ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
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U.S. elections 2010 and its impact on AsiaThe midterm elections in the United States saw the lower House of Representatives swing to a decisive majority for the Republicans. However, the Senate and the executive branch remained under Democrat control creating a scenario for two years of stalemate in a government that sorely needs more than that in these difficult economic times.
An early sign of the rhetoric, name calling and confusion that is likely to follow in the next to years is the accusation that the president’s recent trip cost taxpayers $200 million a day. The figure was quickly dispatched but the incident pointed out that the new House of Representatives will be more focused on domestic issues rather than the international agenda.
The recent report by two members of the president’s commission on reducing the deficit signals that this will be a key issue and will test the mettle of the new congressmen, particularly, if the policy of earmarks ( special add-on funding attached to legislation that often goes to industries in the districts of the sponsoring legislators) is challenged by the committee’s full report to be issued December 1.
The work of international relations will fall fully on the shoulders of the executive branch and the Senate.
Prospects for cooperation between the president and the new leadership in the House seem dimmer by the day.
These events are likely to have a negative impact on Asia and any new trade agreements, such as the one in process with South Korea, are likely to draw closer scrutiny in the House.
The deficit commission has already signaled that lowering the Pentagon’s budget is likely to be in the cards and this will be a key test of the new conservatives in the House, as they usually like to generously fund the military.
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