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President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump's Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Fla., Feb. 11, 2017 (AP photo by Susan Walsh).

In Asia, Many See Opportunities—and Some Risks—in Trump’s Foreign Policy

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Foreign policy thinkers from several Asian countries are trying to focus on the positive elements of U.S. President Donald Trump’s worldview. They see a chance to expand Asian ownership of the regional agenda, and anticipate a break from American preaching about democracy and human rights. The downsides are Trump’s views on trade and the possibility of being left alone to deal with a more assertive China.

During recent travels in three Asian capitals—New Delhi, Singapore and Bangkok—the evolving views of Asian elites on the Trump administration and its implications for Asia were on display. There’s a fascination with Trump and what he represents for U.S. politics and America’s role in the world. At the same time, many are able to take a detached, even bemused view of the abrupt shift from former President Barack Obama’s approach to that of Trump. Asians see that American politics is in great turmoil. But they are eager to prove that this need not affect all of their own interests and are looking for the upside to a world where America is more inwardly focused. ...

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