January 14, 2011 | White Paper on Asia and the Pacific
The global financial crisis has had a major impact on perceptions of American power and its relationships in Asia. Many of the perceptions are not founded on facts. Among the facts often overlooked:
Even as doubts have arisen concerning American influence, developments over the last two years point to the critical need for American leadership: China’s assertion of exclusive rights in international waters; North Korean nuclear tests, missile launches, and naval attacks; instability, terrorism, and war in South Asia; and tyranny in places like Burma.
The political landscape giving rise to these problems is shaped by several measurable factors, including:
There are also facts that illustrate the vast opportunity in Asia:
The United States is a Pacific power. It is also the most trusted player in the region. For 60 years, it has served as the region’s security backbone. Absent American predominance, the region would be neither as peaceful nor as prosperous, and a turbulent Pacific would have direct implications for America’s future.
Walter Lohman is Director of the Asian Studies Center, John Fleming is Senior Data Graphics Editor, and Nicholas Hamisevicz is a Research Associate in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation.