Obama and China's Rise: An Insider's Account of America's Asia Strategy
Author: Jeffrey Bader
Format: Cloth Trade
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
Release Date: January 25, 2021
In 2005, veteran diplomat and Asia analyst Jeffrey Bader met for the first time with the then-junior U.S. senator from Illinois. When Barack Obama entered the White House a few years later, Bader was named the senior director for East Asian affairs on the National Security Council, becoming one of a handful of advisers responsible for formulating and implementing the administration's policy regarding that key region. For obvious reasons—a booming economy, expanding military power, and increasing influence over the region—the looming impact of a rising China dominated their efforts.
Obama's original intent was to extend U.S. influence and presence in East Asia, which he felt had been neglected by a Bush administration fixated on the Middle East, particularly Iraq, and the war on terror. China's rise, particularly its military buildup, was heightening anxiety among its neighbors, including key U.S. allies Japan and South Korea. In Obama and China's Rise, Bader explains the administration's efforts to develop stable relations with China while improving relationships with key partners worried about Beijing's new assertiveness.
Bader reveals what he did, discusses what he saw, and interprets what it meant—first during the Obama campaign, and then for the administration. The result is an illuminating backstage view of the formulation and execution of American foreign policy as well as a candid assessment of both. Bader combines insightful and authoritative foreign policy analysis with a revealing and humanizing narrative of his own personal journey.
"Our future presidents will need to find the right balance in China policy, maintaining U.S. strength and watchfulness but not falling into the classical security dilemma trap, where each side interprets growing capabilities as reflecting hostile intent and responds by producing that reality. I believe that President Obama struck that balance. I was honored to be part of his administration in trying to achieve it."
—from the Conclusion of Obama and China's Rise