As President Trump nears the end of his first trip to Asia, foreign policy experts are gauging the possible effect the 12-day long diplomatic tour will have on U.S. economic and political relations in the region.
Annelise Riles, professor of far east legal studies and anthropology at Cornell University and the founder and director of policy innovation platform Meridian 180, says the trip marks an historic moment in the ongoing decline of U.S. power in Asia.
“Historians will date this trip as a key moment in the decline of U.S. power in the Asia-Pacific region, when Asian leaders stepped up and took the reins.
“On trade, Asian leaders largely ignored the Trump administration’s efforts to squash the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and pledged to forge ahead on their own. This is an exciting development given accusations by some that TPP was simply a U.S. initiative.
“We now see that the commitment to a regional trade agreement, and the willingness to lead towards that outcome, was in fact broad and local. In Korea, China and Japan, it was Asian leaders, not Trump, who set the agenda. Despite all the red carpet, Trump’s own agenda was largely ignored.”