Sunday, December 4, 2016

Monday in Washington, December 5, 2016

U.S.-ROK ALLIANCE: LOOKING AHEAD TO THE NEW ADMINISTRATION AND BEYOND. 12/5, 9:00am-4:15pm. Sponsors: Office of the Korea Chair, CSIS; Korea Foundation. Speakers: Lee Sihyung, President, Korea Foundation; Richard Armitage, President, Armitage International, Trustee, CSIS, Former Deputy Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State; Ahn Ho-Young, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States; Mark Lippert, Ambassador of the United States to the Republic of Korea; Han Sung-joo, Professor Emeritus, Korea University, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea; Christopher Hill, Dean, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, Former Assistant Secretary of State, East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Choi Kang, Vice President, Asian Institute for Policy Studies; Jo Dongho, Professor, North Korean Studies, Ewha Womans University; Kang Insun, Member, Editorial Board, Chosun Ilbo; Robert Carlin, Visiting Scholar, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University; Bruce Klingner, Senior Research Fellow, Northeast Asia, Asian Studies Center; Joseph Yun, Special Representative, North Korea Policy, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Korea and Japan, U.S. Department of State; Chung Jaeho, Professor, Seoul National University; Shin Beom-chul, Research Fellow, Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, Former Director-General, Policy Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea; Sohn Yul, Professor, Graduate of International Studies, Yonsei University; Patrick Cronin, Senior Advisor, Senior Director, Asia-Pacific Security Program, Center for a New American Security; Michael Green, Senior Vice President, Asia and Japan, CSIS, Chair, Modern and Contemporary Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy, Georgetown University; Ahn Dukgeon, Professor, Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University; Jung Yong-hun, Senior Research Fellow, Korea Energy Economics Institute; Kim Jong Hoon, Former Minister for Trade, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of Korea; James Loi, Counselor, Asia Group, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Scott Miller, Senior Adviser, William H. Scholl Chair in International Business, CSIS; Moderators: Victor Cha, Senior Adviser, Korea Chair, CSIS, Professor, Director, Asian Studies Program, Georgetown University; Yoon Young-kwan, Professor Emeritus, Seoul National University, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea; Kim Sung-han, Professor, Korea University, Former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of Korea; Stephan Haggard, Lawrence and Sallye Krause Professor of Korea-Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego.

USAID CLIMATE ACTION REVIEW: 2010-2016. 12/5, 9:30-11:30am. Sponsors: Environmental Change and Security Program, Global Sustainability and Resilience Program, Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC); USAID. Speaker: TBA.

GLOBAL BENCHMARKING OF PUBLIC PROCUREMENT 2017 REPORT LAUNCH. 12/5, 9:30am-2:00pm. Sponsors: US Chamber of Commerce; World Bank Group. Speakers: John Hopkins, Chairman of the Board, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, CEO, NuScale Power, LLC.; Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director, Global Indicators Group, World Bank Group; Jun Jin, Associate General Counsel, United States Assistance for International Development; Lorna Prosper, Director, General Defense Procurement, Canadian Embassy; Raffaele Cantone, Head, Anti-Corruption Authority, Italy; Minister Benjamin Zymler, Brazil; Pascale Dubois, Chief Officer, Suspension and Debarment, World Bank; Alison Micheli, Lead Council on Procurement, World Bank; Christopher Browne, Chief Procurement Office, World Bank Group; Chung Yangho, Public Procurement Administrator, Republic of Korea.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC CHALLENGES FOR DONALD TRUMP. 12/5, 10:00am-Noon. Sponsor: American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Speakers: C. Fred Bergsten, Peterson Institute for International Economics; Kemal Derviş, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, Brookings Institution; Jeffrey Frankel, Harvard University; Anne Krueger, SAIS; Desmond Lachman, Resident Fellow, AEI; Alex J. Pollock, R Street Institute.

A BLUEPRINT FOR SUSTAINING A WHOLE OF SOCIETY APPROACH TO PREVENT AND COUNTER VIOLENT EXTREMISM. 12/5, 11:30am-1:00pm. Sponsor: Society for International Development (SIDW). Speakers: Eric Rosand, Director, Prevention Project: Organizing Against Violent Extremism; Stephen Lennon, Director, Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), USAID; Moderators: Lewis Rasmussen, Director, Corporate Relations and Strategy, Pro-telligent, a Tetra Tech Company; Paul Larson, Project Management and Business Analyst, Macfadden.

MEDIA, CONFLICT AND SECURITY. 12/5, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: University of Southern California (USC). Speaker: Philip Seib, Vice Dean, Professor, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, USC.

US-RUSSIAN RELATIONS AND THE NEW COLD WAR. 12/5, Noon. Sponsor: Women’s Foreign Policy Group. Speaker: Angela Stent, Professor, Director, Center for Eurasian, Russian & East European Studies, Georgetown University.

FIGHTING FOR HUMANITY IN WAR. 12/5, 1:30-3:00pm. Sponsor: New America. Speakers: Yves Daccord, Director-General, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); Elisa Massimino, President, CEO, Human Rights First; Moderator: Rosa Brooks, Senior Fellow, Future of War, New America Foundation.

INVESTING IN THE FUTURE OF U.S. DEFENSE DURING A TIME OF TRANSITION AT HOME AND ABROAD. 12/5, 2:00-4:00pm. Sponsor: Brookings Institution. Speakers: Robert O. Work, Deputy Secretary of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense; Joan Dempsey, Executive Vice President, Deputy Director, Defense and Intelligence Group, Booz Allen Hamilton; Alan Easterling, Corporate Director, Strategic Development, Northrop Grumman; William Lynn, Chief Executive Officer, Leonardo North America and DRS Technologies, Inc.; Kelly Marchese, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP; Moderator: Michael E. O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Director of Research, Foreign Policy, Co-Director, Sydney Stein, Jr. Chair, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence.

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BUILDING THE U.S.-JAPAN ECONOMIC RELATIONSHIP IN A NEW ERA. 12/5, 3:30-5:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Simon Chair, CSIS. Speakers: Yorihiko Kojima, Honorary Chairman, Mitsubishi Corporation; Yoshiji Nogami, President, Japan Institute of International Affairs; Fujiyo Ishiguro, President, CEO, Netyear Group Corporation; Yorizumi Watanabe , Professor of International Political Economy, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University; Moderator: Matthew P. Goodman, William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Senior Adviser, Asian Economics, CSIS. Location: CSIS, 1616 Rhode Island Ave., NW. Contact:

GREAT STRATEGIC RIVALRIES: ROME VERSUS CARTHAGE. 12/5, 5:30-7:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). Speakers: Author Barry S. Strauss, Bryce and Edith Bowmay Professor in Humanistic Studies at Cornell University; Ambassador Eric Edelman, CSBA Counselor.

AMERICA'S RUSSIA POLICY HAS FAILED. 12/5, 6:30-8:00pm. Sponsor: Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP). Speaker: Matthew Rojansky, Director, Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC).

THE FICTION OF MEMORY. 12/5, 6:30-7:45pm. Sponsors: Kavli Foundation; Society of Scientific Society President; Carnegie Institution for Science. Speaker: Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor, Psychology & Social Behavior, Criminology, Law & Society, Cognitive Sciences, University of California Irvine.

Three reports about Japan

1. Japan’s Payout Most Among U.S. Allies. Yomiuri Shimbun, November 16, 2016. 
        The Japanese overnment plans to ask U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to reconsider the comments he made during his campaign demanding that U.S. allies, including Japan, spend more to host U.S. forces, according to sources. Tokyo believes Japan already bears a large share of the costs. In addition to its host nation support, Japan has been sharing other expenses, including those for relocating U.S. forces. Its financial contribution comes to about ¥760 billion a year, the highest among U.S. allies, according to the Defense Ministry’s internal calculations.
According to the report [not published], Estimated Amount of Host Nation Support for Stationing U.S. Forces (in billions of US dollars)

Japan
6.88
South Korea
0.91
Germany
1.7
Italy
0.4
Britain
0.26
Spain
0.14
Saudi Arabia
0.06
   
1b. New webpage created on Japanese PM website to explain GSDF’s new dutiesYomiuri, November 19, 2016         
Defense Minister Tomomi Inada issued an order on Nov. 18 assigning the new duties of “rushing to the rescue” and “joint defense of camps” to the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) troops to be sent to South Sudan for UN peacekeeping operations (PKO). In light of the uncertain security situation in South Sudan, the people are still concerned about these new duties. Therefore, the government created on the same day a special webpage on the new GSDF duties on the Kantei (Prime Minister’s Official Residence) website for the purpose of dispelling such concerns.
The new webpage uses videos, photos, and graphics to explain the significance of the SDF mission in South Sudan and details of the new duties. In answer to concerns about increased risks faced by SDF members, the webpage says that the new duties “will only be performed within the scope of the SDF’s capability while ensuring safety.” 
2. Japanese Back Global Engagement Despite Concern About Domestic Economy: Roughly half see U.S. as a threat, majority see U.S. in decline by Bruce Stokes, Director, Global Economic Attitudes, PewResearch Center, 10/31/16, 24 pgs. 
 A telephone survey conducted April 26 to May 29, 2016 of 1,000 respondents in Japan found that a majority (58%) believe that it is a good thing for Japan to be economically involved with the world. 59% of the Japanese public also support aiding other countries in dealing with their own problems. Looking outward is juxtaposed against the 62% who say Japan should limit its military role in the Asia-Pacific region, and the merely 30% who believe economic conditions in their country are good (down 7% from last year).
 Views of longtime ally the United States and regional rival China remain consistent: 72% of Japanese have a favorable view of the United States, while 86% express an unfavorable opinion of China. However, this optimism does not translate into faith in US hegemony. About 61% say the U.S. plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader today compared with 10 years ago. The survey also found that only 9% of Japanese polled have confidence in Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in world affairs; an overwhelming 82% expressed no confidence.
 Japanese are divided on the state of their country: 47% are satisfied and 45% are dissatisfied. Yet contentment with the country’s direction today is at its highest since 2002. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe draws generally positive reviews; 52% approve of his handling of the economy, and 74% give a positive grade to Abe’s handling of relations with the United States
2b. Report     Data
2c. See also: Commentary: Japanese among most outward looking by Bruce Stokes, PewResearch, Nikkei Asian Review, November 2, 2016
Japan remains one of the world’s worst-performing nations in tackling climate change, think tank Germanwatch said Wednesday. Japan was deemed the second-worst performer of 57 countries and Taiwan, this year’s Climate Change Performance Index report showed. The report said Tokyo’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions center on reactivating nuclear energy as more or less the only alternative to fossil fuels, “instead of sufficiently promoting renewable energy.”
The performance of the world’s two largest emitters, USA (43) and China (48), is still rated "poor" in the CCPI. The United States lost some ground in almost every Index category and as a result dropped several places. The election results in the USA might pose risks to the speed of the ongoing transition. The election of Donald Trump as president has however not yet had any influence on the policy evaluation presented in CCPI 2017. Despite China being rated “poor”, positive developments are seen thanks to shrinking consumption of coal globally, which resulted in China stopping the construction of 30 coal fired power plants the last year.
About Climate Change Performance Index: https://germanwatch.org/en/CCPI

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The think tanks of Donald Trump


Jason Stahl discussing his forthcoming book on conservative think tanks
at the Library of Congress in January 2010

Who is giving President-elect Trump advice is THE question in Washington. Until recently, most would not admit to this and others publicly rejected an association. In April, the LA Times identified eight men who advise candidate Trump, including Japanese American Retired Army Major General Bert Mizusawa.

Heritage's Dr. James Carafano is reportedly overseeing the National Security/Foreign Policy transition.

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Aside from the Heritage Foundation, the other think tanks that are said to have some influence on Mr. Trump's thinking are less well-known, less establishment mainstream. Many are funded by the Koch Brothers who opposed Mr. Trump and are pro-free trade. As Politico observed: "The president-elect, in filling out his transition team and administration, has drawn heavily from the vast network of donors and advocacy groups built by the billionaire industrialist brothers, who have sought to reshape American politics in their libertarian image."

The traditional think tank homes of foreign policy professionals appear to have fallen out of favor.  This interesting phenomenon will test the theory that think tanks are merely lobbying platforms as opposed to sources for original thinking as funders, especially foreign, will reconsider their investments. 


Here are those that are mentioned:

· American Action Forum
, https://www.americanactionforum.org/.

· American Civil Rights Union, http://www.theacru.org/mission-statement/.

· American Crossroads, http://www.americancrossroads.org/

· American Enterprise Inst. (AEI), http://www.aei.org/

· American Foreign Policy Council, http://www.afpc.org/

· Americans for Prosperity, http://americansforprosperity.org/national-site

· Americans for Tax Reform, http://www.atr.org/

· Atlas Economic Research Foundation, http://atlasnetwork.org/

· Cato Institute, http://www.cato.org/

· Center for Immigration Studies, http://cis.org/.

· Center for International Private Enterprise, http://www.cipe.org/ .

· Center for Public Justice, http://www.cpjustice.org/public/page/content/homepage

· Center for Security Policy, http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/

· Center for the National Interest, http://www.cftni.org/

· Charles Koch Institute, https://www.charleskochinstitute.org/

· Competitive Enterprise Institute, http://www.cei.org/

· Concerned Veterans for Americahttps://cv4a.org/

· Conservative Action Project, http://conservativeactionproject.com/

· Cornwall Alliance, http://cornwallalliance.org/

· Council for National Policy, http://www.cfnp.org/

· Economic Strategy Institute, http://www.econstrat.org/

· Employment Policies Institute, https://www.epionline.org/

· Family Research Council, http://www.frc.org/

· Federalist Society, http://www.fed-soc.org/

· Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI),
http://www.fpri.org/

· Freedom Works, http://www.freedomworks.org

· Frontiers of Freedom, https://www.ff.org/

· Heartland Institute, http://www.heartland.org/

· Heritage Foundation,
http://www.heritage.org/

· Hoover Institution, http://www.hoover.org/

· Hudson Institute, http://www.hudson.org/

· Institute for Energy Researchhttp://instituteforenergyresearch.org/ 

· Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, http://www.ifpa.org

· Institute for the Study of War, http://www.understandingwar.org/

· International Assessment and Strategy Center (IASC), http://www.strategycenter.net/

· Jamestown Foundation, https://jamestown.org/.

· Manhattan Institute, http://www.manhattan-institute.org/

· Mercatus Center (George Mason U), https://www.mercatus.org/

· Project 2049 Institute, http://project2049.net

· Tax Foundation, http://taxfoundation.org/.

· The Foreign Policy Initiative, http://www.foreignpolicyi.org/

· The Jamestown Foundation, http://www.jamestown.org/

· United States Business and Industry Council, http://americaneconomicalert.org/default.asp

To research see: 

Free Trade Think Tank Directoryhttp://freedomtotrade.org/coalition
How the Tea Party thinks about think tankshttp://atlasnetwork.org/blog/2010/08/think-tank-primer/
Organization that tracks the Tea Party, Think Progress, http://thinkprogress.org
The following two conferences held this year also give insight into who may be have some influence:

Advancing American Security: The Future of U.S. Foreign Policy by the Charles Koch Institute (May 2016)

The best blog on think tanks, Think Tank Watch, however, finds an interesting anomaly in the sources of Trump inspiration.

Meet Trump's New Favorite Think Tank (July 1, 2016)

Presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has a new favorite think tank, and it is not who you think. You may have guessed something like the Heritage Foundation or the Hudson Institute or even the Hoover Institution. Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

Trump's new favorite think tank is the liberal, union-backed think tank Economic Policy Institute (EPI). No folks, we are not making this up. On June 28 Trump gave an economic and trade speech which frequently cited statistics from EPI. In fact, in a footnoted version of the speech, he cited EPI 20 times. There was nary a single citation from a conservative think tank, which he also relies on from time to time.

The only other think tanks mentioned in the citations were the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and the conservative Tax Foundation, which each had one citation.

EPI, of course, it not too keen on being linked to Donald Trump, and has called his latest take on trade a "scam." After all, EPI bills itself as the first (and the premier) think tank to focus on the economic conditions of low- and middle-income Americans and their families. Being linked to a billionaire is a huge no-no.

From 2010 to 2014, about 57% of EPI funding came from foundation grants, while another 27% came from labor unions. The remainder came from a mix of organizations, corporations, individuals, and others.

The Wall Street Journal recently called EPI "the AFL-CIO's think tank," referring to the largest federation of unions in the United States.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Monday in Washington, November 28, 2016

HOW CAN FINANCE MINISTRIES SUPPORT A SUSTAINABLE HIV RESPONSE? 11/28, 10:30am-Noon. Sponsor: Center for Global Development. Speakers: Deborah L. Birx, Ambassador-at-Large, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, U.S. Department of State; Ramin Toloui, Assistant Secretary for International Finance, U.S. Department of the Treasury; A.K. Nandakumar, Professor of the Practice, Director, Institute for Global Health and Development, Brandeis University, Chief Economist, Global Health, U.S. Agency for International Development; Mike Ruffner, Deputy Coordinator, Financial and Programmatic Sustainability, Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy; Laura Trimble, Associate Director for Budget and Financial Accountability, Office of Technical Assistance, U.S. Department of the Treasury; Moderator: Amanda Glassman, Vice President, Programs, Director, Global Health Policy, Center for Global Development.

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ALLIANCES AND AMERICAN LEADERSHIP PROJECT LAUNCH. 11/28, 2:00-3:30pm. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Michael J. Green, Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair, CSIS; Andrew Shearer, Senior Adviser on Asia-Pacific Security; Admiral Gary Roughead, Former Chief of Naval Operations, USN (Ret.); Heather A. Conley, Senior Vice President for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic; and Director, Europe Program, CSIS; Jon B. Alterman; Senior Vice President, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and Director, Middle East Program, CSIS; Kathleen Hicks, Senior Vice President; Henry A. Kissinger Chair, Director, International Security Program, CSIS.

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MESSENGERS OF THE RIGHT: CONSERVATIVE MEDIA AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF AMERICAN POLITICS. 11/28, 4:00-5:30pm. Sponsors: National History Center, American Historical Association; History and Public Policy Program, Wilson Center. Speakers: Author Nicole Hemmer, Contributing Editor, US News & World Report, Columnist, The Age, Australia; Moderators: Eric Arnesen, GWU; Christian Ostermann, Wilson Center. 

WHAT'S NEXT, FOR AMERICA AND ISRAEL? CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD. 11/28, 4:30-6:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: SAIS, Johns Hopkins. Speakers: Ambassador Ron Dermer, Ambassador of Israel to the United States; Moderator: Laura Blumenfeld, Senior Fellow, Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Can Asia survive the shock of Trump-ageddon?

Or will he be pragmatic?

BY JEFF KINGSTON, director of Asian Studies at Temple University, Japan Campus and APP member
The Japan Times, November 19, 2016

Donald Trump made some outlandish promises to win the U.S. presidential election. America and the world will survive, but he poses significant risks to the global economy and the peace that has prevailed in East Asia since 1979. His denial of global warming also means America will provide no leadership on climate change and the world will likely pay a high price for his ignorance.

If he does rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement and start a trade war with China, Trump will spark a global financial meltdown. Post-Brexit markets are already jittery, especially given concerns about the troubled state of China’s economy. In this context, Trump’s “America first” strategy (aka “Wrexit”) could have catastrophic consequences.

His transition team is currently in damage-control mode as they try to walk back some of his more unsettling proposals. Having proved the media and pollsters wrong about the election, can Trump prove the critics wrong about his leadership qualities and policy agenda?

He has a deep hole to climb out of because of his hatemongering. This is the reason why most Americans did not vote for him: he pandered to the primordial impulses that lurk in the dark soul of America, playing people like a revivalist promising redemption and a return to glory. But he showed us he is a callow charlatan and shyster carrying a huge chip on his shoulder. And worse, he is easily provoked into mistakes. Trump imperils the world with his vengeful short fuse.

Now his advisers are trying to convince us to ignore all that campaign nastiness and hope he won’t be as bad as we fear. Given Trump can’t surprise on the downside, can he pull off some positive surprises? Perhaps he will accept adult supervision and we will avoid the nightmare of Loony Donald doing what he promised and sparking a global economic meltdown, but that means Lying Donald would betray his supporters by not delivering what he promised — and probably blaming everyone but himself.

Asian leaders are scrambling to respond to President-elect Trump. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pinned his legacy on strengthening security ties with the U.S. and rejuvenating the Japanese economy through his Abenomics strategy. But Abenomics has been a dismal failure, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade accord represented the last hope for meaningful structural reform in Japan — the “third arrow” of Abe’s three-pronged strategy. Trump wants no part of TPP so there will be no final arrow.

Abe also saw TPP as part of a geopolitical strategy to keep the U.S. engaged in Asia as a counterweight to China. That is also why he signed the U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines in 2015 and rammed unpopular security legislation through the Diet to ease constitutional restrictions on Japan’s armed forces. Abe likely sees Trump’s isolationist and protectionist impulses as a menace to everything he has tried to accomplish. Yet Abe has terrible chemistry with U.S. President Barack Obama, so he is seeking closer personal ties with Trump by fawning on him. He understands that the president-elect is a brittle creature, desperate for praise and attention, who suffers from zero credibility on the world stage. Peevish Trump rewards friends and lashes out against those who disdain him.

Thus, a worried Abe rushed to meet Trump on Nov. 17 to seek reassurance that the new president remains committed to the alliance. Abe did Trump a great favor by pronouncing him trustworthy. It’s likely he reiterated that Japan is not a free-rider on U.S. defense — it pays close to $2 billion a year for hosting U.S. military bases, about 75 percent of all costs, considerably more than in South Korea (40 percent) and Germany (33 percent). But if Trump has his way, Japan will have to up the ante.

Typhoon Trump puts wind into the sails of Abe’s agenda for constitutional revision: The U.S. security umbrella that helped make the war-renouncing Article 9 possible is looking ragged. In 2015, a Genron poll indicated that only 9.2 percent of Japanese regard the U.S. as a “very reliable” ally, but judging from the Japanese dismay that greeted Trump’s victory, that figure has no doubt declined. Does the U.S. have Japan’s back? A post-election NHK poll revealed only 5 percent of Japanese think U.S. relations will improve under Trump.

Trump’s rhetoric has generated uncertainties among U.S. friends and allies in Asia and reinforced a sense of American decline. Perceptions shape reality, so his loose talk about South Korea and Japan developing nuclear weapons, accusations of free riding and thinking aloud about reconsidering U.S. security commitments has set off alarm bells. Seoul is preoccupied by a leadership crisis and Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons — problems complicated by Trump’s heedlessness. His perfunctory phone calls and advisers’ bromides provide little reassurance.

Trump’s cavalier remarks have done a great favor to China by sowing seeds of doubt about U.S. intentions and resolve in Asia. However, this is destabilizing and increases the chances of a miscalculation in the region. The peace that has prevailed in Asia since 1979 is at risk, not only because security arrangements are being recalibrated, but also because Trump may trigger major economic upheaval and stoke bellicose nationalism.

Asian diplomats I have spoken to are putting on a brave face, hoping that Trump will be transactional and pragmatic on foreign policy. They have survived other nescient buffoons — former presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush — and expect that U.S. foreign policy will settle back into old patterns.

Malaysia’s corrupt leader and Thailand’s authoritarian regime will be happy to see the last of Obama and will hope the negative scrutiny abates under Trump. Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi was close to Obama, but it is hard to imagine that she can build similar rapport with a misogynist such as Trump. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will welcome another demagogue to the growing fraternity while his Hindu chauvinist supporters revel in Trump’s Islamophobia. But this prejudice won’t play well in Pakistan, Bangladesh or Indonesia, the nation with the world’s largest Muslim population. Singapore frets about reckless moves on trade and security while the Philippine’s erratic President Rodrigo Duterte will meet his match. Despite concerns about a trade war, Beijing has to be gloating about the weakened U.S. influence in Asia gifted by Trump. And the rest of Asia? Nervously imagining a Pax Sinica.