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U.S. Pivot to Asia and International Relations Theories

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Which international relations theory is most strongly expressed in the strategic pivot to Asia. What would a substantive improvement be to the American strategy? (see attached documents)

Would you recommend a policy of confrontation,cooperation or containment or a combination of all three using the relations theories (realism, liberalism, constructivism).

Do previous foreign policy doctrines of Presidents Truman, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, or Bush provide a useful precedent for the strategic pivot to Asia?


Author: Clinton, Hillary
Publication info: Foreign Policy 189 (Nov 2011): 56-63.

Dempsey: Asia-Pacific is of Global Strategic Import
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

Strategic and Economic Dialogue Joint Press Statement
Joint Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Beijing, China
May 4, 2012

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
February 14, 2012
Remarks by President Obama and Vice President Xi of the People's Republic of China Before Bilateral Meeting

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
February 14, 2012
Joint Fact Sheet on Strengthening U.S.-China Economic Relations

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US Pivot to Asia

An article by Glaser (2012) recently alleged that, "under the current administration, the pendulum in U.S. policy toward China has swung from attempting to cooperate with China on global problems to pushing back against Chinese assertiveness and challenges to international laws and norms...Beijing interpreted the U.S. approach as weakness, which, along with China's economic success and America's struggles, led to a year of Chinese hubris that manifested itself in a series of intimidating actions in China's neighborhood." Indeed, when Obama began his term as the 'leader of the free world' was to 'contain' China which in turn was interpreted by the Chinese leaders as the US strategizing to depower China's growing influence and might which in the Asia-Pacific region at least manifested as intensified competition between the US and China. For instance, the Spratly Islands issue between the Philippines, China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei. With the Spratly Islands lying off the coast of the Philippines, the US has sent its Navy along on an exercise earlier this year when tensions escalated between the disputing countries over the islands in support of their key ally - the Philippines. The islands were recently surveyed to contain significant reserves of oil and gas. Not only did Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia react but China responded the same, posturing by outfitting their very first Navy carrier ready to deploy in the advent of war. With the Chinese economy booming and the US economy suffering from a host of challenges, it is no surprise China has been openly challenging American influence in the region utilising both soft and hard power. But with the US laying out the importance of the region in its vision of a stable, developing world through economic, military and demographic trends (Pellerin, 2012), it appears as if the US and China will continue to clash in the efforts of both to influence the region according to their respective visions and interests. This discussion will look at current international relations theory to study current American policies utilized in the region for the purpose of exploring their applicability in context.

International Policies: Theory

International relations theory is the study of relations between nations using the lens of social-scientific perspectives. IN so doing, the relations between nations is studied from a conceptual framework so that it can be given structure and grounding. Relationships between nations can be quite complex. If we see nations as singular entities, they move and behave in such a manner so as to protect their interests, to expand their influence and contain risks and threats that can detain growth and development in-country and within their sphere of influence. Because international relations is all about the study of state behavior in an international system, it is important to look at their basis of relating to each other. This basis is known as the foreign policy of the state. The US has foreign policies set in place by the government in power and it becomes the guideline from which their response to other states is based upon. So really, the way a state behaves can be understood by looking at their behavior through international relations theory as well as their foreign policies. Now, there are a host of ways in which state behavior can be studied and it can be done ...

Solution Summary

In this 1,962 word response, the U.S pivot to Asia, international policies, US policies in Asia, and previous policies and current practice are discussed. It includes a wealth of resources to promote further learning.

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