AS recently as just two years ago, whether the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is better off without the attention of the United States is not a question you would ever hear asked. While it’s hard to believe this being the case in the long run – the relationship between Asean and America has undoubtedly been a lucrative and beneficial one – experts at the SCMP China Conference in Kuala Lumpur, are pondering if this might be for the best in the short-term. It won’t have escaped anyone’s attention that the White House has gone through a dramatic shift in the last two years. Times have changed since former-president Barack Obama’s “Pivot to Asia.” The new administration has adopted a somewhat different style. Rather than playing “a larger, more comprehensive role,” as Obama vowed, they have taken a more hands-off approach. U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during the...
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