Understanding the interconnectedness of the United States and Asia is more important than ever now that President Trump has begun to carve out his policy priorities for the region. In a recent piece for NPR entitled Trump In Asia: A 'Rebalance' Toward Trade, East-West Center in Washington Director Satu P. Limaye pointed out that while many messages came from Trump's trip to Asia, one theme remained constant: that trade, investment, and commercial relations are a core emphasis in the US rebalance towards Asia. The President's trip - the most expansive of any sitting US president in the last 25 years - included a speech at the APEC summit in Danang which devoted more than a third of its words to US-Asia economic relations. There was also some language cautiously confronting what are seen as unfair economic practices within China's Belt and Road Initiative.
Dr. Limaye's article also points out that conspicuously absent from Trump's language during the trip was the phrase "American leadership." This and any focus on America's alliances in the region were largely replaced by language on fairness and economic opening of the region. While the President did work to reafirm traditional US security alliances in bilateral meetings, he remained quieter on the issues of the South China Sea and human rights.
As it is the market for more than a third of all US exports, and economic ties are rapidly expanding, now is an important time to become acquainted with the ways in which Asia impacts the everyday lives of Americans.
The full piece by Dr. Limaye includes further analysis on what the trip means for US involvement in the region, and what to look for moving forward. It can be found here.