Cover: U.S. Policy in Asia — Perspectives for the Future

U.S. Policy in Asia — Perspectives for the Future

Proceedings from a RAND Corporation Conference in Early 2017

Published Apr 18, 2018

by Rafiq Dossani, Scott W. Harold

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美国的亚洲地区政策——展望未来: 2017年初兰德公司研讨会会议记录 (内容摘要)

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미국의 아시아 정책—미래에 대한 전망: 2017 년 랜드연구소 컨퍼런스 회의 기록 (요약)

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Research Questions

  1. What should the Trump administration's Asia policy address?
  2. How will Asia respond to the Trump administration's Asia policy?

These proceedings summarize the findings of a conference on U.S. policy in Asia titled Pivot to Asia? U.S. Policy in Asia Under the Trump Administration, which was held at the RAND Corporation in January 2017. The conference's objectives were to examine the arenas of U.S.–Asia engagement, provide an understanding of the outcomes of past interaction, and make the case for the terms of future engagement. Conference participants agreed that, under the administration of President Donald Trump, significant changes were under way. While the dimensions of these changes are still emerging, the dynamism of the region and the risks that a lack of collaboration might pose for both the United States and Asia argue for a continued U.S. leadership role in the region.

Key Findings

Climate Change

  • Climate change and clean energy have been powerful, unifying issues in the U.S.–China bilateral relationship. There may be no other issue where both countries have more interests in common, in terms of their concerns about mitigating the economic impacts facing both climate-vulnerable communities and domestic coal communities and their desires to diversify their energy mix.
  • The Paris Agreement on climate change was the centerpiece of U.S.–China cooperation, but Asian countries will continue to implement ambitious domestic climate policy goals even if the United States were to back away from its Paris commitments.


  • The rise of Asian innovation will likely create new opportunities for increased U.S.–Asia cooperation in the realm of intellectual property, an area hitherto characterized by significant friction between the two regions.
  • A promising trend is the increase in U.S. patents granted to co-inventions that resulted from collaboration between U.S. and Asian researchers.

National Security

  • The Trump administration might focus more narrowly than did earlier administrations on addressing a shorter list of threats that directly affect U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific. These chiefly include a rising China, a nuclear North Korea, and a lurking Islamic State in Southeast Asia.

Human Rights

  • A few countries, including the United States, have quietly indicated their dismay at China's human rights record to Chinese authorities, but no country has yet sought to prosecute that conduct. The dilemma is that China classifies its actions as protecting its national security, making it difficult for the United States and other countries to try to prevent such behavior.

Research conducted by

This project is a RAND Venture. Funding was provided by gifts from RAND supporters and income from operations. The research was conducted by the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy within International Programs at the RAND Corporation.

This report is part of the RAND conference proceeding series. RAND conference proceedings present a collection of papers delivered at a conference or a summary of the conference.

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