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In Asia, angst is rising against United States

Outside China, there is a consistent theme in Asia. It is concerned that declining American power, credibility and commitment will leave the way open for Beijing to exercise dominance over the region. President Obama's "pivot to Asia" has been dismissed as hot air. American objectives announced without consequence betray a weak presidency; Asians have drawn their conclusions.

A new Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea and elsewhere is palpable. By contrast, the United States seems less focused on the region since former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left office. That, at least, is the perception here in Singapore, one of the world's global cities and a small island-state whose extraordinary economic success is dependent on stability in Asia. That is inconceivable without America as counterbalance to China. But the feeling here, if anything, is that the Obama administration has pivoted away.

Singapore, like much of Asia, is intrigued by the new...

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