China plus ASEAN plus FTA equals East Asian Unification? Not Quite Part II

As discussed in Part I of this series, the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) will be a win-win for the signatories. The agreement will produce greater economies of scales, as it expands trade between members, which will result in an aggregate increase in competitive export products from China and ASEAN. However, it will not foreshadow European-style regional integration, at least not in the near future. The centrifugal force generated by the agreement will not only draw ASEAN closer to China, the regions manufacturing hub, but it will push those states outside the bloc to liberalize their own trade in order to stay competitive. While the United States is generally supportive of ASEAN, it is not in the strategic interest of the U.S. for it to be outside of an Asian economic bloc, especially one that will aid in cementing a strong Chinese leadership position in Southeast Asia. Implementation of this agreement has increased concerns among some analysts that the economic and perhaps, the political center of gravity of the region are shifting away from the United States and toward China.

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A Moderate’s View of President Obama

The vast majority of Americans are proud to have elected President Obama, our first black Chief of State. We are proud to demonstrate to the world and our own fellow citizens that race no longer matters in our society. We have put race, ethnicity, national origin, and gender behind us and (theoretically) every American can do whatever they rise to the challenge to do – without barriers. We have a much better “face” to the rest of the world that we are not the superior people of a high and mighty superpower but equals when it comes to justice and democracy throughout the world. Let’s face it — George W. Bush alienated much of the world by not seeking international support and consensus for actions he undertook.

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