A dual crisis haunts America’s Asia policy at a time when China is challenging the United States-led regional order. Early visits to the region by senior Trump administration officials, along with intense attention to the North Korean nuclear problem, point to an illusory continuity in Asia policy. Political squabbling at home and ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan rob Washington of the senior attention and resources needed to blunt China’s rise. This is the crisis of strategic distraction. At the same time, an erratic administration has undermined allied confidence in the credibility of our commitments in the Western Pacific, as our friends begin to question America’s long-term reliability as a trustworthy ally. This is the crisis of American credibility.
United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney 2017