Monday 25 Oct 2021 | 13:36 | SYDNEY
Monday 25 Oct 2021 | 13:36 | SYDNEY

Asia tyranny of distance?


Sam Roggeveen


4 September 2009 09:53

In a short article in The American Prospect about the regional security implications of Japan's change of government, Matthew Yglesias says 'Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Kurt Campbell slapped down Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's regional integration ideas', citing The Australian's 12 June article as his source. But that story, as well as being disputed here on The Interpreter, was pretty thoroughly debunked by the US Embassy in Canberra.

Yglesias looks favourably on Hatoyama's collective security ideas (which I wrote about briefly yesterday) and I broadly agree that a growing China makes continued US military hegemony over the region a shaky proposition. But Yglesias then makes one of the more unusual arguments I've seen for why the US cannot maintain its regional status: that the Asia Pacific 'is simply too far away for it to make sense for us to be the main military player forever.'

Forever is a long time, but with a network of allies and bases, not to mention highly mobile air and naval forces, being 'too far away' seems about the weakest reason to question America's regional staying power.