The USA’s relations with East and South-East Asia

Authored by: Mark Beeson

East and South-East Asia

Print publication date:  March  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9781857436396
eBook ISBN: 9780203146026
Adobe ISBN:


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The USA has been the dominant force in world affairs since at least 1945. This is hardly a controversial statement, but not everyone recognizes that US power has had quite different effects in different parts of the world. Economic, political and strategic developments in East and South-East Asia have been profoundly influenced by the USA, and not always for the better. Even fewer people are aware that the USA has been an ‘Asia-Pacific’ power since the middle of the 19th century. When US naval ships were instrumental in forcing Japan to open up to the rest of the world in 1853, this not only signalled a major turning point in the history of the region and the world, but it also announced the arrival of the USA as a major international actor. The USA’s relationship with the East Asian region remains crucially important and a revealing indicator of its own power and the changing status of the region. Now, however, in a marked departure from the last 50 years or so, the signs are of a superpower in decline in the face of a region on the rise, led by a seemingly unstoppable People’s Republic of China.

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