|Russian fleet arrival in Zhanjiang, China, Sept. 12, 2016 - Xinhuanet.|
Obama, or more accurately the US led Western imperial alliance that includes NATO, Australia, Japan, the Phillippines and a few other nations have been trying to assert control over China by surrounding it with military might, enacting treaties like the TPP deal and using forums like the ASEAN trade alliance.
China, and Russia, which faces a similar US strategy to contain it that includes the expansion of NATO to its borders, recent US troop buildups in places like Poland, the US-led coup against its ally Ukraine, and US and EU sanctions against it, have been responding with increased military cooperation and with the launching of the so called Silk Road, the massive infrastructure project that will include high speed rail lines across the Eurasian land mass to Europe, the Middle East and India that will allow Russia and China to trade with those regions and move oil, gas and other commodities to and from their countries and circumvent US efforts to control them by controlling the world's sea trade routes, as it is doing with its provocations against China in the South China Sea and against Russia in Eastern Europe, in the Ukraine, the Baltics, etc.
This situation is the unspoken context and backdrop for the US presidential elections. US workers, the nominal topic of discussion by the candidates, are irrelevant. It's all about US Capital and the decades-long now Neoliberal project to globalize US Capital and to convert US workers to just another low paid labor force that serves it.
North Korea plays a role in this, too, as the US tries to get China, the only country with any sway over North Korea, to make North Korea halt its nuclear weapons program. North Korea -- which is actually what's left of Korea after the US annexed its southern provinces in the so called Korean War -- has looked over its border for decades now at the US armies, landmines and missiles in South Korea, and has seen that the only countries the US hasn't destroyed or colonized lately are those with nuclear weapons. Iran recognizes that fact, too.