Thursday, December 30, 2010
ASEM vs. Uncle Sam
The word APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) has often been heard in the mass media, but a few people have heard of ASEM (Asia Europe Meeting). The difference between ASEM and APEC is “without Uncle Sam” or “with Uncle Sam.” ASEM, which was established in 1996 will have its seventh meeting this year. However, this year is different is much different from the past. Today, the whole world was paying attention to ASEM, with its 27 member nations in the European Union as well as 16 Asian countries. With the financial crisis starting to look like the beginning of a global recession; everyone is looking for China to play a leadership role with its nearly $2 trillion in foreign reserves. This year's meeting was held in Beijing where the world expects Chinese economic growth to strengthen the global finances and to prevent a recession. The ASEM meeting appears to be a victory for Nicolas Sarkozy, who has emphasized “the need to improve the supervision and regulation of all financial actors, especially their accountability (Japanese media).” While Sarkozy has studied Karl Marx’s Capital extremely hard after the recent chaos Wall Street (according to the Phoenix News), he is willing to confront Washington pushing them to take responsibility in fixing global financial system. As Wen Jiaboa stated, “Lessons should be learned from the financial crisis, and the responsibilities should be clarified for governments, companies, and supervision respectively (Xinhua News).” Fundamentally, ASEM in Beijing supports Sarkozy’s idea to undertake effective and comprehensive reform of the international monetary and financial systems. The Beijing statement by ASEM has laid down the groundwork for a “Global Financial Summit” on November 15th in Washington. The growing role of ASEM demonstrates that the international community no longer trusts America to address the growing financial crisis. Without Uncle Sam, ASEM in launched a framework to address financial issues. Interestingly, an APEC meeting was scheduling to be held in Peru at the end of November, after the ASEM in Bijing.