- NBR - The National Bureau of Asian Research

The Political and Security Implications of the East Asian Crisis

Robert B. Zoellick

This essay discusses the impact of current economic problems on the future political and security order in Asia, and offers policy recommendations for the United States to guide the region through the current turmoil and coming transitions smoothly. The author points out that the American response to the crisis will mold the impressions of an entire generation of East Asians. Therefore it is crucial that the pursuit of U.S. interests in open markets, greater transparency (especially of financial institutions), and democratization be accompanied by concrete assistance from the government and private sector. In addition, the author calls for U.S. economic and political support to back East Asia’s reforming democracies—especially in Thailand and South Korea. If these governments fail, further openings are likely to prove illusory. Active U.S. engagement in the region will also help manage changes in the regional security environment that are likely to result from the shifting economic landscapes.