Obama's Successful Asia Offensive

East Asian countries may often be irritated by US arrogance, view its human rights concerns as hypocritical, stand in contempt of its domestic politics and alert to its economic and social troubles -- but they are not afraid of it. That appears to be the central message from the mostly positive regional reception of the Asian diplomatic offensive spearheaded by President Barack Obama this month. That trip included the APEC meeting in Honolulu, a long delayed visit to Australia, participation in the East Asian Regional Summit in Bali, and the announcement that Hillary Clinton would visit Myanmar. By contrast, for all its economic success, for all of its attractions as a source of trade and investment, for all the admiration of its rise bestowed upon it by nations large and small, China has been forced onto the diplomatic back foot for one simple reason: the neighbors are afraid of its assumptions as well as its potential power.

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