Shortly after taking office in 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama labeled himself “America’s first Pacific president” and laid out a policy pivot – later rebranded as a rebalance – to bring the Asia-Pacific region closer to the heart of American foreign engagement. In much of Asia, this turn was welcomed but watched with a wary eye. From the Asian perspective, the United States had been distracted by the Middle East for decades – could Washington really end its regional absenteeism?
Now, nearly eight years later Asia watches from across the Pacific as the United States writhes amid one of the strangest presidential election seasons in its history. With U.S. voters poised to choose between former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and business mogul Donald Trump, analysts from key Asian partners – China, Japan, Korea, India, ASEAN, and Australia – chime in with regional perspectives on the campaign.