Marshall Bouton on Reorienting America:How Americans Are Shifting Their Foreign Policy Focus to Asia

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After a decade of preoccupation with the terrorist threats and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans are increasingly seeing Asia as the priority for U.S. foreign policy.  They view Asia’s dynamism as an opportunity to help renew America’s economic vitality.  China’s economic growth and rise to global influence are at the center of American thinking.  This trend is especially pronounced among the Millennials, those Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 who came of age in the last decade. At the same time, Americans see the potential over the longer term for China to emerge as an economic and security threat to the United States.  They put a high priority on U.S. alliances with Japan and South Korea, not to limit China’s rise but to help strengthen a regional structure of cooperation and engagement.

The Chicago Council of Global Affairs is a distinguished, nonpartisan forum in Chicago for world leaders, policymakers and experts to discuss issues of national and international importance.  Founded in 1922, the Council is one of the oldest and most prominent international affairs organizations in the United States. Independent and nonpartisan, The Chicago Council is committed to influencing the discourse on global issues through contributions to opinion and policy formation, leadership dialogue and public learning.

Marshall Bouton has been president of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs since 2001. Prior to that, he served as the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Asia Society. His previous positions included director for policy analysis for Near East, Africa and South Asia in the Department of Defense, special assistant to the U.S. ambassador to India, and executive secretary for the Indo-U.S. Subcommission on Education and Culture. He is an author or editor of several books, articles and op-eds on India, Asia and U.S. foreign policy.  Mr. Bouton earned a B.A. in history at Harvard, an M.A. in South Asian studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in political science at the University of Chicago.