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The Rules of Geopolitics Are Different in Asia
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Rules of Geopolitics Are Different in Asia

Walter Russell Mead

The drama in Washington sometimes makes this difficult to remember, but the most important foreign-policy development of the current presidential term isn’t the president’s tweets. It is the slow, inexorable shift in American strategy from the Atlantic and Mediterranean theaters of world politics to what U.S. diplomats and military officials call the “Indo-Pacific.” That shift, which the Obama administration called the “pivot to Asia,” isn’t the special property of Republicans or Democrats, of national-security hawks or doves.

Yet if Americans are increasingly united on the importance of the Indo-Pacific, we are very far from united on strategy there. This is partly because the executive branch is led by a president with unconventional views who is often at daggers drawn with the network of professionals and institutions that have shaped American foreign policy for many decades. But larger forces are at work than President Trump.

Never in human history have so many people and states faced such an avalanche of political and economic change as the Indo-Pacific faces today. If American policy makers find it challenging to understand and respond, they aren’t alone. The teams around Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe are often similarly perplexed.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal here

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