Thursday, September 24, 2020

Smart Power, Pacific Century and Obama Foreign Policy Doctrine

A new charm offensive of highly symbolic diplomatic activities on both bilateral and multilateral fronts launched by the Obama Administration in Asia - Pacific in the last two months of 2011 was widely seen as the “decisive blow” in its relentless efforts over the past three years to initiate, test and finalize the so-called “Obama foreign policy doctrine” which can be encapsulated in the two underpinning ideas: Smart power and Pacific Century (or the U.S. pivot to Asia - Pacific). The U.S. “smartness” in optimizing existing power is found in seven key dimensions, including choice of policy message, balance of domestic institutions, choice of strategic objectives, allocation of resources, choice of tools, measures and geographical areas in policy implementation. As shown in its approach to the network of bilateral ties and emerging regional architecture, the U.S. pivot to Asia - Pacific is not simply a strategic choice of geographical area of the Obama Administration but also entrenched in the seven-pronged grand strategy of “smart power”. Results of the U.S. presidential election of 2012 would help answer questions on what the future holds in store for the doctrine.

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