31 Dec '16, 1am

The year Asia's power balance shifted

In the 1942 Hollywood classic Casablanca, Major Strasser of the Third Reich tells the French police prefect that his impression of saloon keeper Rick Blaine, the principal protagonist, is that he is just another blundering American. Captain Louis Renault's response is to caution that no one should underestimate American blundering. "I was with them," he says meaningfully to the arrogant German, "when they 'blundered' into Berlin in 1918." As the sun sets on another year in Asia, large sections of the continent will yearn for the days when America's raw edge, whether stemming from Texan elan or Arkansas mojo, kept the geopolitical order stable in the region. Instead, this might go down in history as the watershed year when Asia no longer stood to attention when an American president cleared his throat. Mr Xi and Mr Obama at a meeting in the Netherlands in 2014. As America's...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/the-year-asias-power-...

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