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Deepening economic interdependence in the wake of Asia's 1997 financial crisis has not generated political momentum for peace and cooperation.China's leaders, however, tend to suspect that the U.S. is deliberately trying to undermine their country's political stability by questioning its record on human rights and political freedoms.While much of the West is bound together by institutions such as the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe and NATO, East Asia's main body, the ASEAN Regional Forum, is too weak to play an analogous role, leaving the region beset with unregulated rivalries.So far, U.S. and East Asian leaders have done little beyond offering rhetorical support for the creation of multilateral security institutions. For example, China's leaders seem to believe that the 2008 economic crisis and the cost of two foreign wars have left the U.S. in no position to exercise international leadership.Though weakened economically, the U.S. remains a military superpower.
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