In late April, President Obama visits Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia. He should make this trip an “assurance tour,” focusing on convincing Asian allies and partners of his administration’s unwavering commitment to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
Rightly or not, US allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region have seen the US’s “rebalance to Asia” as a lost cause under the second Obama administration. Worse, following supposedly weak US reactions toward Syria and Crimea, many countries in the region now question the US’s capacity to enforce the rebalance. The US government’s uncoordinated response to the Chinese announcement of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) was an illustration of the Obama administration’s drift from the rebalance, raising questions about whether the US is indeed willing to stand by its allies and partners in the face of increasingly assertive behavior by China.
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