From rebalancing to competition: The Trump administration’s grand strategy for the Indo-Pacific Region
College of Liberal Arts
Tamkang Journal of International Affairs
During his two terms as U.S. president, former President Barack Obama made the Asia-Pacific region the focal point of American strategic attention. In November 2011, he announced the U.S. pivot to Asia. His goal was to constrain China from easing out the U.S. as East Asia’s strategic offshore balancer. Contrary to expectations, the 2016 election of Donald Trump, did not spell the end of the strategic rebalancing to Asia. For the Trump Administration, the Asia-Pacific remains a top security priority for two reasons. One, North Korea’s nuclear weapons program poses a clear and present danger to the U.S. and its allies in Northeast Asia. And two, China’s naval expansion, island-building activities, and militarization efforts in the South China Sea threaten not only the freedom of navigation but also the rules-based international order. In conclusion, the article argues that there is a great deal of consistency between the Obama Administration’s strategic rebalancing and the Trump Administration’s emerging Indo-Pacific Strategy. However, the current administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy reflects both continuity as well as discontinuity with its predecessor’s rebalancing policy. On the one hand, neither U.S. national security interests nor Asia’s importance to Washington has changed in the Trump Administration. On the other hand, its policy also reflects discontinuity as it characterized China as a threat to U.S. interests and is geared to engage this emergent power in a long strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific region. © 2019, Tamkang University. All rights reserved.
Digitial Object Identifier (DOI)
De Castro, R. C. (2019). From rebalancing to competition: The Trump administration’s grand strategy for the Indo-Pacific Region. Tamkang Journal of International Affairs, 22 (4), 1-50. https://doi.org/10.6185/TJIA.V.201904_22(4).0001
International Relations | Political Science
United States—Foreign relations—Indo-Pacific Region; Indo-Pacific Region—Foreign relations—United States; Balance of power