Given China’s growing power and willingness to challenge the established security order in East Asia, allies and partners have become increasingly concerned about the political will and ability of the United States to sustain its leadership role in the region. At the heart of the problem is the absence of a clearly articulated grand strategy for dealing with China’s rise which effectively links political, economic, military and institutional dimensions of America’s engagement in the region. Under the previous administration of President Barack Obama, a “pivot” (or “strategic rebalance”) towards Asia aimed at providing such a strategy but arguably failed to prevent Chinese assertiveness and to reassure allies. The new government of Donald Trump further exacerbated this problem by abandoning key pillars of the “rebalance” without providing a coherent and viable alternative. As a result, the future of America’s strategic position in a changing Asia remains uncertain.
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