Yomuri Shinbun, Japan
Obama’s Second Term: Questioning the True Value of American Resurgence
What relationship can the Obama administration build with the Chinese administration led by Xi Jinping while restraining the military and economic expansion of China?
Translated By Ethan Ferraro
28 January 2013
Edited by Kyrstie Lane
Japan - Yomuri Shinbun - Original Article (Japanese)
This is the year for questioning the results of American resurgence as the second term of the newly re-elected President Obama has begun.
Obama referred to the successes of his first term during his second inaugural address by stating: “A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun.” The combat mission of the U.S. armed forces stationed in Afghanistan will soon end, and they will withdraw toward the end of next year. The value of stocks has drastically exceeded their level before the Lehman shock, and the shale gas revolution has led to an energy boom.
Mr. Obama undoubtedly has taken pride that he has overcome the negative legacy of the Bush administration. However, the path to realistic resurgence is a thorny one. The most important remaining issue is financial reform. Budget deficits are continuing yearly and have exceeded $1 trillion, and the government debt has also swelled to over $1 trillion.
The fall from the fiscal cliff, which encompassed an end to large-scale tax reductions as well as the introduction of forced spending reductions, was averted. The debt ceiling was temporarily increased, and the risk of default was avoided for a few months. However, drastic financial reform is being delayed.
Mr. Obama must demonstrate powerful leadership for Congress to come up with long-term solutions.
With the Republicans acting as the opposing party in the lower house and the Democrats reigning in the Senate, the confrontations between political factions resulting from the two houses being controlled by two parties is deepening.
Mr. Obama’s selection of congressional veterans who have influence within Congress for the Treasury, the Department of State and the Department of Defense were to combat this conflict.
There are many difficult problems, such as undertaking gun control measures as a result of the mass shooting that took the lives of elementary school students and reforming the immigration system to conditionally grant citizenship to children of illegal immigrants.
With regard to diplomacy and national security, Mr. Obama must also prevent the development of nuclear weapons by the always persistent North Korea and Iran. To help cope with the chaos that has resulted from the stagnation of Middle East peace talks and the Arab Spring, the U.S. must also be involved.
Above all, Obama’s strategy for Asia is being questioned. What relationship can the Obama administration build with the Chinese administration led by Xi Jinping while restraining the military and economic expansion of China? The strengthening of relations between America’s allies, such as Japan, is indispensable for constructing a free and peaceful Asia-Pacific region.
Prime Minister Abe will visit the United States next month to hold a summit with Mr. Obama. They must discuss how to reinforce the Japan-U.S. alliance from a strategic viewpoint focusing on China.
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