Comparative Connections v.13 n.3 - US-Southeast Asia
January 12, 2012
With visits to Hawaii, Indonesia, Australia, the Philippines, and Burma, President Obama and Secretaries Clinton and Panetta demonstrated the US commitment to the region despite concern over the anticipated decline in the US defense budget. Generally, the additional US forces are seen as evidence of Washington’s decision to remain involved in regional security. At the East Asia Summit, Obama outlined his hope that it could serve as a high-level security conclave whose agreements would be implemented through other multilateral organizations. In the Philippines and Indonesia, Clinton and Obama promised naval and air force upgrades to each. Hoping for a breakthrough in US-Burma relations, Obama sent Clinton to see whether the situation warranted the easing of US economic sanctions and if Naypyidaw was moving to meet US conditions for the restoration of full diplomatic relations.