We don't have to wait for President Barack Obama's next best-selling book to see that national security and trade with the region that is home to nearly two-thirds of humanity drove his ambition to become America's first "Pacific President."
In his speech to the Australian Parliament in Canberra on November 17, 2011, he said that "in the Asia-Pacific in the 21st century, the United States of America is all in" as a matter of a "deliberate and strategic decision."
Feeding on leaks and indiscretions, many observers have pointed out that this "pivot to Asia" was also born of frustration with an excessive and unproductive commitment of national resources to intractable Middle Eastern and European imbroglios, while America's competitors were concentrating on security loopholes and lucrative business operations in the fastest-growing segment of the world economy.
But some of these same observers are now blaming the worsening Middle East political and security landscape, and the predictable unraveling of flimsy European arrangements, on Washington's alleged "pivot to Asia" distractions.
I shall, therefore, put to the side assertions that a "pivot to Asia" is all about confronting, containing and encircling China.
So, let's take a look at economics. To see the enormous business opportunities that are slipping through our fingers in East Asia, I shall use a counterintuitive example of Japan's brilliant geo-economic strategy. I know that will rile the usual Japan-bashers, and those who are criticizing the country's lack of structural reforms and its allegedly dim-witted monetary policies. I'll ignore that, too, because these people don't realize that Japan's global businesses have made that economy virtually bullet-proof.