In his April 28 address to a joint session of Congress, President Biden spent a fair amount of time talking about China. Xi Jinping and other autocrats, Biden said, “think that democracy can’t compete in the twenty-first century with autocracies” and argued that the United States must prove them wrong. “We must prove,” he said, “that democracy still works.”
The main way to prove that, of course, is by honoring the rule of law and principles like majority rule here at home. But another way is through foreign policy—through reshaping our relationship with China itself and with the other key nations of Asia. This is the idea that underpins our collection of four articles on the future of U.S.-Asian relations. Expert authors with deep experience in their fields examine the United States’s relationships, present and future, with China, Japan, South and North Korea, and the often-overlooked smaller nations of Southeast Asia.
Barack Obama may have failed to complete his much-discussed “pivot” to Asia. But as these essays show, how the Biden Administration navigates these fast-changing relationships will be crucial to determining whether democracy or autocracy win the day on President Biden’s watch.