Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Talk on Possible US Military Conflict in Asia

A panel of experts will discuss possible military conflict, as a result of the USA's ‘pivot’ to Asia, at the Australian National University, 22 August 2012, in Canberra. The event "The 2012 US election and Asia: Pivot, concert or conflict?" is free and open to the public.

Public Lecture
The 2012 US election and Asia: Pivot, concert or conflict?

In 2011 the Obama Administration announced its now famous ‘pivot’ to Asia, away from the shifting sands of the Middle East to the economic growth and rising power centres of Asia. Yet, this is a project that has only just begun and one that has drawn controversy from both the left and right. The panel will present a lively discussion on the upcoming US election and discuss how the 2012 election campaign could be significant for the Asia Pacific.

The panel will be chaired by Andrew Carr and feature Professor Anatol Lieven, Professor John Hart and Dr Benjamin Schreer.

Our three guests all bring extensive knowledge of US politics and US policies in Asia, to discuss who will win, the role of foreign policy in the campaign, the defence and strategic thinking of both candidates, and the different visions they have for our region. There will then be a chance for audience questions and discussions to explore one of the most significant US elections for our region in decades.

This panel is free and open to the public.

Click here to register

The views expressed in this lecture series are those of the presenters and do not necessarily represent the views of The Australian National University.


Strategic and Defence Studies Centre

Date: Wednesday, 22 August 2012
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Remarks By President Obama to the Australian Parliament

Parliament House
Canberra, Australia

10:42 A.M. AEST

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Prime Minister Gillard, Leader Abbott, thank you both for your very warm welcome. ...

Later today, in Darwin, I’ll join the Prime Minister in saluting our brave men and women in uniform. And it will be a reminder that -- from the trenches of the First World War to the mountains of Afghanistan -- Aussies and Americans have stood together, we have fought together, we have given lives together in every single major conflict of the past hundred years. Every single one. ...

So here, among close friends, I’d like to address the larger purpose of my visit to this region -- our efforts to advance security, prosperity and human dignity across the Asia Pacific. ...

For the United States, this reflects a broader shift. After a decade in which we fought two wars that cost us dearly, in blood and treasure, the United States is turning our attention to the vast potential of the Asia Pacific region. ...

Our new focus on this region reflects a fundamental truth -- the United States has been, and always will be, a Pacific nation. Asian immigrants helped build America, and millions of American families, including my own, cherish our ties to this region. From the bombing of Darwin to the liberation of Pacific islands, from the rice paddies of Southeast Asia to a cold Korean Peninsula, generations of Americans have served here, and died here -- so democracies could take root; so economic miracles could lift hundreds of millions to prosperity. Americans have bled with you for this progress, and we will not allow it -- we will never allow it to be reversed.

Here, we see the future. As the world’s fastest-growing region -- and home to more than half the global economy -- the Asia Pacific is critical to achieving my highest priority, and that's creating jobs and opportunity for the American people. With most of the world’s nuclear power and some half of humanity, Asia will largely define whether the century ahead will be marked by conflict or cooperation, needless suffering or human progress.

As President, I have, therefore, made a deliberate and strategic decision -- as a Pacific nation, the United States will play a larger and long-term role in shaping this region and its future, by upholding core principles and in close partnership with our allies and friends.

Let me tell you what this means. First, we seek security, which is the foundation of peace and prosperity. We stand for an international order in which the rights and responsibilities of all nations and all people are upheld. Where international law and norms are enforced. Where commerce and freedom of navigation are not impeded. Where emerging powers contribute to regional security, and where disagreements are resolved peacefully. That's the future that we seek. ...

As we consider the future of our armed forces, we've begun a review that will identify our most important strategic interests and guide our defense priorities and spending over the coming decade. So here is what this region must know. As we end today’s wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and mission in the Asia Pacific a top priority. As a result, reductions in U.S. defense spending will not -- I repeat, will not -- come at the expense of the Asia Pacific. ...

Indeed, we are already modernizing America’s defense posture across the Asia Pacific. It will be more broadly distributed -- maintaining our strong presence in Japan and the Korean Peninsula, while enhancing our presence in Southeast Asia. Our posture will be more flexible -- with new capabilities to ensure that our forces can operate freely. And our posture will be more sustainable, by helping allies and partners build their capacity, with more training and exercises.

We see our new posture here in Australia. The initiatives that the Prime Minister and I announced yesterday will bring our two militaries even closer together. We’ll have new opportunities to train with other allies and partners, from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean. And it will allow us to respond faster to the full range of challenges, including humanitarian crises and disaster relief.

Since World War II, Australians have warmly welcomed American service members who've passed through. On behalf of the American people, I thank you for welcoming those who will come next, as they ensure that our alliance stays strong and ready for the tests of our time.

We see America’s enhanced presence in the alliance that we’ve strengthened: In Japan, where our alliance remains a cornerstone of regional security. In Thailand, where we’re partnering for disaster relief. In the Philippines, where we’re increasing ship visits and training. And in South Korea, where our commitment to the security of the Republic of Korea will never waver. ...

Meanwhile, the United States will continue our effort to build a cooperative relationship with China. All of our nations -- Australia, the United States -- all of our nations have a profound interest in the rise of a peaceful and prosperous China. That's why the United States welcomes it. We’ve seen that China can be a partner from reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula to preventing proliferation. And we’ll seek more opportunities for cooperation with Beijing, including greater communication between our militaries to promote understanding and avoid miscalculation. We will do this, even as we continue to speak candidly to Beijing about the importance of upholding international norms and respecting the universal human rights of the Chinese people. ...

So God bless Australia. God bless America. And God bless the friendship between our two peoples.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

11:10 A.M. AEST

From: Remarks By President Obama to the Australian Parliament, The White House, USA, 17 November 17, 2011

Anatol Lieven is author of Pakistan: A Hard Country.

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