Since the end of the Second World War, the United States have played a major role in Asia. Measured against American participation in Asian affairs before 1939, Washington's post-war regional engagement has been nothing short of breathtaking. From limited involvement, the US transformed itself into a major player, if not the major player, on the Asian scene. This chapter seeks, therefore, to chart the development of American diplomacy in Asia since 1945 and explain how the US went about building its web of regional relationships and then maintaining them. Furthermore, it aims briefly to discuss the prospects for these regional relationships. In this context, it provides a broad introduction to those chapters that specifically explore Washington's bilateral relations with the principal regional actors.
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