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Today the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific region is dominated by the rise of new powers. The role of the United States, as the established political and military power in the region, is increasingly coming under challenge. But the United States itself was once a rising power in this region and the history of its rise may hold clues as to how the contemporary power transition might be managed through deft diplomacy.
From its victory in the Spanish-American War onwards, the United States emerged as a rising power in the Asia-Pacific theatre. Washington’s rise tended to combine power assertion with attempts at order building. This included the Open Door Policy, later the Nine Power Treaty and Kellogg-Briand Pact (joined in the Stimson Nonrecognition Doctrine). Today, from the position of an established power, Washington continues to promote its preferred approach to order in the Asia-Pacific including adherence to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (despite having not ratified the treaty) as well as the trade principles of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This lecture will discuss the links between the US role in the region today and its earlier history as a rising power as well as the lessons for navigating the diplomacy of accommodating new powers in the region in the years ahead.
Alan K. Henrikson is Lee E. Dirks Professor of Diplomatic History Emeritus and founding Director of Diplomatic Studies at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, where he has taught American diplomatic history, contemporary U.S.-European relations, global political geography, and the history, theory, and practice of diplomacy.
This public lecture is co-sponsored by the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy and the Department of International Relations, Coral Bell School of Asia and the Pacific.