America's New Asia Initiative: Pivot or Stumble?

Source: Getty
Op-Ed National Interest
The execution of America’s strategic 'pivot' to Asia, and China's response, are combining to deepen mutual suspicions and potentially destabilize the entire area.
Related Media and Tools

Washington, we are told, is now "pivoting" its energy, resources and attention from the Middle East and Europe to Asia, reflecting a recognition of the increasingly vital importance of that region for future American wealth, security and global influence. Unfortunately, the execution of this shift, and China's response, are combining to deepen mutual suspicions and potentially destabilize the entire area, ending the decade-long stability in Sino-American relations that resulted from a U.S. foreign-policy shift after 9/11.
At that time, Washington moved decisively away from viewing China ominously as a rising "strategic competitor" (to quote George W. Bush) and toward significant levels of Sino-U.S. cooperation in combating terrorism and dealing with a growing array of common problems, from climate change to global economic instability. This shift brought Washington’s approach back into line with an earlier, long-standing U.S. policy of fostering greater Sino-American engagement while conducting low-key military hedging against the possibility of a future hostile China.
With President Obama and Secretary Clinton's recent trips to the South and Western Pacific, expanding U.S. involvement in multilateral economic and security-related fora, and a strengthening of Washington's traditional military alliances, the United States is now signaling an intention to move back toward the pre-9/11 strategic focus on a rising China. That focus places a premium on explicitly balancing against and constraining Chinese power and influence across the region.

This piece was originally published at the National Interest. Click here to continue reading.

End of document

About the Asia Program

The Carnegie Asia Program in Beijing and Washington provides clear and precise analysis to policy makers on the complex economic, security, and political developments in the Asia-Pacific region.




In Fact



of the Chinese general public

believe their country should share a global leadership role.


of Indian parliamentarians

have criminal cases pending against them.


charter schools in the United States

are linked to Turkey’s Gülen movement.


thousand tons of chemical weapons

are in North Korea’s possession.


of import tariffs

among Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have been eliminated.


trillion a year

is unaccounted for in official Chinese income statistics.


of GDP in oil-exporting Arab countries

comes from the mining sector.


of Europeans and Turks

are opposed to intervention in Syria.


of Russian exports to China

are hydrocarbons; machinery accounts for less than 1%.


of undiscovered oil

is in the Arctic.


U.S. government shutdowns

occurred between 1976 and 1996.


of Ukrainians

want an “international economic union” with the EU.


million electric bicycles

are used in Chinese cities.


of the world’s energy supply

is consumed by cities.


of today’s oils

require unconventional extraction techniques.


of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.


of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.


of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.


of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.


million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3


now needs urgent assistance.


political parties

contested India’s last national elections.


of Egypt's labor force

works in the private sector.


of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.


of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.


of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.


billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.


billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.


increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.


billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.


of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.



were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.

Stay in the Know

Enter your email address to receive the latest Carnegie analysis in your inbox!

Personal Information
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20036-2103 Phone: 202 483 7600 Fax: 202 483 1840
Please note...

You are leaving the website for the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy and entering a website for another of Carnegie's global centers.