“Exploring the implications of holding a Summit without SBY or postponing the Summit should be a sobering proposition to all the leaders involved. Here’s to everyone doing what is needed to make the meeting work. It’s gut check time for the US ASEAN relationship as we approach September 24 in New York.”
The gap in US strategy for intensifying its engagement in Southeast Asia is clearly trade. While the United States is starting to connect the dots diplomatically and on security architecture, our trade professionals, some of the most hard-core, experienced Southeast Asia hands in the Administration, are essentially benched as they wait for political and policy decisions to put the US trade leadership back into the game.
Turning to the cruel reality of the schedule, the question of continuing annual APEC leaders’ summits becomes even more important.
This should be a good week for U.S. engagement in ASEAN. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Vietnam for the seventeenth annual ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) as most of you read this note. By definition, that means a good week for U.S. strategy in Asia.
By Ernest Z. Bower, Senior Adviser and Director, CSIS Southeast Asia Program Fighting 800-to-1 odds usually reduces even the most hopeful underdog to a lackluster opponent. Not Shane Smeltz and the New Zealand All-Whites football team. Matched against defending World…