The Present- The need for a new approachIt is precisely the success of that policy that makes a new approach both possible and desirable. For the central fact of East Asia today is the remarkable political and economic growth of the area, and the justifiable self-confidence that has resulted from it.
Asia of today is vastly different from the Asia which required, over the past several decades, so activist an American role. Asian nations now generally have a strong and confident sense of their own national identity and future. They have generally established healthier relationships with each other, and with the outside world. They had created institutions of proven vitality. Their armed forces a stronger.
There is, to be sure, still a need for a strong American role. The development of Asian nations has not taken place evenly. The credibility and intensity of outside threats to their national security an integrity is greater for some than for others. Despite the genuine economic progress of Asia, the standards of living are still far too low and we have more than a moral interest in seeing those standard improved. For poverty in Asia is inconsistent with our political interest in the stability of the area, and our economic interest in a prosperous Asia with which we are a natural trading partner.
However, the new strength in Asia is a fact, and it requires different and more restrained American approach, designed to encourage and sustain Asian regionalism, Asian self-reliance, and Asia initiatives. For those characteristics are essential to the construction of a stable international order in the region.