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PacNet #24 – Want a New Map of Asia? Include the United States

Re-defining Asia is now a common discussion among policy analysts. Evan Feigenbaum, for example, has argued that “[w]ithout a new map of Asia that reflects the ways in which Asians themselves are remaking their continent, US relevance – and influence – will wane in the coming decades.” But new maps of Asia are unnecessary to achieve America’s objectives. A loose definition of Asia has and will continue to serve American interests by providing flexibility of action and association precisely as Asia integrates – unevenly – within itself and with the globe. Achieving American goals requires not a strict definition of a “big Asia” but expanded commitment to the “Pacific principle” – American diplomatic, economic, and security engagement across the Pacific to Asia. The most meaningful and useful map of Asia must now include the United States.