United States Geo-strategy in Asia Pacific; Change or Continuation?

Document Type : Original Article


PhD Student of International Relations, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Asia pacific is an important region in world economy and security. Given to this, and because
of growing power of china and increased threat of North Korea, U.S. in recent years has
concentrated to this region. It's clear manifestation was Asia pivot or rebalancing by Obama's
administration. But, Donald Trump as elected U.S. new president both in his election
campaign and after winning the completion, has declared some new principles that are very
different from past. Because of this, in this article, we are seeking the answer to these
question: is there a new trend in U.S. in relation to Asia Pacific? Do the geostrategic pivot of
Washington in changing?
With a descriptive-analytical method, present work try to analyze the limitation and
requirements of U.S. Foreign Policy in contemporary era.
The significances of Asia pacific for U.S. are:
- Presence of U.S. allies in this region;
- Growing region Economic contribution in world economy;
- China's rising;
- North Korea threat;
- Taiwan issue;
- South and east China sea.
American Asia Pivot strategy: Asia pivot is the strategy the U.S. under Obama specially
from 2011 has pursued. The pillars of this strategy are:
- Promotion of U.S. alliance system and increase the relations with rising partners
- Enforcing institutional and multilateral presence
- Enhancing military activity in the region
- Trying to promoting the human rights situation in regional countries
The limitations and opportunities of U.S. declared policy by Trump in Asia
Pacific region:
Donald Trump has declared some promises that some of them are impossible because of their
costs for American position in international system and its economy and welfare of people.
These declared policies by Trump include: increasing tariffs on imported goods from China
to U.S.; decreasing Washington support of allies; exit from some institutional framework
such as TPP and … .
This study for analyzing this issue has focused on behavioral requirements of a pole in
unipolar system. For keeping the status quo, U.S. as the only pole in international system
should maintains its alliances with regional power to balance against a growing power. In
addition to this, increasing tariff against Chinese goods causes retaliation from china. This,
also can increase the prices of goods in U.S.. Moreover, retreating from T.P.P leads to
increase in China's regional and institutional role. It should be noted that contrary to Trump
naive view, American companies have gone to china because of cheap labors costs, as a result
they don’t prefer to come back to U.S. even, they prefer to go to cheaper countries such as
Given to this situation and existence a systemic approach in U.S. establishment on grand
strategy of white house, it seems that Washington maintains its alliances in Asia Pacific,
keeps its military presence, and as same as past, U.S. will prefer to continue its relations with
China, so their relation have both elements of conflict and cooperation. In addition, Trump
administration probably continue American Taiwan past policy, and we don’t see any break
from conventional policy.
It seems that the U.S. under Trump will follow the major of rules that may maintain their
country as the salience power in international system. Even if he want to basically change its
foreign policy, the establishment oppose to his approach. Keeping the status quo, trying to
maintain unipolar System that U.S. is its leader, has some requirements that American leaders
know it well.