Global Economics Monthly: East Asia Summit: The Path from Base Camp
November 13, 2012
Fresh off his reelection to a second term as U.S. 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 November 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” American 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 U.S. commitment to institution-building in Asia and advances American interests there.