also have made Obama something of a Pacific supplicant. China is the United States' biggest creditor, holding more than $1 trillion of U.S. debt. And while the U.S. economy clambers slowly out of a deep slump triggered by last year's financial crisis, Asia has rebounded with vigor. Asian economies will grow by nearly 6 percent next year, compared with 1.5 percent for the United States, according to the International Monetary Fund.
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Redwater, Alberta, Canada