In a few short months, a new U.S. administration will take office in Washington. It will inherit adecent hand to play in Asia. The region is not currently in crisis. Relations among the great powers there - the United States, Japan, China, Russia, and India - are generally constructive. The prospect of conflict among them is remote. Asian economies have sustained robust growth despite the current U.S. slowdown. The results of recent elections in both South Korea and Taiwan present promising opportunities that did not exist a year ago. Counter-terrorist efforts in Southeast Asia have produced some impressive results. The North Korean nuclear issue is belatedly getting front burner attention. And the image of the United States has been selectively enhanced by its generous response to natural disasters in the region.
Despite this, the region needs urgent attention argue Michael Armacost - former US ambassador to Japan and the Philippines and J. Stapleton Roy - former US ambassador to Indonesia, China, and Singapore, in this policy brief written for the Asia Foundation as part of the foundation's program, "America's Role in Asia."