Bracing for the game of thrones in Asia’s future

“We’re back, Asia Pacific. Don’t worry about China’s bullish behavior. Our leadership — underpinned by our growing military presence and new economic ties — will lead to regional stability and prosperity. Sure, we have our economic problems and two wars that continue to drag our feet, but Asia is our future and so we will be around.”

In a simplified and stylized nutshell, this seems to be the oft-cited mantra coming out of Washington these days with regards to the United States of America’s renewed engagement of Asia.

Little wonder that some pundits are looking favorably at the recent announcement by US President Barack Obama on the eve of the East Asia Summit in Bali this week that the US will expand its defense ties with Australia and would in the future “permanently” station around 2,500 Marines in Darwin.

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Asia’s ‘Holy Grail’ of regional architecture

| Evan A. Laksmana | Jakarta, 27 March 2010 |

The recent debate regarding the expansion of the East Asia Community (EAS) by allowing Russia to join the ASEAN-driven grouping highlights the continued search for a better, more integrated regional architecture.

In fact, if one looks at the discourse within the last few years, crafting a new “regional architecture” has been somewhat the watchword of both government officials and scholars alike.

Specifically, many believe that the Asia Pacific should be moving into a more integrated region, especially given the growing intra-regional economic ties and a “shared responsibility” amid increasingly complex challenges.

But what these arguments are sidelining is the fact that from a strategic-military perspective, recent developments do not necessarily go hand in hand with the stated rhetoric.

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