One of the reasons I have advocated the Obama Administration placing priority on the Asia-Pacific in terms of establishing a grand strategy of poltical, economic and security initiatives has less to do with de-emphasizing Europe, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia and more to do with recognizing just how integrated the world has become in the past 20 years.
Supply chain managers will understand this because the companies we work for have evolved to match this new reality. Less and less do companies and organisations develop strategies for a specific country; it is now paramount to develop regional strategies that tie into an overall global strategy. In fact, as companies shape themselves in this way, we as individuals are also feeling pressure to do the same. This is clearly exemplified in how so many people with very local and domestic jobs are feeling the impact of today's global financial crisis, the shock of which is forcing many to wake up to this new paradigm and thus causing a backlash against globalization in several quarters.
This realisation must also be reflected in the political, economic and security strategy of governments. In doing so, it will be understood that prioritizing a particular region within the context of global strategy is no longer a detriment to other regions--it is not a zero-sum game.
A great example of this is my own experience. Eventhough I was based in Tokyo for Manhattan Associates my first two years, I was sourced to work on one project in South Africa via management in the U.K. In another instance, I was placed on a project in Russia via our partner in South Korea.
Through the end of 2007, the EU was China's largest trading partner and China was the EU's second largest trading partner (2008 data is unavailable yet, but likely to be significantly down as a total). In this context, the stability and security in the Asia-Pacific is likely to be front and center on the EU agenda. As a result, the efforts by the Obama Administration to prioritize their high-level diplomacy (envoys including VP Biden have already visited Europe) with the Trans-Pacific over the Trans-Atlantic should be scene as mutually beneficial.
Central Asia and the Middle East is going to quickly eat up the attention of the Obama Administration and they definitely don't want a lack of assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific to trigger unnecessary distractions; particularly, any direct antagonism towards, or lack of allied support for, the administration's eventual strategy for the Middle East and Central Asia. Thus, so far, I think we are seeing the correct deployment of administration resources.
Time will tell if their execution is up to par, and I encourage my blogging counterparts at the Atlantic Review to contribute their own opinion.