“It is unclear if President Trump and his supporters understand that without the United States within the region … an America first policy may result in an America last policy,” Nagy said.

If Washington does not actively engage with countries in Asia Pacific, Nagy said, “my concern is that the region will become more dominated by geopolitics between China and other regional powers — that the consumer markets won’t be open to American and other powers.”

In addition to losing access to commerce in the world’s most populous region, there could be other destabilizing effects that may impact the U.S. in unpredictable ways, he warned.

China’s BRI comes with geopolitical ambitions of creating an economic hierarchy in the region — with Beijing at the top and other countries dependent on China, Nagy explained. This could make it difficult for those countries to stick to their independent political views, he added.

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