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PacNet #73 – East Asia Summit: The Path from Base Camp

Fresh off his reelection to a second term as US president, Barack Obama sets out this month on a trip to Southeast Asia that will include a historic visit to Myanmar (Burma). While that stop will understandably get most of the attention, the two days in Cambodia bear watching as well. After meeting with the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Phnom Penh on Nov. 19, the president will attend his second East Asia Summit (EAS) the following day. This event is central to the strategy he articulated one year ago of "rebalancing" US foreign policy toward the vital Asia-Pacific region. Unlike last year, when just showing up was accomplishment enough, the measure of success at this year’s EAS will be the president’s ability to nudge forward a concrete, if modest, agenda that demonstrates the US commitment to institution-building in Asia and advances US interests there.