Analysis: USA Relations

Manila Bulletin, June 22, 2013 | Go to article overview

Analysis: USA Relations


Washington, DC, United States (AP) - Over the past two weeks, United States of America (USA) President Barack Obama has argued with Chinese President Xi Jinping over cybersecurity, consulted with world leaders over Syria and trade, declared his desire to reduce US and Russian nuclear weapons, and embraced the uncertain steps toward reconciliation in Afghanistan.

In each case, the President is aligning himself with a process that has a distant goal and is fraught with possible failure.

And as he prodded foreign allies and US competitors, he's gotten a good dose of pushback for his troubles.

In Berlin on Wednesday, Obama warned that the European Union could "lose a generation" if it doesn't adjust its economic policies to tackle high youth unemployment. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has argued for debt-ridden eurozone countries to first deal with their fiscal problems, insisted her government was committed to helping its European partners in the crisis-hit nations. "If we were conducting policies that would harm other countries," she argued, "we would harm ourselves."

She countered with her own words of caution over the Obama administration's secret collection of phone records and surveillance of foreign Internet traffic. "People have concerns, precisely concerns that there may be some kind of blanket, across-the-board gathering of information," she said. "There needs to be proportionality" between security and freedom, she added, and made clear that her private talks about it with Obama were not the end of the subject.

It was a polite punch-counterpunch between vital allies - an exchange that won't damage a strong relationship. …

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