US priorities in the Asia-Pacfic region: US alliances and security policy


  • Niklas Rossbach

Publish date: 2015-06-25

Report number: FOI-R--4091--SE

Pages: 95

Written in: Swedish


  • Alliances
  • alliance system
  • interdependence
  • arms race
  • balance of
  • power
  • realism
  • strategic priorities
  • rearmament
  • the rebalance; China and Japan
  • South Korea
  • the Philippines
  • Thailand
  • Australia and also Taiwan
  • Singapore
  • India
  • New Zeeland; the TPP
  • APEC.


This report analyses US policy in the Asia-Pacific region, including American strategic priorities, by studying the on-going American rebalance to the region, with a particular focus on the US alliance system's five bilateral defence alliances. In its capacity as the preeminent regional great power in the Far East the US bolsters its global position. Given that many security problems remain since the Cold War, such as the issues pertaining to Taiwan as well as North and South Korea, it is perhaps not surprising that the US overarching strategic priorities in the region endure. However, the region's importance has increased, for example there has been noticeable tension over territorial disputes. In 2011 the Obamaadministration launched the rebalance - originally the pivot to Asia - partly as a reaction to the growing significance of the region for the US, for example in economic terms. Furthermore China is regarded more widely than before as a potential geopolitical rival of the US. The rebalance includes both economic and military matters. The possibility of concluding the free trade agreement the TPP will be seen as an important part of the rebalance. The US strives to develop its relations in the Far East to make them more similar to the strong bonds of the transatlantic relationship. An important element is the US's attempt to modernize its alliances and make them part of a network together with other partners, such as strategic partners. This effort is an important part of the rebalance. To further its aims the US needs to get more involved in how the region develops, in terms both of defence related issues and regional multilateral cooperation.