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Nearly two centuries after it lost its traditional place at the center of Asian affairs, Beijing has begun giving shape and substance to its renewed leadership on the regional stage.
The United States will have to face the reality that further Russian isolation might be more costly than it is worth. In particular, further U.S.-led sanctions will start to harm U.S. allies and partners in Asia and, therefore, American interests.
Asia is going to command ever more attention and resources from the United States, thanks to the region’s growing prosperity and influence and the enormous challenges the region poses. The Obama administration’s pivot or rebalancing makes sense; the challenge now is giving it proper form, substance, and resources.
A recent essay by Robert Ross characterized the Obama administration's "pivot" to Asia as a hostile, knee-jerk response to Chinese aggression. But the shift was not aimed at any one country; it was an acknowledgment that the United States had underinvested in a strategically significant region.
Japan is undergoing profound changes that are empowering its political leadership at the expense of its bureaucracy. But rather than bringing about a clean transfer of institutional authority, the reforms have created gridlock. The U.S.-Japanese alliance isn’t dead, but it is getting more complicated.