In a cavernous Manila exhibition hall, flooded with light, U.S. President Donald Trump stood flanked by members of his national security team to deliver remarks to the press in November 2017. Joking that the White House press corps would need a day to recover from his first Asia trip – which covered five countries – the president observed, “It’s been an incredible 12 days. I’ve made a lot of friends at the highest levels.”
After intense public back-and-forth over Trump’s attendance at the 2017 East Asia Summit in the Philippines, he departed immediately following the leaders’ lunch, but before delivering official remarks. Officials cited a tight schedule, noting that the summit was running behind. Then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was left behind to speak in the president’s stead.
Nearly one year later, onlookers are still seeking clarity about the Trump administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy. Characterized by a newly declared strategic competition with China, “fair and reciprocal” trade deals, a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and increased emphasis on the Quad – a diplomatic grouping of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States – Trump’s approach is in some respects a predictable evolution of U.S. regional policy, while in other ways deeply disruptive. The administration’s ability to reconcile these competing forces into affirmative policy solutions will be the single largest factor that determines its relative success.
Read the full article in The Diplomat.
More from CNAS
To Help Afghanistan, Engage Its Political Opposition
The effort to help Afghans shape a better alternative should begin now....
By Richard Fontaine & Lisa Curtis
The Fall and Rise of the Quad
The Quad has become the linchpin of US strategy to maintain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and to counter increased Chinese aggression and hegemony....
By Lisa Curtis
Ukraine, Japan and the Korean War’s 21st-Century Parallel
Rather than foreshadowing deadlier and more destructive wars to come, Ukraine’s struggle could provide the path to averting them....
By Vance Serchuk
What Are The Opportunities & Challenges In India-US Ties?
Lisa Curtis joins Times Now to discuss the issues and the opportunities that continue to dominate the relations between India and the USA. Watch the full interview from Times...
By Lisa Curtis