There has been considerable commentary of late questioning the seriousness and sustainability of the so-called American pivot or rebalance to Asia. Mush of this breathless handwringing is overwrought, but the public questioning reflects growing anxieties across an increasingly uncertain region and should be taken seriously. There are challenges almost everywhere one looks along with a clear appetite for a sustained and coherent US approach to Asia. The Obama team is intimately aware of these swirling concerns and Barack Obama’s recent visit to Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia reflects a manifest effort to translate more the rhetoric of the pivot into concrete reality.
Still, more can be done to reassure the region and signal a subtle, sustained, and integrated American approach to Asia. But how?