This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website.
In a future update of The Devil’s Dictionary, the famed Ambrose Bierce dissection of the linguistic hypocrisies of modern life, a single word will accompany the entry for "Pacific pivot": retreat.
It might seem a strange way to characterize the Obama administration’s energetic attempt to reorient its foreign and military policy toward Asia. After all, the president’s team has insisted that the Pacific pivot will be a forceful reassertion of American power in a strategic part of the world and a deliberate reassurance to our allies that we have their backs vis-à-vis China.
Indeed, sometimes the pivot seems like little less than a panacea for all that ails US foreign policy. Upset about the fiascos in Iraq and Afghanistan? Then just light out for more pacific waters. Worried that our adversaries are all melting away and the Pentagon has lost its raison d’être? Then how about going toe to toe with China, the only conceivable future superpower on the horizon these days. And if you’re concerned about the state of the US economy, then the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the regional free-trade deal Washington is trying to negotiate, might be just the shot in the arm that US corporations crave.
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