| Crafting a U.S. Policy on Asia

Throughout the 1990s, strategic concerns over long-running conflicts in East Asia—from the division of the Korean peninsula to tensions across the Taiwan Strait to the Indian-Pakistan nuclear competition—shaped U.S. policy in the region. Although the Sino-Soviet rift during the Cold War provided a basis for U.S. relations with communist Beijing, post-Soviet Russia developed a growing military and diplomatic partnership with China, which also began building security and economic agreements with its neighbors in Southeast Asia. Since 9/11, U.S. attentions have turned toward the Middle East and counterterrorism efforts. “One of the major casualties of the war on terror has been a strategic policy toward Asia,” says Donald C. Hellmann, director of the Institute for International Policy at the University of Washington. Meanwhile, China bloomed as a major trading partner and diplomatic power in the region, in some cases displacing the United States economically. India, too, emerged as an economic force, and tensions flared on the Korean peninsula over Pyongyang’s 2006 nuclear test.

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