Courtesy Reuters

A seismic shift is under way in the Asian-Pacific region, a shift in the structure and balance of political and economic power. This transformation has fundamental implications for America’s future position in the region. For more than four decades U.S. engagement in Asia was based on two pillars: a Cold War commitment to Asian security and America’s extraordinary economic power. Both of these foreign policy premises are now gone: the Cold War ended suddenly and dramatically; American economic hegemony has waned more slowly but with no less drama.

Should America attempt to conduct its relations with the region as in the past, its capacity for effective leadership will rapidly shrink; the foundations of the style and type of leadership America previously exercised no longer exist. As the political leverage of military power decreases, economic power will count for more. The United States must come to terms with

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  • Stephen W. Bosworth is President of the United States-Japan Foundation and former U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines.
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