Despite the War in Ukraine, the U.S. Pivot to Asia Is Accelerating

Despite the War in Ukraine, the U.S. Pivot to Asia Is Accelerating
Leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations pose with U.S. President Joe Biden in a group photo on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, May 12, 2022 (AP photo by Susan Walsh).

Many observers believed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 would thwart the United States’ efforts to reorient its strategic focus to the Indo-Pacific region amid China’s resurgence. For now, though, Washington may actually be accelerating its long-sought rebalance.

For more than two decades, successive administrations have sought to recalibrate the center of gravity of U.S. foreign policy away from the Middle East and toward the Indo-Pacific. While the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations each registered a number of achievements to that end, they nonetheless found it difficult to accomplish the larger goal: prioritizing a region that they assessed would be increasingly central to the United States’ strategic outlook.

The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, compelled the Bush administration to make its principal focus counterterrorism. Syria’s descent into civil war in the early 2010s as well as the Islamic State’s rise to prominence consumed much of the Obama administration’s bandwidth. And while the Trump administration made strategic competition with China a linchpin of its foreign policy, its “America First” framework unnerved even those of Washington’s regional allies and partners that shared the administration’s concerns about Beijing’s behavior and ambitions.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article as well as three free articles per month. You'll also receive our free email newsletter to stay up to date on all our coverage:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having your own personal researcher and analyst for news and events around the globe. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of 15,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Weekly in-depth reports on important issues and countries
  • Daily links to must-read news, analysis, and opinion from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • Your choice of weekly region-specific newsletters, delivered to your inbox.
  • Smartphone- and tablet-friendly website.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review