Top Five Political-Security Priorities for the Asia–Pacific in 2016

The Obama Administration’s formulation of American commitments to Asia, the “rebalance” or “pivot,” has had its successes and shortcomings. 2016 should serve as a time for the Obama Administration to deliver as best it can on the unfinished pieces of its Asia policy and thereby set the table for its successor to implement its own energetic formulation. In so doing, the Administration should prioritize the following five issues: supporting a fully funded defense budget, supporting allies and partners, expanding and deepening involvement in regional summitry, laying groundwork for future U.S.-China relations, and clarifying American support for Taiwan.

The U.S. is more than a resident power in the Asia–Pacific; it is the region’s preeminent power. Without proper leadership, American interests in peace, freedom, security, and prosperity there cannot be reliably secured. President Obama has had mixed success in serving American interests in the region. In his remaining time in office, the President should work to secure the gains made and position future generations of leaders for success.

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