The United States and Asia: Regional Dynamics and Twenty-First-Century Relations (Asia in World Politics)

9781442226326: The United States and Asia: Regional Dynamics and Twenty-First-Century Relations (Asia in World Politics)

This book offers a cogent overview of the historical context and enduring patterns of U.S. relations with Asia. Noted scholar Robert G. Sutter provides a balanced analysis of post–Cold War dynamics in Asia, which involve interrelated questions of security, economics, national identity, and regional institution building. He demonstrates how these critical concerns manifest a complex mix of realist, liberal, and constructivist tendencies that define the regional order. Sutter weighs how the recent US emphasis on “re-engagement” with the broader Asia-Pacific fits within the context of regional dynamics. He assesses how the United States has responded to Asia’s growing strength and importance while at the same time trying to maintain its leading position as an Asian power despite China’s rising influence.

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About the Author:

Robert G. Sutter is professor of practice in international affairs at the Elliott School of George Washington University.


Sutter gives readers another of his periodic and always excellent comprehensive assessments of US foreign policy in Asia. The book takes a broad view, examining US policy from Central to East Asia. Sutter makes it clear that he is a realist but not an alarmist. Of course, the most important issue is the US-China relationship. China’s growing economic and political power makes the country a dilemma for the US but not yet a peer competitor. US policy toward China should still be based on engagement, and the Obama rebalancing policy is a solid starting point. From this perspective, Sutter examines US policy in Asia in the context of the three key paradigms in international relations scholarship—realism, liberalism, and constructivism. Each, he contends, is a useful tool for analyzing the current shape and future of US policy in Asia. He identifies the five key factors that will determine the future of Asia: changing relations among the great powers, growing economic globalization, rising tension levels in regional conflicts and WMD proliferation, rising Asian multilateralism, and the level of US involvement using them as a framework for analysis. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels. (CHOICE)

Bob Sutter has struck again, providing experts and students alike with a valuable, wide-ranging analysis of U.S. relations with Asia stretching from South Asia to the North Pacific. He explicitly favors a ‘contextual analysis used by U.S. government and other policy and intelligence analysts’ to assess the complicated determinants shaping U.S.-Asia relations. It is difficult to suggest a more useful, current, and thoughtful single-volume, single-author text for specialists and students. (Satu Limaye, Director, East-West Center)

Sutter provides the most comprehensive and balanced account to date of what contexts and determinants of the United States’ foreign policy are integral to shaping its perceptions and strategies toward the Asia-Pacific region. Applying major IR theories to his analysis of power politics, regional economic developments, and institution-building, the author offers critical and timely assessments of U.S. policy formulation and behavior toward key Asian actors and facilitates an in-depth understanding of those interests, identities, and norms that generate and sustain American policy in Asia. Written clearly and persuasively, Sutter’s volume is required reading for students and analysts wishing to understand how the United States interacts with and influences what is arguably the world’s most important region.
(William Tow, Australian National University)

With perceptive analysis, historical narrative, and insightful deployment of international relations theory, Robert Sutter offers a comprehensive account of U.S. engagement with the Asia-Pacific—particularly focusing on U.S.-China relations. He challenges conventional wisdom and makes a strong case for a future of enduring American leadership—and enduring stability—alongside China in the region. (Bates Gill, United States Studies Centre, the University of Sydney)

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