HONG KONG -- The outpouring of sympathy and support for survivors of the Dec. 26 tsunami continues around the world, providing striking testament to humanity's willingness to help each other in times of need.

On a different level, the responses also illustrate the geopolitical positioning of the world's political players, particularly in Asia. The political implications of the disaster -- and of the response of various countries -- were recognized early on.

U.S. President George W. Bush was urged to make a personal appearance to express his sympathy to the victims because, analysts said, such a move could help shape views of the United States in a region crucial to American interests. And so, on Dec. 29, the president appeared in public to discuss the tsunami disaster and American efforts to help its victims.