This chapter examines the US role in Asia in a historical context and explains how it has evolved over the years as a result of the geostrategic changes taking place at regional and international level. As no foreign and defence policy is ever formulated in a vacuum, America’s regional role has been significantly shaped by the ever-changing strategic context and by the way in which American policymakers have perceived political change globally and regionally. It is against this backdrop that the current challenges to US pre-eminence in Asia should also be assessed. With the rise of Chinese economic and military power in the region and with uncertainties surrounding Washington’s ability and resolve to maintain a strong presence in Asia, the future of US power does not seem to be as assured as it was only a decade ago.
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