Global Insights: Obama’s Strategic Agenda in Asia

Global Insights: Obama’s Strategic Agenda in Asia

Before President Barack Obama embarked on his 10-day Asian trip, his longest overseas visit since taking office, he highlighted the tour's economic objectives. But given that government leaders generally exert more control over political-military decisions than over economic trends, the strategic goals of Obama's trip are perhaps more important and certainly worth examining.

Obama has already completed the first and longest leg of his trip in India. Some Indian leaders who place great stock on status and symbolism grumble that despite enthusiastic rhetoric, the Obama White House has effectively downgraded the U.S.-Indian partnership compared to his predecessor. Unlike the Bush administration, which talked about a relationship between two democracies that could decisively shape the 21st century, U.S. officials now talk about India essentially the same way as they describe other rising powers, and emphasize trade and economics in their discourse rather than shared national interests and values.

Still, the Obama administration has recently overcome bottlenecks that have impeded bilateral U.S.-Indian defense industry cooperation for years. In return for a relaxation of U.S. restrictions on the export of some dual-use military-related technologies, the Indian government has established plans to buy a number of expensive U.S. defense items. Among the agreements announced this past weekend, India declared its intent to purchase 10 C-17 Boeing transport planes for some $4 billion, as well as more than a hundred General Electric engines worth another billion dollars for the Indian air force - among the deals that Obama says will support 50,000 American jobs.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.