"For the United States, Asia is both important and potentially dangerous. It represents 56 percent of global economic output and an equal percentage of total U.S. trade. Five of the world's most powerful militaries are involved there. Four of them have nuclear weapons. The six largest armies belong to Asia-Pacific powers. Three of the five deadliest wars in American history took place in part or wholly in that region."
"When one of the 21's leaders, Barack Obama, fails to show up for their annual summit, it is taken as an important symbol of his administration's failure to live up to the promise implied in its much-touted "pivot" or "rebalancing" to Asia. It certainly is such a symbol; and the damage it has done to America's standing and credibility in the region may last rather longer than the memory of any concrete agreement that comes out of the summit itself."
"2013 is most significant for marking a return of Japan to the region. Although in the foreign policy context, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been most notable for his historical comments, military ambitions and dispute with China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, his reassertion of Japanese influence in ASEAN will perhaps have the longest-lasting consequences of all."
"Azerbaijan is arming to the teeth. Armenia is growing increasingly disillusioned with Russia, its main protector. And the potential for armed conflict in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region appears higher than it has been in years."
In a Times of India op-ed, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates discusses opportunities for closer cooperation between India and the U.S. and emphasizes the mutual interests of regional stability and security in South Asia.
John Tirman of the MIT Center for International Studies argues that a new engagement with the regional players in an effort end the Iraq war is inevitable. The idea of bringing in the neighbors to help stabilize and reduce the violence in Iraq is very attractive, and could contribute to a plausible exit strategy for the United States. The article discusses the merits of different versions of “regionalization”.
Authors: Christopher M. Blanchard, Kenneth Katzman, Carol Migdalovitz, Alfred B. Prados, and Jeremy M. Sharp
Congressional Research Service report that provides information about the current perspectives and policies of Iraq’s neighbors; analyzes potential regional responses to continued insurgency, wider sectarian or ethnic violence, and long-term stabilization; discusses shared concerns and U.S. long-term regional interests; and reviews U.S. policy options for responding to various contingencies.
A special report from USIP in a series looking at Iraq and its neighbours, on the role Jordan is playing in the effort to stabilize Iraq. USIP says Jordan wants a strong, stable, moderate, and unified Iraq. Having wrestled with the dilemmas of an assertive Iraq for many years, Jordan—like Iraq's other neighbors—now faces a myriad of challenges presented by a weak Iraq. The kingdom, for years a linchpin in the U.S. strategy to promote peace and stability in the region, is now less secure in the wake of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. Jordanian leaders worry that Iraq is becoming a haven for terrorist groups, a fear dramatically heightened by the November 2005 suicide bombings in Amman. Jordan also has an interest in the development of an Iraq that does not inspire radical Islamist politics in Jordan. Moreover, the kingdom is anxious about growing Iranian involvement in Iraqi politics, and—more broadly—increasing Iranian and Shiite influence in the region.
Report states that predatory neighbours have been a fact of life for the Afghan state throughout most of its history. The region's opportunistic states are liable to revive their interventions in Afghanistan in the event of a faltering Kabul government or an international community that reneges on its commitments to help secure and rebuild the country. Already there are some indications that the forbearance shown by neighbors in recent years may be flagging.
ASEAN is the most significant multilateral institution in Asia but is unequipped to handle the region's most pressing economic and security challenges. CFR Fellow Joshua Kurlantzick makes recommendations for how ASEAN can bolster its capacity—and how the United States can help.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.