Even though it's becoming clear that the U.S. won't be able to dictate the global agenda in the way that it has during much of the postwar era, that doesn't mean our country will be totally marginalized, at least in the short run.
In the kind of world I see immediately ahead, where no one nation rules the roost, I expect that many will find it expedient to remain or become aligned with America for some period of time, until the eoplitical dust settles or a new pecking order is firmly in place.
Already we are seeing evidence of that, as the New York Times reveals in "China’s Fast Rise Leads Neighbors to Join Forces":
HANOI, Vietnam — China’s military expansion and assertive trade policies have set off jitters across Asia, prompting many of its neighbors to rekindle old alliances and cultivate new ones to better defend their interests against the rising superpower.
A whirl of deal-making and diplomacy, from Tokyo to New Delhi, is giving the United States an opportunity to reassert itself in a region where its eclipse by China has been viewed as inevitable.
The deals and alliances are not intended to contain China. But they suggest a palpable shift in the diplomatic landscape, on vivid display as leaders from 18 countries gathered this weekend under the wavelike roof of Hanoi’s futuristic convention center, not far from Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, for a meeting suffused by tensions between China and its neighbors.
Most Asian countries, even as they argue that China will inevitably replace the United States as the top regional power, have grown concerned at how quickly that shift is occurring, and what China the superpower may look like.
China’s big trading partners are complaining more loudly that it intervenes too aggressively to keep its currency undervalued. Its recent restrictions on exports of crucial rare earths minerals, first to Japan and then to the United States and Europe, raised the prospect that it may use its dominant positions in some industries as a diplomatic and political weapon.
And its rapid naval expansion, combined with a more strident defense of its claims to disputed territories far off its shores, has persuaded Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Singapore to reaffirm their enthusiasm for the American security umbrella.