Marshall Bouton, President of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, delivers a lecture titled “Reorienting America: How Americans are Shifting Their Foreign Policy Focus to Asia” at the Center in Beijing on September 19, 2012.
After a decade of preoccupation with the terrorist threats and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans are increasingly seeing Asia as the priority for U.S. foreign policy. They view Asia’s dynamism as an opportunity to help renew America’s economic vitality. China’s economic growth and rise to global influence are at the center of American thinking. This trend is especially pronounced among the Millennials, those Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 who came of age in the last decade. At the same time, Americans see the potential over the longer term for China to emerge as an economic and security threat to the United States. They put a high priority on U.S. alliances with Japan and South Korea, not to limit China’s rise but to help strengthen a regional structure of cooperation and engagement.