The Indo-Pacific in the Post-Trump Era: Expectations and Challenges

This book was written to reflect on the expectations and challenges for the Indo-Pacific region since the accession of the Joe Biden administration.

In global affairs, President Biden, who inherited the consequences of the “America First” US foreign policy,
promised the return of the United States (US) to multilateralism in global institutions, mainly focusing on military alliances, defending democracy, climate change, nuclear non-proliferation and global health (White House 2021). Although the emphasis on the Indo-Pacific region pre-dates the term of the current administration, it is anticipated that more activities strengthening cooperation with like-minded partners in the Indo-Pacific will take place. This would occur with key actors focusing on various platforms in the economic and security spheres to counter the tensions and rivalry surrounding Sino-US relations, which dominates the strategic environment.

In this book, the objective for all the analyses is to assess the responses to these tensions and exploring how the US, Japan, Australia, and the EU have approached their engagements amongst themselves or the region at large. This inquiry extends to whether solutions can be found for these players that, while being like-minded, do not always share the same understanding of China or problem-solving strategies. One area of promise is security collaboration, notably the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) – an informal partnership between Australia, India, Japan and the United States. But the US government is missing out on engagements in the economic and trade spheres, such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) or the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Equally, the European Union (EU) has been sidelined from these frameworks and if it wants to deliver on its aims from the EU’s Global Strategy and the EU’s Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, it should focus on renewing The Indo-Pacific in the Post-Trump Era 7 the momentum by reinvigorating the stalled negotiations with some regional partners. This book comes with topical analyses on these developments and the authors also provide recommendations to stakeholders that they see as relevant.

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