America's Pacific Century? China and US Relations

In November, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton hosted the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, followed by a nine-day Asia Pacific tour. At APEC, Clinton called the 21st-century “America’s Pacific Century,” delineated in her recent Foreign Policy article. Our panel outlines the signs - political, economic and military - that would lead one to believe the claim’s veracity. The first paper, presented by Tina Gerhardt, highlights the economic agenda of Obama’s and Clinton's trip, including the free trade agreement agitated for at APEC; their ASEAN summit stop in Indonesia; Obama's Australia visit; and Clinton's Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam visits. The military moves include 2500 additional US troops in Australia and the mid-January, 2012 decrease in the US military budget yet increased focus on the Asia Pacific region. Taken together, these economic and military developments could be read as signs of major geopolitical shifts in Obama's foreign policy. Yet, as Lucia Green-Weiskel argues in the second paper, rather than reading these events as a realignment of U.S. foreign policy from the Middle East to Asia, they actually make explicit a long-standing U.S. outlook on Asia, dating back to 1949, whereby China’s rise represents a threat to US security. Will the new and existing US bases in South Korea and Japan embolden China to assume a hostile posture in order to counter-balance the US? Third panelist to be announced.

Sponsoring Journal:
The Nation

Panel Topics:
U.S. Politics
Southeast Asia

Held on Sunday March 18, 2012 from 12 noon until 1:50 PM in Room W617 at Pace University in New York City, New York.

Moderated by Tina Gerhardt, independent journalist/academic with Bo Ma, CUNY Graduate Center, Lucia Green-Weiskel, CUNY, and Michael T. Klare, The Nation, Hampshire College. Sponsored by The Nation.

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