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Asia’s Scary Movie

A snapshot of Asia would show a region at peace, with stable societies, growing economies, and robust alliances. But, if we view history as a moving picture, we may well come to look back on this moment as the time in which the most economically successful part of the world began to come apart.

NEW YORK – History at any moment can be understood as a snapshot, telling us where we are, or as a moving picture, telling us not just where we are but where we have been and where we may be headed. It is a distinction with an enormous difference.

Consider East Asia and the Pacific. A snapshot would show a region at peace, with stable societies, growing economies, and robust alliances. But a moving picture would be considerably less reassuring. We may well come to look back on this moment as the time in which the most economically successful part of the world began to come apart.

North Korea is one reason. War has been avoided, not because North Korea has done anything to reduce the threat posed by its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, but because US President Donald Trump’s administration has not matched its fiery words with actions. The nuclear and missile threat posed by North Korea has actually increased since Trump embraced summitry with Kim Jong-un just over a year ago.

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