As President-elect Donald Trump pursues an isolationist policy that abrogates international treaties and implements trade barriers, the role of global economic leadership will largely pass to the Pacific Rim.
He has vowed to get tough with China and other foreign nations. But ironically, Trump's implacable stance may empower Beijing and its allies, at America's expense.
During a summit meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders this week in Peru, the Asian leaders in attendance expressed enormous concern about the incoming Trump administration's stated intention to abandon trade agreements, particularly the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
America's retreat from the TPP and other international pacts designed to make trade more efficient would actually embolden China and other Asian countries, as they set up their own trade agreements and lending institutions to fill the vacuum left by the U.S.
The upshot: The time is ripe to invest in select Pacific Rim stocks.
The most promising and under-reported Asian investment story right now is South Korea. This overlooked country affords long-term, stable investment growth in an increasingly uncertain and volatile world.
The best direct play on South Korean prosperity is the iShares MSCI South Korea Capped Exchange-Traded Fund (EWY) .
A lengthening list of anxieties bedevils investors, including the European migrant crisis and terrorism. But through it all, one multi-year trend remains inexorable: the growth of newly affluent middle classes in emerging markets, especially Asia.
The growing army of gadget-addicted consumers in developing regions bodes well for South Korea, a country often ignored by the media and investors.
South Korea can proudly lay claim to being one of the world's most compelling success stories, rising from war-torn austerity and harsh dictatorship to democracy and thriving free enterprise in a mere half century.