During the month of July, I took part in the summer school organized by the Complutense University of Madrid. I selected the course specialized in the Asia-Pacific. Several topics were raised to analyse the importance of foreign military presence in the Pacific waters to co-monitor territorial disputes over territorial waters (Code of Conduct, etc.); the structure and functioning of ASEAN; ethnic & cultural diversity; Non-proliferation agreements; «The Six Party Talks»; Central Asia; regional architecture, etc.
It was a broad introduction to the Asia-Pacific region, laying stress in the key issues that will lead the international affairs sphere.
The United States has a strong presence in the region. In some cases the U.S. is the 1st or second largest foreign investor in region; providing & cooperating in multilateral or bilateral military agreements; encouraging American businessmen to invest & close more free trade agreements (FTAs).
Most of the ASEAN members want U.S. as their principal allied, enabling them to face the strong presence of China in the region. Even though U.S. representatives in the region (according to several sources, such CSIS: US-ASEAN Strategy Commission Report or Navigating Geopolitics of the South China Sea.) or according to experts in Asia-Pacific, America is losing its pace, where new actors (like Europe or other non-ASEAN countries) are speeding up & capturing all the attention, I do not trust to hope that’s the reality.
I began to read several articles arguing both sides of the coin. Finally and despite of the intended negativity of U.S., the opinion of Senator John McCain, published in The Diplomat, reasoning about the close relationship of the U.S in the region, has caught my attention.
Why is Europe an important influence but weak at the same time? Is Europe losing its pace in Asia? It was not clear to me when I finished the summer course.
Suddenly, I decided to do some research on the matter and I found really interesting materials. Europe is facing the deepest socio-economic turmoil ever seen since the Crisis of 1929 in the US; it is time to reschedule the agenda, and look far to the east.
I proposed myself to make some comments about it on my blog. As I have explained in earlier posts, Europa en Asia: Retos (primera, segunda & tercera parte), it has been displayed some achievements already appointed by our European External Action Service.
My personal intention was to expose several arguments to offset the negative opinion or the absence of it regarding the European presence in the region.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the series of posts on Asia-Pacific.
See you in my next post
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