“There is power in hope.” -President Barack Obama

Last week, President Barack Obama traveled to Asia and the South Pacific in an attempt to revive the U.S.’s economic woes by knocking on the doors of Asia’s free markets.

Obama’s focus on the East has “signaled both a turn toward a part of the world experiencing solid growth and one away from Europe’s dark economic woes, at least temporarily,” the Huffington Post reported.

America’s standing in Asia-Pacific has declined in the past decade as China’s has increased. China now is the top trading partner for many countries across the region. Obama portrayed his trip . . .  as an effort to help open new Asian markets that could lead to more jobs in the U.S. as he strives to help get the nation’s economy back on track . . .

Just three years ago, Obama was elected president under the campaign “Change we can believe in.”  Kerrily Sapet, author of Political Profiles: Barack Obama, wrote, “Obama reminded everyone [during his campaign] that change, while necessary, isn’t easy. Many people chose to focus on the divisions in society, while he chooses to believe that ‘beneath all the differences of race and religion, faith and station, we are one people. . . . there is power in hope.'” He is still striving for global change for the better, it seems.

Obama also announced during his visit east that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be visiting the nation of Burma (also known as Myanmar) in an attempt to re-establish a relationship with the isolated nation and to begin the process of transitioning into a more democratic society. Clinton will visit Burma in December “in a major administration effort to bridge the decades-old divide between the United States and the Southeast Asian country,” according to Politico. Clinton will be the first U.S. secretary of state to visit the repressive country in fifty years.

Burma has been long been in unrest, repressed under a military regime. Reuters reported that Clinton’s vision for the nation is to see “a real political process and real elections.” She also said that “Another U.S. priority . . . is ending Myanmar’s ‘terrible conflicts with ethnic minorities.”

And Burma has been taking baby steps. Politico reported:

The Myanmar government has in recent weeks released some political prisoners, approved legislation that could open the political system and relaxed restrictions on media. The government also has initiated new dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar’s pro-democracy opposition who was released last year from house arrest. “After years of darkness, we’ve seen flickers of progress in these last several weeks,” Obama said. “Taken together, these are the most important steps toward reform in Burma that we’ve seen in years.”

If the United States can mend a rather tattered relationship with Burma from its years under a volatile political system, it might open even more doors economically. According to Sherry O’Keefe, author of Champion of Freedom: Aung San Suu Kyi, an upcoming Morgan Reynolds title, “European explorers in the fifteenth century described Burma as ‘the golden land,’ and the British author and poet Rudyard Kipling called it the ‘Pearl of Asia.'” Burma is rich with natural resources, and because of the wedge that developed between Burma and the U.S. (and Europe), for years China has been reaping the benefits of what its neighbor has to offer. But again, change is in the air.

Adrianne Loggins
Associate Editor

For more information about Obama or Clinton, check out:

Political Profiles: Barack Obama by Kerrily Sapet (ISBN 9781599350455)

Political Profiles: Hillary Clinton by Catherine Wells (ISBN 9781599350479)

And for more information about Burma and Aung San Suu Kyi:

Champion of Freedom: Aung San Suu Kyi by Sherry O’Keefe (ISBN 9781599351681)

Published in: on November 22, 2011 at 11:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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