Asia’s Questions for America’s Next President

NEW YORK – In one of the longest American Presidential campaigns in history, neither party has addressed one of the most critical issues of the day: how can the United States successfully integrate its domestic concerns with an increasingly competitive global marketplace?

At home and abroad, it is impossible to miss the breadth and depth of change sweeping the globe, particularly in Asia. While the US economy is in the final stages of a seismic shift from manufacturing to service-oriented industries, China and India are ascendant, and Muslims throughout Asia are clamoring for a greater role in global affairs.

And yet the Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and the Republican nominee, John McCain, continue to tiptoe around such issues. Instead, their campaigns’ treatment of US foreign policy has been reduced to endless debates about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and about the wisdom of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Surely this is unacceptable to every American committed to a safe and prosperous future. The next US president needs to provide a clearer understanding of how he or she will prepare America for a twenty-first century in which local issues are tied to global developments, global trends can have local implications, and America’s international authority will confront Asia’s newfound clout.