Restarting the Rebalance to Asia

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Political Science



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Georgetown Journal of International Affairs


The U.S. pivot to the Indo-Asia-Pacific (IAP) region, some believe, is in danger of “death by President Trump.” While it is true that his comments on the region prior to his inauguration generated real concerns about his commitment to the security of key Asian allies, like South Korea and Japan, reports of the Pacific pivot’s imminent death are greatly exaggerated. Mr. Trump should recommit to the pivot (or “rebalance”) to the IAP for the same reason that the Obama team designated it as its top priority: the fundamental shift in economic, political and military power from the West to the East. The United States can benefit from this shift if it takes the initiative. On the other hand, as Kurt Campbell recently argued in The Pivot: The Future of American Statecraft in Asia : “… hesitance or inattention at this critical transition moment may allow the most dynamic region in the world to irrevocably drift in dangerous and counterproductive directions on many important issues.” Given that China will continue to be at the core of this regional transformation, of course, and helping IAP governments to deal with growing Chinese assertiveness should not be seen as an attempt by the U.S. to perpetuate American dominance in the IAP region.


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