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America's Pacific Century

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on October 22, 2011.( AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

The future of politics will be decided in Asia.

In an opinion editorial written for the November issue of the Foreign Policy Magazine, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that "the future of politics will be decided in Asia. . . One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will therefore be to lock in a substantially increased investment -- diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise -- in the Asia-Pacific region."

The Asia-Pacific region, stretching from the Indian subcontinent to the western shores of the Americas, spans two oceans -- the Pacific and the Indian, which are increasingly linked by shipping and strategy. The region boasts almost half the world's population, includes many key engines of the global economy, and home to several of America's key allies, as well as important emerging powers like China, India, and Indonesia.

"At a time when the region is building a more mature security and economic architecture to promote stability and prosperity, U.S. commitment there is essential," Secretary Clinton said. "By virtue of our unique geography, the United States is both an Atlantic and a Pacific power. . . Our challenge now is to build a web of partnerships and institutions across the Pacific that is as durable and as consistent with American interests and values as the web we have built across the Atlantic."

What does America's Asia-Pacific strategy look like? "Our work will proceed along six key lines of action: strengthening bilateral security alliances; deepening our working relationships with emerging powers, including with China; engaging with regional multilateral institutions; expanding trade and investment; forging a broad-based military presence; and advancing democracy and human rights," Secretary Clinton continued. "We are a major trade and investment partner, a source of innovation that benefits workers and businesses on both sides of the Pacific, a host to 350,000 Asian students every year, a champion of open markets, and an advocate for universal human rights . . . We are the only power with a network of strong alliances in the region, no territorial ambitions, and a long record of providing for the common good."

"Just as Asia is critical to America's future," Secretary Clinton concluded, "an engaged America is vital to Asia's future."