Dear Mr./Mrs. Future President,
Although there will probably be more pressing concerns during your first days of administration, Barack Obama’s “pivot to Asia” must not be ignored. The United States has had, for a long portion of its history, possessions in the Pacific and East Asia. With U.S. involvement came improved infrastructure and reinforcement of democratic ideals. American bases were instrumental in the defeat of Japan during World War II, providing the Allies with the supplies needed to win a long war. During the Cold War, American intervention (however flawed) to prevent the spread of communism strengthened strategic alliances in the region with such nations as Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, Australia, South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines. Investment in the area rebuilt nations sundered by war to be participating, democratic, members on the world stage.
However, recent geopolitical changes in the area are matters of national concern. The autocratic government of North Korea has consistently expanding its nuclear weapons program in order to threaten “Western” countries. China has been contesting the International Court of Law’s ruling on maritime claims in the South China Sea by trying to build military bases on the shoals located there. Also, the recently elected government of the Philippines under Rodrigo Duterte has shown intentions to break relations with the United States and align the Philippines to China. The US and the Philippines have been great allies for decades and have cooperated on issues of regional security. This re-alignment casts doubts on the US’s ability to maintain security in the region and may lead to a massive geopolitical shift in the future. That is why the United States must stand strong and reaffirm its alliances in the region as a major part of foreign policy.