I think it’s also worth mentioning US President Barack Obama’s nine-day Asian trip, which starts tomorrow. Frankly, I think US officials need to be careful about overplaying the ‘Obama lived in Asia so he understands it’ card. Yes, he did–for about four years from the age of six.
It’s great he has this connection, and good that he shows an interest in the world outside America’s borders that his predecessor clearly lacked. But this hardly gives him a ‘unique’ insight into such a vast continent–one that is hugely diverse, and which has changed enormously since 1971, when he returned to Hawaii. The US media will be doing readers and viewers a real disservice if it tries to boil Asia down this simplistically, and it’s a little puzzling that a few years as a kid in school can apparently count as an East-Asian orientation (whatever that means), as described by a US official.
Still, curiosity and awareness can’t be taken for granted, even in a president. So, welcome to Asia Mr President.