The United States and the Asia-Pacific Region: National Interests and Strategic Imperatives (Strategic Forum, Number 239, April 2009)
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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Notwithstanding the 2008-2009 financial crisis, East Asia today remains the home of the worlds most dynamic economies. In 1990, the regions share of global gross domestic product GDP amounted to 26.5 percent in 2006, that figure stood at 37.5 percent. In 2006, the GDP growth rate for Asias economies averaged 5.1 percent, compared to a world average of 3.9 percent. Driven in large part by Chinas economic resurgence and benefiting from an open international trading system, Asia has become an engine of global economic growth. Meanwhile, U.S. trade with the region grew from 300 billion in 1991 to 900 billion in 2006, much of it in higher value-added manufactured goods and services. In all likelihood, restructured and revived economies in Asia and the United States will lead the world out of the current global recession. In addition to its long standing commercial links to the region, the United States maintains treaty alliance relationships with Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and Thailand. For over a half century, this bilateral alliance structure has formed the regions informal security architecture. The alliances remain of critical importance in addressing the hard security challenges of the East Asia region and provide a firm foundation for multilateral efforts to address the nontraditional security issues there. In addition, the growing number of Asian-Americans has reinforced the long history of cultural interaction across the Pacific, marked by art, architecture, literature, music, and today, manga. The totality of these commercial, cultural, and security ties reflects the enduring nature of U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific and argues for an active American role in shaping the future of this region. Key to this engagement is a clear understanding of U.S. interests in Asia and the strategic imperatives that will confront the Obama administrations policymakers.
- Government and Political Science