Sorry Mr. Trump, you may perceive it differently, but for Asia you were certainly not the most important political figure in 2017, despite your countless tweets on North Korea and a long Asian tour.
You have undoubtedly grabbed media attention in the region, but this hasn't translated into any meaningful outcome in terms of broadening and deepening US ties to this part of the world.
Your first year in office has brought only ambiguity and instability to Asia. It started with your widely criticized travel ban, barring people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. Then came your recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Your aim was to make the US safer with these measures, but you only managed to turn Muslims worldwide, including those in Asia, against you.
It's puzzling why the countries on your travel ban list included Iran, but not Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, which demonstrably promote radical terrorism, or at least tolerate it.
You have also not presented a convincing strategy to deal with Pakistan and, especially, Afghanistan. During the presidential election campaign, candidate Trump vowed to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan as quickly as possible. But now you even want to ramp up the number of American forces in the war-ravaged nation. You have neither a strategy nor a vision to tackle the situation there.
Your administration also hasn't taken any initiative to resolve the Rohingya crisis, which has seen massive atrocities being committed against hapless people and hundreds of thousands of victims displaced. Despite reports of widespread violence and abuse, the White House has remained silent. Even the Catholic Pope showed more compassion and urged for an end to the bloodshed of a people of a different faith.
You also have no strategy to counter the constant provocations emanating from the Kim Jong Un regime in North Korea, except a steady stream of tweets. The stringent international sanctions repeatedly imposed on the isolated East Asian nation have been unable to force Pyongyang to alter its belligerent behavior. Moreover, China and Russia have only half-heartedly embraced your efforts.
Despite your threats, the "rocketman" in Pyongyang has put his country in a position of strength — and in such a way that there is no alternative to holding direct talks. To resolve crises, alliances are needed, not symbolic gestures. And you have failed to forge these alliances.
The uncertain security situation on the Korean Peninsula has offered an excuse for the conservative Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to tinker with his country's pacifist constitution. It seems that the issue of Japanese trade surplus with the US has been put on the backburner since Abe courted you with "golf diplomacy."