US President Barack Obama laid out a vision for America in his inaugural address, after being sworn in for a second term. But he made little mention of foreign policy, focusing mainly on domestic concerns - leaving many still curious about the future of US policy on the global stage.
Full Text: Inaugural Address by President Barack Obama [White House, 21 Jan 2012]
"The US rebalanced towards Asia during Obama's first term," noted Simon Tay, Chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. "This will continue but what is the balance and character of that re-engagement?"
Mr. Obama did specifically address the global issue of climate change, which was not a major focus of the Presidential election campaign.
"The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise," Mr. Obama said.
However, he only briefly touched on US foreign policy, mentioning alliances and crisis management: "America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation."
Observers are hoping that Mr. Obama will speak more on foreign policy when he gives his State of the Union Address on 12 February. Of particular interest to Asia is how the US will handle relations with China.
"Military aspects must not dominate or it can trigger tensions in the region with China, whether directly or through America's allies," said SIIA Chairman Simon Tay.