China's initiative for an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has been gaining momentum with more governments indicating interest and in-principle support.

Yet reports have emerged that the United States opposes the idea and is leaning on allies to stay out. With China hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November, this issue is coming to a boil.

American objections should not surprise. The AIIB proposal runs against the established regional and global order, in which the Americans dominate the World Bank while the Japanese traditionally head the Asian Development Bank. Yet such arrangements, based on history, fail to reflect the reality of China's current and still-growing economic weight. The existing banks also seem unable to meet the real needs for infrastructure across Asia, both presently and into the future.