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Obama and China's rise:an insider's account of America's Asia strategy

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In 2005 Jeffrey Bader, a veteran U.S. diplomat and Asia policy analyst, was asked to meet and discuss international trade policy with the junior U.S. senator from Illinois. Bader came away greatly struck and impressed by Barack Obama and eventually came to co-chair the presidential candidate's advisory team on Asia policy. When Obama assumed the presidency, Bader became the senior director for East Asian affairs with the National Security Council.


In Obama and China's Rise, Bader discusses what he did, what he saw, and what it meant for Obama's policy toward the all-important East Asia region —first in the presidential campaign, and then in his administration. The result is a fascinating backstage view of the formulation and execution of American foreign policy as well as a candid evaluation of the same, including recommendations for future policy.


Obama's intent was to extend U.S. influence and presence in East Asia, which he felt had been neglected because of American preoccupation with the 'war on terror,' the Middle East, and especially Iraq. China's rise, particularly its military buildup, was causing sleepless nights for its neighbors. Bader describes the Obama administration's efforts to develop stable relations with China while building stronger relationships with troubled allies and partners in the face of Beijing's rising assertiveness. Bader combines insightful and authoritative foreign policy analysis with a revealing —and humanizing —personal narrative of that effort.


'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


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Jeffrey A. Bader is a visiting scholar with the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution. He returned to Brookings after serving in the Obama administration as senior director for East Asian affairs on the National Security Council from January 2009 to April 2011. Before his appointment to the Obama administration, Bader was the first director of the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings, where he was also a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program. He brings profound expertise and over thirty years of experience in U.S. foreign policy and Asian security.


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