While it is clear that Trump will not pursue U.S. involvement in the TPP, there is much uncertainty on the rest of his foreign-policy leanings in East Asia. Moreover, while Trump may have a preference towards bilateral alliances and a transactional approach to security relationships, it remains premature and unrealistic to conclude that the United States will back Asia’s overlapping security networks. For these reasons, it will be important for Japan and the United States to work together as leaders on regional security. Essentially, the U.S.-Japan alliance should be used as a cornerstone—or starting point—for security networks in the region. Increasingly, this cooperation is intended to provide and protect more “public goods” in the region, such as free and open sea lanes, a fast and effective response to natural disasters, and common approaches to transnational crime, terrorism and counterproliferation.
Tom Le is an Assistant Professor of Politics at Pomona College. J. Berkshire Miller is an international affairs fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior fellow with the EastWest Institute.
Image: A SH-60B Seahawk helicopter sits on the deck of JDS Kurama. Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Navy