Crafting a U.S. Policy on Asia

Regaining Prestige in the Region

While experts disagree on the need for one unified U.S. strategy in Asia, a consensus remains that America’s standing in the Asia-Pacific region has suffered over the past decade. “We’re still incredibly important. We’re still number one,” says Kang. “But the days that we were the sole focus are gone.” Some experts such as Armitage, Nye, and Green support a circle of democracies and engagement with China in hopes of advancing U.S. interests and regional security. But Lieberthal says even as the Untied States promotes democracy in the region, it does so when anti-U.S. sentiment runs high, leading to the election of officials with policies running contrary to Washington’s. Experts say future American policies need to concentrate on strengthening multilateral organizations such as ASEAN and APEC as a means to recoup U.S. prestige in the region. “There is a recognition that we need to work harder to reassert our political influence, that we perhaps have focused a little too single-mindedly on counterterrorism,” says Bush, adding that countries in the region will likely be more comfortable with a balance of power involving China, Japan, and the United States and that, through building multilateral alliances, Washington can regain its footing in Asia. “The game is not lost by any means,” he says.

Crafting a U.S. Policy on Asia

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