Author: Dr Douglas Stuart
Deciding when, where, and how to prioritize is the essence of strategy. U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to designate the Indo-Asia-Pacific (IAP) as his top regional priority made good sense, in light of the ongoing shift in economic power from West to East and the rise of China as a potential global and regional peer competitor. The Obama Administration has attempted to use all available instruments of American power—diplomatic, information, military, and economic—to gain the support of regional friends and allies for its “pivot to Asia.” Rather than a “one size fits all” approach, Washington has attempted to adapt its recruitment efforts to the specific interests and concerns of each regional actor. The U.S. campaign has benefitted from the fact that most IAP governments recognize the value of an active American presence in the region at a time of growing Chinese assertiveness. If Obama, and his successor, can sustain the pivot, it can serve as the foundation for U.S. grand strategy in the 21st century.