ASEAN’s No-Brainer Choice

It doesn’t pay to get too single point focussed on an issue. I missed something on my previous post, something noteworthy, and so I must return to the recent ASEAN summit to elucidate.

America. In a way, despite all their wrongdoings and spiteful misadventures, it is sad to witness the undoing of a once great nation of more than 300 million people. A nation which had in its grasp the possibility to influence the world in a positive way. Perhaps it was always fated to flop, because that is exactly what is happening right before our eyes.

President (to some, pretender to the other 50%) Joe Biden, fresh from a sound beating by the Taliban in Afghanistan (it will be a while before we can allow that one to slip by) and also jubilant with his $2 trillion infrastructure plan. Was it reduced to $1.2 Trillion? I don’t know, but any figure with a ‘trillion’ behind it represents a whole lot of unrepayable debt. He desperately needs allies for what he still wants to do around the world and especially in South-East Asia. That desperation can clearly be seen in his virtual speech to the gathered heads of ASEAN, in which he says “I want you all to hear directly from me the importance the United States places on our relationship with ASEAN.” Further he says “Our bottom line is that ASEAN is essential, I want to say — it is essential to the regional architecture of the Indo-Pacific.” He lists a number of areas for “Our continued cooperation…”, ending with “… and so much more.  So much more”. So, what does he bring to the table to assist that essential cooperation “…to advance not only our many shared interests, but our shared values and shared vision for a region where every country can compete and succeed on a level playing field and all nations, no matter how big or powerful, abide by the law”? Well, flush with $2 trillion or $1.2 trillion, whichever, earmarked for US infrastructure, he offers… not $100 billion, or even $1 billion, but a measly $100 million – and I suggest that would also come with pre-conditions. Do you think the ASEAN leaders were impressed?

Well, as it happens, they had already made up their minds. They already had a much better offer, and they full-heartedly embraced it. They jointly decided to establish a comprehensive Strategic partnership with China…

‘China, ASEAN establish comprehensive strategic partnership’ – China Daily

Poor uncle Joe was wasting his own time and everybody else’s. It is obvious who holds the ASEAN partnership in the highest regard …and for China it is not a relationship born from desperation.

Since what follows is a visual treat, I am going to share it here, in full, from China Daily.

China-ASEAN relations: The path ahead | Updated: 2021-11-24 06:45 

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