Handbook on the United States in Asia
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Handbook on the United States in Asia

Managing Hegemonic Decline, Retaining Influence in the Trump Era

Edited by Andrew T.H. Tan

The centre of gravity in today’s global economy arguably now resides in Asia. As a result of this, the maintenance of geopolitical and economic security in Asia has become pivotal to global stability. This indispensable Handbook examines the crucial and multifaceted role of the United States as a force in the region that has been, and continues to be, necessary for the continuation of Asian prosperity.
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Chapter 7: U.S. economic engagement in Asia

Sean Kenji Starrs


U.S. economic engagement in Asia has been one of the core drivers of the development of globalization since the late twentieth century, and we cannot adequately understand one without the other, especially concerning the rise of China. We also need to move beyond national accounts such as GDP and reconceptualize how to investigate the dynamics of Asian–U.S. economic relations given the globalization of production, foreign ownership, and the uneven distribution of global value chains. After arguing why this is so, this chapter will present original empirical research to demonstrate the nature of U.S. engagement in Asia, especially China, and how the United States continues to benefit disproportionately from these economic relationships – contrary to popular perceptions of hegemonic and industrial American decline. The chapter concludes with certain implications from this analysis in regard to the populist upsurge in 2016 that elected Donald Trump as U.S. president, and possible paths forward.

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