The Changing Role of the US in Asia

This project aims to create greater understanding of how the role of the United States in Asia is changing.

President Barack Obama’s November 2011 announcement of the rebalancing of the United States to the Asia-Pacific region made clear his intention that America would sustain its leading role in the region. However, many questions remain over what role the US will play in regional challenges, now, and in the future.

Growing economic power in Asia has coincided with increased regional tension and growing uncertainty. Given such challenges, the role of the US in Asia may be crucial in maintaining peace and stability. Yet friends and potential adversaries of the US remain uncertain as to the willingness of America to act. Furthermore, despite President Obama’s 2011 pronouncement, many remain unclear as to how the US will maintain a strong role in the Asia given competing global challenges and perceived US retrenchment. 

This study will address the following core questions:

  • What alliance structure does the United States need in Asia-Pacific, given the principal threats to the US over the next two decades? 
  • How do US partners and allies in the region view the changing role of the US?
  • What narratives are emerging regarding the distribution of power in the region and are they accurate?

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