Sunday, July 25, 2021

Ha Nam Thang & Do Thi Thuy

Since the inauguration of Donald Trump, his pragmatic and inconsistent regional policy has deepened concerns about the developments of the U.S. “hub-and-spokes” system of bilateral alliances in East Asia. Applying alliance theory, this paper aims to investigate the new dynamics of U.S. alliance politics in East Asia under Trump’s presidency. It contends that this system still persists and follows a general pattern of alliance politics – suspicion and reassurance. Yet, the dynamics within each alliance are not uniform even though U.S. regional allies all face a wide range of new security threats. The authors argue that this variation is attributable to the fact that the U.S. is still able to dictate these bilateral alliances but its allies now have more room for manoeuvre, as reflected in their efforts to develop more independent and hedging strategy vis-à-vis Washington. Ultimately, these new dynamics help shape these alliances into more balanced and practical ones.

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