For those who’ve been living under a rock, Monday night marked the third and final presidential debate.
This one focused (almost) exclusively on foreign policy. I won’t get into the details of the candidates’ very similar positions on the Middle East that dominated the lion’s share of the 90 minutes. There are plenty of other good places on the Internet for that kind of analysis. But there was one section that readers in Hawaii might find interesting.
In the final segment of the debate, President Barack Obama gave a nod to the Asia Pacific region in response to a question about China. Here’s the relevant part of the transcript:
Now, with respect to what we’ve done with China already, U.S. exports have doubled since I came into office to China. And, actually, currencies are at their most advantageous point for U.S. exporters since 1993. We absolutely have to make more progress, and that’s why we’re going to keep on pressing.
And when it comes to our military and Chinese security, part of the reason that we were able to pivot to the Asia Pacific region after having ended the war in Iraq and transitioning out of Afghanistan is precisely because this is going to be a massive growth area in the future.
And we believe China can be a partner, but we’re also sending a very clear signal that America is a Pacific power, that we are going to have a presence there. We are working with countries in the region to make sure, for example, that ships can pass through, that commerce continues. And we’re organizing trade relations with countries other than China so that China starts feeling more pressure about meeting basic international standards. That’s the kind of leadership we’ve shown in the region. That’s the kind of leadership that we’ll continue to show.
Those were the only two times the word “Pacific” was uttered by anyone during the debate, and one of the two times the word “Asia” was used, according to the transcript.
— Michael Levine