Valdai Paper #89: US Indo-Pacific Strategy: Myths and Reality


Facing its ‘most dynamic and formidable competitor in modern history’, Washington increasingly does away with hopeful thinking and seeks new approaches towards Asia. It raised the concept of the Indo-Pacific region. But what strategy is behind this buzzword? And what does it mean for Asia?

Territorial disputes, trade wars, resurrection of the Quad, and other trends point to changes taking place in the region. China becomes more assertive in promoting its interests, while US foreign policy shifts to the Indo-Pacific emphasizing its Asian partners and altering US military commands’ areas of responsibility.

In a bid to balance China’s rise the US administration aims to foster the ‘free and open’ Indo-Pacific based on market economy, rule of law, and cooperation with US regional allies, particularly Japan, India, and Australia.

At the same time, other regional states find themselves between a rock and a hard place, while deepening regional economic integration faces mounting regional security problems. No country wants to make choice in favour of one or another side.

What is the future of the region? Robert Manning, the author of the Valdai Paper #89, outlines three scenarios of possible events up to 2025.

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