Why the Next U.S. President Must Focus on Asia

Commentary | August 25, 2016

Writing for TIME, EWI East Asia Fellow J. Berkshire Miller argues that the stakes are high in Asia and the prosperity and security of the continent continues to directly link to U.S. interests.

In the coming weeks and months, political campaigning will continue to touch more and more on key foreign policy issues, including the future of the fight against ISIS and how to deal with an increasingly assertive Russia. Yet one of the critical issues that needs to be addressed in a bipartisan and coherent manner is maintaining—and indeed strengthening—the trajectory of U.S. efforts to “rebalance” its resources and attention to the Asia-Pacific.

Up until this point, the Obama administration’s pivot or rebalance has enjoyed a relative reprieve from the acute bipartisan trench tactics on other issues, such as President Obama’s policies in the Middle East-North Africa region. The same unfortunately cannot be said of election rhetoric. Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, has been divisive and incoherent thus far with his messaging towards Asia. This has included statements that call into questions the value and purpose of Washington’s longstanding alliances in East Asia, notably those with Japan and South Korea. This bombast is both counter-factual and ignorant to the United States’ geopolitical interests in the region.


The full commentary can be accessed here.