The Trump administration that assumed office in 2016 was elected on a promise to be disruptive of business as usual. Four years later, it is clear that Trump has undoubtedly delivered on this promise, not lest with regards to foreign policy and the role of the US in Asia. Some commentators hold that Trump’s policies on Asia have rattled US alliances in East Asia to a degree unseen for more than 40 years. Here, longstanding allies have been “encouraged” to align ever more closely with US policies to contain China, even as the US has engaged in a series of disputes over trade and host-nation support with the very same allies, or have threatened to withdraw US forces and abrogate security commitments. At the same time, alliances between the US and countries such as Japan and South Korea, and US-aligned states such as India have proven very resilient – and some may even have deepened under Trump.
In this seminar, we ask what role the US will play in Asia under the new Biden administration, and what this will mean for the regional and, indeed, global balance of power. Will the Biden years mark a decisive break with the Trump years and a return to business as usual? Or, will the trend of more confrontational and competitive US-China relations continue? Will the Biden administration seek to build unified policies toward China with security partners such as Japan, India, South Korea and the Philippines? Will the bonhomie between Modi and Trump continue under Biden? And, what is the future of the Quad alliance? These and related questions will be discussed by our expert panel comprised by Paul Midford, Øystein Tunsjø and Henrik Chetan Aspengren.
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About the panel
Paul Midford is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Japan Program at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
Øystein Tunsjø is Professor at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies.
Henrik Chetan Aspengren is Acting Head of the Asia Programme at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs.