What are President Obama’s chief legacies across Asia and the Pacific, the
new fulcrum of world economics and geopolitics? Was there a distinctive
underlying philosophy and strategy for the region which guided Obama’s
thinking and policies, such as ‘pragmatic realism’, hegemonic
ordering/liberal internationalism, or hawkish humanitarianism? Since Obama,
what has President Donald Trump’s ‘principled realism’ meant in practice?
How far has Trump progressed in challenging or disrupting Obama’s strategy
to ‘pivot to Asia’? What differences can we discern in the declared or
effective US strategy towards Asia and to what extent has it radically
shifted or displaced Obama-era legacies? Finally, what might be the
longer-term consequences, both for American power and the Asian region, of
the strategies pursued by the Trump administration and its predecessors?
Though we appear to be at a key historical moment, this is hardly the first
time American elites have faced uncertainty over grand strategy in broad
terms or in the context of specific areas of the world. Yet the stakes now
seem higher, as the spectre of economic and military conflicts hangs over
the Asia, and broader Indo-, Pacific regions.
This edited volume explores the political, economic and security legacies former
US President Barack Obama leaves across Asia and the Pacific, following two
terms in office between 2009 and 2017. The aim is to advance our understanding
of Obama’s style, influence and impact by interrogating the nature and contours
of US engagement throughout the region, and the footprint he leaves behind.
Moreover, it is to inform upon the endurance of, and prospects for, the legacies
Obama leaves in a region increasingly reimaged in Washington as the
Indo-Pacific. Contributors to the volume examine these questions in early 2019,
at around the halfway point of the 2017–2021 Presidency of Donald Trump, as his
administration opens a new and potentially divergent chapter of American
internationalism. The volume uniquely explores the contours and dimensions of US
relations and interactions with key Indo-Pacific states including China, India,
Japan, North Korea and Australia; multilateral institutions and organisations
such the East Asia Summit and ASEAN; and salient issue areas such as regional
security, politics and diplomacy, and the economy. It does so with contributions
from high-profile scholars and policy practitioners, including Michael
Mastanduno, Bruce Cumings, Maryanne Kelton, Robert Sutter and Sumit Ganguly. The
volume will be of interest to students and scholars of the international
relations of Asia and the Pacific, broadly defined; US foreign policy and global
engagement; the record and legacies of former President Barack Obama; and the
foreign policies of the administration of President Donald Trump.