Diplomacy a Cruise Through the Islands

Shultz assures old friends on a visit to the South Pacific

It was once a placid pond where Western powers could splash contentedly, encircled by a ring of friendly nations. The Philippines were American. Viet Nam (Indochina then) was French. Singapore was British. Indonesia belonged to the Netherlands. Then, after World War II, the slow move toward regional independence began. Today many of the small countries that dot the Pacific are fiercely nationalistic. Yet, at least for now, most of them remain closely allied with the West.

Last week Secretary of State George Shultz made a five-stop Asian trip to bolster those ties against recent strains, and to coincide with the annual...

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