|Obama greets troops in Australia|
Case in point:
Last week I was chatting with a couple old friends from high school via Skype. All though we are all Republicans my politics have vented back toward the center a bit in recent years causing some enjoyable and "lively" discussions. In fact one of my friends is not so much "Republican" as he is "Ayn Rand"...hence the lively discussions.
Anyhow, I asked them what they thought of Obama's move to station 2500 marines in a new upgraded base in Darwin, a city on the north coast of Australia. Truth be told, I've known this group of friends for 30 years and we have a fun (my wife calls it mean :) way of "baiting" each other to provoke a response. I was being a little cheeky I admit. Obama energizing America's military might in the region I knew would appeal to their Republican blood. It would be a "good thing". But I also knew that their politics didn't allow for Obama doing a "good thing". This could be fun...
It was not unlike the strategy used by Captain Kirk from Star Trek. When ever he had to get by the "super computer / killer robot" he would feed it a question that would put it into a an endless logic loop. Kirk would then sit back as it rattled the question around a bit and then finally popped a circuit allowing him to get free and save the girl. So I thought I'll feed them a "good thing done by Obama", watch them try to process it through their "Obama can do no good" programming, then sit back and wait for a circuit to blow.
Understand it's not that I've become a fan of Obama (I'm not) so much as I absolutely love arguing with my friends.
My strategy didn't work though...but not for the reason's I would have guessed. "Steve," said one of them, "we've heard nothing about this." I was frankly...shocked!
Understand, the papers in Hong Kong and in the Pacific region have been almost daily running stories and editorials either celebrating or deriding America's increased engagement in the area. It is possibly the most important ongoing news story this side of the Pacific. Not only the deployment of marines to north Australia but Obama's raising of the issue of Maritime claims in the South China Sea at the recent APEC summit in Hawaii against China's objections.
Most analysts have said it has been a diplomatic win for Obama and a setback for China yet for some reason the news cycles in America were not jumping on it. I suppose Kim Kardashian divorcing her husband after a few hours of marriage might have something to do with it but come on? My friends are well read and well informed individuals. I thought they would be bringing this topic up to me?
It has just demonstrated to me though that although this region has built the China - United States dynamic into the major geopolitical balance of power issue de jour, China and the Asia Pacific region still does not register on the average American's radar. Because the news channels cater to the American appetite, stories of China and the region, while increasing in importance, still tend to focus on the human interest stories of development and are buried on Page 3.
That's likely to change though in the coming decade as China continues to develop its military and tests America's commitment to the region, well, unless Kim Kardashian gets married again that is...