Donald Trump's comments and actions since winning the U.S. presidential election in November offer new insights into the kind of Asia policy his administration may pursue after taking office in January. Some course corrections on China policy in particular would be welcome. But uncertainty in other areas could compound allies' anxieties and undercut U.S. economic interests.
On one hand, Trump threatens a break from long-standing U.S. commitments to alliances, free trade and diplomacy with China. This risks producing strategic instabilities in an Asia riven by great-power rivalries and the insecurities of lesser states. On the other hand, some of the U.S. president-elect's proposed policies may actually put him in sync with Asian powers that take a more nationalistic line on the uses of military power and economic statecraft.