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Asia’s Month of Milestones

CANBERRA – For grand strategy buffs, this has been quite a month, with several events looking like the kind of turning points that will consume future historians. Capturing the most media attention has been Europe’s eroding credibility, with its paralyzed institutional response to the ongoing financial crisis making ever more fanciful the notion of a “G-3” world, in which the European Union could compete as a political and economic equal with the United States and China.

But the most interesting new chapters in the story – in economic, political, and security terms – have been written in Asia and the Pacific. With the subtext in most cases being recurring nervousness about China’s rise, recent weeks have witnessed some very significant institutional and policy changes, as well as fundamental strategic repositioning, by the region’s major players.