An Asia-Pacific Strategy for Trump

How He Can Shore Up U.S. Credibility

U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump arrives at the home of hedge fund billionaire and campaign donor Robert Mercer, Head of the Harbor, New York, December 2016. Mark Kauzlarich / REUTERS

Last month, just weeks after Donald Trump’s election win, U.S. President Barack Obama flew to Peru to attend the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leader’s summit. At the meeting he urged his counterparts in the region to maintain their faith in the United States, even in the wake of Trump’s unapologetic “America First” worldview and protectionist barbs, most notably his pledge to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) within days of entering the White House next January. 

It is little wonder many U.S. allies in the region are worried. Trump chastised his opponent Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail for her support of the TPP as secretary of state and called the agreement a “disaster.” He questioned the value of strengthening alliance networks in the region, (a pillar of Obama’s rebalance) and criticized Asian allies such as Japan and South Korea

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