Forget the dodo-esque Free Trade Area of the Americas, have you heard of the Free Trade Area of the Pacific?
Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong, speaking to US-ASEAN constituency at the recently-concluded APEC summit in Sydney, Australia, has hinted at one, as well as an APEC-wide FTA. There has even also been talks of a necessary US leadership on the Doha trade talks, especially after it floundered in Hong Kong last year:
the US commitment to free trade sets the tone for the rest of the world, he noted, which is why a successful conclusion of the Doha Round on free trade would not be possible without American leadership.
You can imagine how the rest of the tale goes: Singapore pretty much kowtowing to the US on its sterling leadership on trade talks; the US having confidence reposed in it by the country of Singapore on the Middle East , Israel-Palestine; and the necessity of quid-pro-quo policies:
As for Washington’s concerns in the Middle East, Lee said that if the US is able to stabilise the situation in Iraq and make progress on the Israel-Palestine issue, it will change the balance and psychology of the region. That, in turn, will “benefit not just South-east Asia, but also countries around the world.”
The US administration must be laughing all the way to the ASEAN region.
Oops, I forgot it's already there--and has been for a good thirty years.
At a time when Singapore--assuming the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN this year--is doing a Pavlov to the US, especially at a critical time for the US when 9/11 is as close as it is, the region--and most likely Singapore--can count on some heavy US support for the future!