Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation has posted an interesting assessment of the Defense Department’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, on his blog. The essay, by Liu Shuisheng of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences, deserves to be read in full. It portrays the 2010 QDR as a sign of "strategic contraction" by the United States. In the author’s analysis, the United States’s focus on the Middle East will "further chip away at the United States’ strength, aggravate its strategic adversity, and increasingly narrow the room for maneuvers on other issues."
The essay is fresh evidence that Asians see a United States whose attention is elsewhere. As Jim Hoagland wrote in Sunday’s Washington Post, America’s allies and friends in the region are increasingly hedging their bets. In the case of the Chinese, one justifiable concern is that Beijing will attempt to take advantage of the United States’ preoccupation elsewhere.
As the world’s sole superpower, the United States must be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. Asian states appear to have their doubts.