Security Challenges
Volume 12, No.3 (2016)

The Pivot - A Twentieth Century Solution to a Twenty-First Century Problem

‘The Pivot’, as formulated by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011, is likely to become the keystone of the Clinton administration’s strategic policy in the Asia-Pacific region. This commentary essay argues that ‘the Pivot’ was already out of date when it was announced, and that it is neither clear nor robust enough to guide US policy through the difficult strategic tides that will characterise the next decade or so. As such, it is more hope than plan. ‘The Pivot’ views the region through the lens of US strategic primacy—a primacy that is increasingly challenged by China, and Russia for that matter. The much-vaunted ‘international rules based order’ is an artefact of the immediate post World War Two dispensation, and unless US policy is able to accept that China, and Russia, expect to have a place at the rules-setting table, ‘the Pivot’ has little chance of success.

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