The United States, thank goodness, appears willing to recognize that there are more than just China and Japan in Asia. Let’s hope they keep up, and can develop relations in Southeast Asia that aren’t just designed to thumb the nose at Beijing. From Bloomberg:
The most remarkable thing about Obama’s first trip abroad since his re-election is his itinerary. During the four-day journey that starts tomorrow, Obama will bypass China as well as such staunch Pacific allies as Australia, Japan and South Korea, not to mention Europe and the Middle East. Rather, he will stop in Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
The obvious motivation for the route is to drum up new markets for corporate America with U.S.-led regional trade talks. Less obvious is telling Southeast Asia that for the U.S., China isn’t the only game in town. It is a show of support not just for Myanmar’s opening, but for nations that may be future democratic bulwarks in a region awash in authoritarianism.