The United States and Asian Regionalism: The Politics of Reactive Leadership

Part of the The Political Economy of the Asia Pacific book series (PEAP)


The United States faces a central dilemma in its Asia policy. On the one hand, the U.S. has played a leading role in the region since the end of the Pacific War. It has been the “indispensable nation” for Asian security and prosperity, with extensive American security commitments promoting relative peace and stability, while the large American market, combined with U.S leadership underpinning the liberal economic order, have provided a stable basis for regional economic dynamism. The U.S has understandably grown comfortable with and supportive of its core economic and security policies in the region. And yet, regional enthusiasm for greater multilateral cooperation has begun to shift regional dynamics in ways that may begin to diminish U.S influence in Asian affairs. The rise of exclusive regional groupings like ASEAN+3 and the East Asia Summit have led to a flurry of initiatives ranging from regional FTAs to financial integration to other areas community-building, all of which exclude the United States. The U.S. has responded to this “new regionalism” in a somewhat uneven and ad hoc fashion. American reluctance to radically alter the status quo has put the U.S. in a defensive, reactive stance. U.S policymakers have sought to devise new policy tactics to counter unfavorable trends, but they have not been interested in reformulating the strategies that underpin U.S engagement in the region.


Bush Administration Asian Financial Crisis Security Agenda Obama Administration Regional Economic Integration 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Strategic and International StudiesWashingtonUSA

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