Obama’s Asia Legacy

A China in the World Podcast

As President Obama enters his final months in office and a new administration prepares to take the helm in 2017, what will his legacy be in the Asia-Pacific? In this podcast, Paul Haenle and Michael Green, former senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council under President George W. Bush, analyze the successes and failures of Obama’s “pivot to Asia” and what approaches the next administration could take to solve ongoing issues, such as tension in the South China Sea, Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, and North Korea’s continued nuclear development.

Green argues that while President Obama achieved his policy objectives during his final trip to the region, the next administration will inherit a diverse set of unresolved problems. Given the unlikelihood that the U.S.-China Bilateral Investment Treaty and the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be passed during Obama’s lame-duck session, future ratification of these economic agreements will be handled by the next president. The coming administration, Green argues, may also have difficulty shoring up relations with regional allies like the Philippines because of disagreements over freedoms considered fundamental to the United States, such as human rights. However, he is optimistic that relations with them will become more productive over time. On regional security, Green recommends the United States make a deliberate effort to work with China on issues like North Korea and the South China Sea to ensure stability in the Asia-Pacific.