Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Barack Obama's "Asian problem?"

Does Barack Obama have an "Asian problem?" I think so, given the huge support Asians are giving to Hillary Clinton. Is it racism, as what some “analysts” would like to think? I don’t think so.

This is my take: the rise of China, India, and the rapid economic growth of countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Philippines, is significantly caused by foreign policy pursued by the Clinton administration. It was Bill Clinton’s leadership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) that led to the Bogor Declaration envisioning a global free trade by 2020. That one really pressured the Europeans to relent on the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations, thus paving the way for the birth of the World Trade Organization. WTO is not a perfect treaty but that one really opened lots of markets for Asia’s exports, this boosting the economies in the Asia-Pacific region. Globalization in general in which the Asia-Pacific region is a major beneficiary accelerated during the time of the Clintons in the White House. So Asians have a generally warm view of the Clintons, including Hillary.

After Iowa, Obama issued statements against “the violence of outsourcing” and swore to adopt measures against the practice, a move that drew criticisms from the Asia-Pacific region. Hillary of course also seems to pander to the protectionist sentiments among the American electorates, but given the Clintons’ track record, Asians tend to look at those pronouncements as a message addressed largely to the home political market.

Plus Asian's in general don't have hang ups about having females as top political leaders.


Urbano dela Cruz said...

i'd would really rather agree with you, Dave, that the lack of support for Obama among the Asian-American population is all about high-minded policy, but I think you give joe-asian-blow too much credit.
The political discourse in the US (as in all other media rich democracies) has very little to do with policy and I really doubt that asian-american communities have a special analytical edge.

No, sadly, i strongly suspect that it is racism. Perhaps not virulent, hate mongering racism, but racism nonetheless.

Granted, the Clintons do have expansive ties with the asian-american community, with big moneyed donors, sometimes of the not too clean kind. (Think Norman Hsu and our very own Mark Jimenez.)

There is a not so subtle racism that is masked by the general asian (at least the first generation migrants) deference. We hesitate to treat anyone with disrespect but it does not mean we don't discriminate.

I hear it well enough among our own compatriots. I hear it among the ethnic southeast asians and the ethnic east asians. A subtle but very definite racism.

But I could be wrong. And you could be right. Let's hope.

Dave Llorito said...

yeah: i really hope im right, but im not actually sure. my point really is that people here in asia credits the rise of the region, especially china and india, to the openness of the world economy to the clinton time. and this warm attitude now extends to their relatives there in America. the asian crisis of course for a time has affected this perception but since then AsiaPac has recovered pretty well.

i guess the best way to look at my perspective is to treat it as a hypothesis that needs to be tested.

Unknown said...

It is rather Obama who is racist against Asians and Asian Americans. It seems that in his campaign, Asian American don't exist. Nothing in favor to Asian American. Nothing for Asia.

Unknown said...

I think the real question we should ask is: "what Obama has done for Asian American or Asia?", and "what Obama is planning to do for Asian American, or Asia, if he is elected?"
For me, Obama has done quite nothing for Asian American, and he is planning to do quite nothing for Asian American.
I think that we should ask these questions first before accusing falsely and unfairly Asian of "raciste" because "Black" people are also raciste against Asian.