The Pivot

The Future of American Statecraft in Asia


By Kurt Campbell

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From former assistant secretary of state Kurt M. Campbell comes the definitive analysis and explanation of the new major shift in American foreign policy, its interests and assets, to Asia.

There is a quiet drama playing out in American foreign policy far from the dark contours of upheaval in the Middle East and South Asia and the hovering drone attacks of the war on terror. The United States is in the midst of a substantial and long-term national project, which is proceeding in fits and starts, to reorient its foreign policy to the East. The central tenet of this policy shift, aka the Pivot, is that the United States will need to do more with and in the Asia-Pacific hemisphere to help revitalize its own economy, to realize the full potential of the region’s dramatic innovation, and to keep the peace in the world’s most dynamic region where the lion’s share of the history of the twenty-first century will be written.

This book is about a necessary course correction for American diplomacy, commercial engagement, and military innovation during a time of unrelenting and largely unrewarding conflict. While the United States has intensified its focus on the Asia-Pacific arena relative to previous administrations, much more remains to be done.

The Pivot is about that future. It explores how the United States should construct a strategy that will position it to maneuver across the East and offers a clarion call for cunning, dexterity, and ingenuity in the period ahead for American statecraft in the Asia-Pacific region.


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Preface: The Job Interview

In diplomacy, as in life, it is sometimes difficult to know where the story begins. For me, while I have worked on Asia for the better part of the last twenty years, the story begins with a call from Hillary Clinton's scheduler in early December 2008.

I had been spending the few weeks since the presidential election working on the Pentagon transition team, sequestered away in a windowless steel-reinforced bunker poring over documents concerning the management of the military establishment. I had served in the Pentagon a decade earlier, before 9/11, the war on terror, and the grinding military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. It had been a very different place then, and the institution was only barely recognizable from the period before the attacks on the American homeland, including the Pentagon itself, on 9/11. We were now a nation that had been at war for nearly a decade, and nowhere was that reality clearer than at the Pentagon.

The hijacked airliner that smashed into the building had left a charred, burned-out section in the five-sided geometric military headquarters along the Potomac, and along certain corridors near the site of the crash, it was still possible to catch just a whiff of smoke in the hallway air. Since then the Pentagon had been rebuilt with a myriad of extra security features. The windows facing the outside civilian world on the E-ring were coated with a yellow veneer, which cast an eerie pallor on all the occupants inside. The outside world had an oddly tinted patina, like an old black-and-white movie that had been improperly colorized. Nearly every military man and woman wore one of the new digitized camouflage uniforms, and most had served numerous tours in dangerous circumstances and harm's way. Soldiers and marines bore physical scars from previous combat, and Purple Heart ribbons signifying wounds from conflict were worn with pride on uniform breastplates. In contrast, many civilian policymakers had seen little military service, which was an occasional source of tension between them and their military colleagues.

Sitting in my barren cubicle that day, I picked up the phone to hear the remarkably cheerful voice of Clinton's new personal assistant. Would I possibly have some spare time in the next day or so to meet with the secretary-elect in her transition office at the State Department? Um, yes, of course. I had to restrain myself from asking, "Is right now too soon?"

I had been an early supporter of then senator Hillary Clinton, briefing her on many occasions and raising money for her campaigns. In former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld's terms, I was a "bitter-ender," staying with her until the very last of a disappointing fight during the Democratic primary, even when it was apparent that her once-hopeful campaign had crumbled under the weight of internal recriminations and divisiveness. Many of my fellow policy wonks had instead carefully rebranded themselves as having been on Team Obama right from the start, leaving the remaining few of us feeling vulnerable. I had watched the jubilant ascendance of President Obama and his team with a mixture of longing and anxiety, the twin sentiments of nearly all Washington players whose candidates are defeated during election season.

Still, after all the acrimony and blood feuding, the Democratic team had pulled together and prevailed in the general election, and there was now a generalized hope about what president-elect Obama would do, not only on the national scene, but on the international stage as well. Despite my excitement about the momentousness of President Obama's election, there are consequences in American politics for being on the losing side, and I had few expectations for a senior job inside the Pentagon. I spent my time during the transition interviewing unrepentant hard-liners from the Cheney-and-Rumsfeld camp in the Pentagon's policy shop who were about to lose their jobs and were deeply wary of president-elect Obama and where he might take the country.

So the call from Secretary Clinton's team was a welcome surprise, and we settled on a meeting later in the week. I was to keep the meeting confidential. President-elect Obama had asked her to be his secretary of state the week before, to the surprise of nearly everyone, especially Senator Clinton. Under enormous pressure from the president-elect, some of his senior advisors, and former president Bill Clinton, Secretary Clinton had relented and accepted the job. She and her small team were ensconced in the small transition office on the ground floor at Foggy Bottom as she studied up on briefing papers and began to assemble her team. Jim Steinberg, my good friend and the designated deputy secretary of state, called me the night before my scheduled meeting: "Be prepared for either Asia or PM [political-military affairs]—either is possible, but it's also possible that you will be watching the whole thing back at your old office at the Center for a New American Security."

It was a beautiful early-winter day in Washington with the leaves nearly off the trees as I went in the main entrance of the State Department. I walked into the vast entry foyer, the Hall of Flags, and was instantly struck by the light. The space was open and immediately appealing, like a multicultural bazaar, with diplomats from across the globe strolling the lobby waiting for their appointments with important counterparts. After the hunkered-down Pentagon, the scene represented a visible contrast between the inherent hope of diplomacy and the darker realities of ever-present war.

As I waited in the appointments line, I reflected on the journey that had brought me to this place. In many ways I had enjoyed the typical Washington policy career, serving in think tanks, in government, and as part of elite retreats like the Aspen Strategy Group. My case of Potomac Fever was fairly severe. In other ways, however, my story was a little unconventional. I'd been a professor at Harvard in the early 1990s and had studied in the former Soviet Union at a conservatory of music. I had also served as a reserve naval officer in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and worked on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon as a Council on Foreign Relations fellow. It was on a duty assignment for the navy that I had made my first visit to Asia. I was stationed for a short time at the naval base south of Tokyo in Yokosuka and marveled at the US and Japanese naval forces that served together, with Japanese destroyers and submarines tethered at the pier next to their sleek gray-and-black American counterparts. The mammoth cranes that loomed over the base dated back to a time when the Imperial Japanese Navy was wreaking havoc across the Pacific in the early 1940s. There were still caves in the hills around the base that had been sealed for decades, with whispered stories of lost weapons caches and skeletal remains, a legacy of Asia's darkest days.

I had been awarded a White House fellowship in the early 1990s and come to Washington at the start of the Clinton administration, working first at the Treasury and then at the White House before arriving at the Department of Defense. I learned of the importance of the economic and commercial dimensions of our Asia policy and saw the intensity of the ongoing deliberations between Japan and the United States over how to remedy trade challenges. I also witnessed firsthand the deliberations between the White House and Congress over whether to grant China most-favored-nation trade status.

At the end of two years, as I prepared to return to teaching at Harvard, I received a call out of the blue that would change my life forever. It was from Joe Nye, the distinguished professor and international relations strategist, who was on academic leave and serving as the assistant secretary for international security affairs at the Pentagon. He asked me if I would be interested in coming over to head up his Asia shop there and to assist on what came to be called the "Nye Initiative," an effort to revitalize the critical security partnership and alliance between the United States and Japan. This was a relationship that was ripe for revival after the end of the Cold War, when both Washington and Tokyo were searching for a larger sense of defining strategic purpose. I said yes and thus started a journey that charted my career course for Asia.

It was during these five years that I developed a strong passion for the region, its diverse people, and its often opaque politics and diplomacy. I had a terrific team, most of whom have remained lifelong friends, and a big old office along the B corridor of the Pentagon where I could sometimes glimpse a hint of the sky through the lone window, barely six inches wide, near the corner of the ceiling. On my first day, a construction worker on a ladder affixed a bar across the tiny opening. I told him I thought it unlikely that anyone would be trying to crawl in to steal secrets. Without missing a beat, he responded, "It's not to keep intruders out, it's for keeping you in." Still, I found the work rewarding and consequential. I labored with others to develop military ties with China, design a strategy to respond to the Taiwan Strait Crisis, deal with the challenge of military basing in Okinawa after the tragedy of the 1995 rape, hold the first-ever trilateral military talks between the United States, Japan, and South Korea, quietly develop contingency planning among allies for possible instability in North Korea, and make the first defense contacts with Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War.

Joe Nye and then secretary of defense Bill Perry instilled a tremendous spirit of camaraderie in the office of the secretary of defense during those days, and we prioritized steps to reaffirm the historic centrality of our alliances and our forward presence. It was during this period that I first met the first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and I briefed her before her historic visit to China in advance of the Global Women's Summit. I would never have imagined then that I would be one day walking into her office—as I was now—to talk about her upcoming tenure as secretary of state.

I was quietly escorted into the drab corner offices of the transition space on the ground floor of the State Department. There in a small cluster of offices many of the vanquished members of the former Clinton campaign were huddled together. It was as if they had lost the larger battle for the country but had secured a small foothold of territory in a nearby Washington office building. It felt a little like one of those last guerrilla strongholds at the end of a bloody civil war. I sat down and gathered my thoughts. I had a clear preference to serve in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. In many respects it was my dream job, but I'd never thought I would have the chance to serve in such a capacity. The entryway to the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs on the sixth floor of the State Department was lined on each side with black-and-white photos of the esteemed diplomats who had served as assistant secretary in the bureau during the previous century. It was a veritable who's who of twentieth-century diplomatic distinction, with statesmen such as Dean Rusk, William Bundy, Averell Harriman, and Philip Habib smiling down from their framed places in history. I had pretty serious doubts about whether I belonged in such distinguished company. Still, I tried to keep them to myself.

President Obama's chief Asia strategist from the campaign, and my close friend, the former diplomat Jeff Bader, was just about to be appointed as the senior director at the National Security Council (NSC), and there was no clear front-runner for assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at State. I had formerly been identified as a defense guy with no experience at the State Department and so was thought of as an unlikely candidate for the job. Nevertheless, I reviewed my talking points about how it was time to start to reposition American power and prestige toward the rising East after a period of deep and often unbalanced focus on the dark contours of conflict in the Middle East. The United States would also need to implement a more comprehensive region-wide effort to secure America's position in the region into the twenty-first century.

Just as I was rehearsing the lines in my head, an assistant came out and ushered me into the corner office where Hillary Clinton sat. I am not sure that there has ever been a more unlikely secretary of state, certainly not since President Lincoln appointed his own political rival William Seward to the job in 1861. The room Clinton was working in had been hurriedly prepared and seemed somehow lacking in the basic accouterments of prestige, with drawn blinds to hide both the cracking plaster around the windows and the internal deliberations from passersby at street level. There was an industrial-style executive desk stacked with papers and transition binders, and an aged leather couch surrounded by uncomfortable chairs. At the center of the room was a rug featuring the diplomatic seal of the United States, its eagle with the twin offerings of arrows and olive branches fraying underfoot. The office had a temporary feel and the somewhat shabby surroundings seemed an unlikely place to find secretary-designate Hillary Clinton.

Nevertheless, there she was, buoyantly welcoming me in, showing me to the seat next to the couch and looking none the worse for wear after a brutally punishing two years of nearly nonstop campaigning. Her presence made the dreary room seem regal and welcoming. She plopped down on the couch and put her legs up on an end table. She wore her familiar dark pantsuit and was surrounded on all sides by thick binders and briefing books. With a deep laugh, she exclaimed, "I never thought you and I would find ourselves in this place, but here we are." She then recounted how President Obama had asked her to serve as secretary of state. She had been resting at home in Chappaqua, New York, after the disappointing election, licking her wounds and reflecting on what had gone wrong, and the call had come as something of a surprise. Close aides to the president had warned her that such a call would be coming, but she really did not believe it until she heard Obama's distinctive voice on the other end of the line, extending a very different kind of olive branch and an offer. At first, she explained, she was too tired and angry to even consider such an offer, but over the course of several days, her husband and others wore down her opposition and beat back her concerns. Finally, she explained, a close friend had given her this advice: imagine the tables were turned and it was you reaching out to Obama—how would you feel if he said no to you? That did the trick. It really is the call to service that stirs her.

And so here she was sitting in this out-of-the-way transition office, assembling a team for her next stint on the very high wire of public service. I had told myself that no matter what, even if an offer came, I would wait, consider it carefully over the course of several days, and consult with my wife and family before responding. In short, I would not lean in but would hold back and dutifully reflect.

After a few minutes of conversation, she homed right in on Asia and put forward a nuanced perspective that demonstrated she had thought about the challenges ahead. As she was speaking, I noticed that across from me on the table in front of her were a number of my recent articles, precisely highlighted with a yellow marker and with neatly scribbled comments in the margins. I can read upside-down writing, a skill perfected in junior high school, but instead tried to focus on her words. It was clear she had prepared for the meeting in a way that I hadn't.

"My biggest concern, Kurt, is that we are overinvested in the wars and machinations of the Middle East," Clinton explained. "We are consequentially engaged there and our role is both required and essential, but we've got to find our bearings and reorient more toward the future. Asia is the future and our diplomacy must reflect this in a much more fundamental way." She went on to describe the region's wondrous innovations, its rising middle classes, its growing purchasing power, and how these powerful trends connected with American jobs and exports. She spoke extensively and knowledgeably about her philosophy for effective engagement in the diverse region. "China is the big story, no doubt. But for us to be successful, we're going to have to work with others more effectively. We've got to embed our China policy in a larger Asia strategy." She spoke of trying to encourage a new leadership in Japan to arrest its national torpor, spoke about a greater focus on Southeast Asia, and opined on the need to more effectively integrate trade and commercial advocacy into a larger framework. This was music to my ears and deeply reassuring. Implementing a region-wide, all-in strategy would be essential to underscoring a narrative of renewed, decisive American diplomacy toward the region.

Then she homed in for the kill.

"Kurt, I've talked to Jim Steinberg about this, and we want you on the team. Richard Danzig indicates that you might be going to the Pentagon but I want you with me here at the State Department. I want people who I respect and who I can trust, and it wasn't lost on me that you stayed on the campaign to the end. That's the kind of resolve and dedication we're going to need in the years ahead. So join me and my team. Let's support President Obama. Come be my assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs."

Without any hesitation or further reflection, I exclaimed, "I'm in! I accept! I'll sign up right now!" So much for careful, judicious reflection. Clinton seemed happy, but I could sense her mind was already shifting to the next challenge, that of building a strong team for the long hours and many challenges just ahead. I was on board and there would be time soon enough for me to get to work. We shook hands and she carefully guided me to the door. "Tell them no at the Pentagon, and start thinking about our game plan for Asia. I want to hit the ground running," Clinton said as I made my way out. She then deftly pivoted and welcomed the next group, a stern-faced crew of intelligence analysts who had been patiently waiting to brief her. She seemed equally pleased to see them, but I was confident that her enthusiasm for me was somehow more sincere and superior. Such is the Hillary Clinton personal touch in close quarters in action.

That meeting set me on a path toward senate confirmation and nearly four years of service as the chief American diplomat for Asia. I would go on to make seventy-nine trips in that capacity, to every country in the region and to many other countries around the globe that were developing their own approaches to the Asian Century. I would travel with Secretary Clinton on nearly twenty occasions. I could not know then, as I walked out of State with a sense of exuberance, about the challenges that would lie ahead. Dealing with the biggest nuclear crises ever to hit Asia, after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Developing a comprehensive and sustained strategy for dealing with China's phenomenal and increasingly complex rise to global power. Staring down a dangerous leadership in North Korea bent on provocation. Developing a strategy for dealing with territorial encroachments across the South China Sea. Finding a way for the United States to join the nascent multilateral institutions of Asia. Articulating a public vision for the American Pivot to Asia. Leading the opening of a long-cloistered Burma that was venturing tentatively onto the international stage. Reengaging New Zealand as a friend and security partner after decades of strategic neglect. Revitalizing unofficial political and security relations with Taiwan while seeking to sustain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. And trying to find sanctuary for an unpredictable and volatile blind Chinese dissident at a time of high politics between the US and Chinese governments.

This book is informed by my whirlwind, jet-lagged diplomatic adventure at the State Department, a four-year effort to implement a multidimensional strategy toward Asia in the face of Middle East headwinds and domestic constraints. It is partly a story of diplomacy in a time of war. As the assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs in Foggy Bottom, the senior-most government official with daily responsibility for the vast Asia-Pacific region, I was a participant in every major encounter during this entire dynamic period. More important, however, this is a book about the future. It uses the past as prologue to argue for a much more engaged approach for the United States in Asia going forward. It also describes clearly and without ambiguity what the United States needs to do to sustain the Asian gambit in the complex period on the horizon. Part historic account, part travelogue, in parts both intense and humorous, with some elements of backward reflection but more focus on forward-looking analysis, this book is intended to explain the strategic steps and hidden moves behind a remarkable American gambit on the international stage: the Pivot to Asia.


There is a quiet drama playing out in American foreign policy, far from the dark contours of upheaval in the Middle East and South Asia and the hovering drone attacks of the war on terror. The United States is in the midst of a substantial and long-term national project, which is proceeding in fits and starts, to reorient its foreign policy to a rising Asia even in the midst of punishing and inescapable challenges in the Middle East. The central tenet of this bold policy shift is that the United States will need to do more with and in the Asia-Pacific to spur domestic revival and renovation as well as to keep the peace in the world's most dynamic region. If the larger Middle East can be described as the "arc of instability," then the region stretching from Japan through China and Southeast Asia to India can be seen as representing an "arc of ascendance," Asia's march on the future. American policy must heed this unrelenting feature of the future: that the lion's share of the history of the twenty-first century will be written in the Asia-Pacific region.

While the Asian Century detoured to the Middle East in the years following the September 11 attacks, this is now beginning to change as the United States devotes greater attention and resources to this dynamic region. With sensibilities deeply informed by twenty-first-century strategic realities, the United States has led a "Pivot" (or "rebalancing," as many prefer) of American diplomacy toward the nuanced yet demanding tasks of engaging a rising Asia. The Pivot is premised on the idea that the Asia-Pacific region not only increasingly defines global power and commerce, but also welcomes US leadership and rewards US engagement with positive returns on political, economic, and military investments. Former Australian ambassador to the United States Kim Beazley may have put it best: "Asia is the sunny uplands for America, and no region appreciates you more." The Pivot employs multiple instruments of statecraft, and although the visibility and tangibility of its military component has led the hard power investments to receive outsize attention, the initiative has been equally defined by diplomatic intensification and economic engagement that is long overdue, considerable, and ultimately consequential.

This book is about a necessary course correction for American diplomacy, commercial engagement, and military innovation during a time of unrelenting and largely unrewarding conflict. While the United States has intensified its focus on the Asia-Pacific under President Obama relative to previous administrations, much more remains to be done. In the Obama administration's second term, the intense demands of Iranian diplomacy, the unfolding Syrian tragedy, and ongoing operations in Afghanistan continue to consume the scarcest of all government resources—top-level time and attention. Debates and discussions over Middle East policy are important and necessary, but their shrillness and sheer volume often drown out reasoned arguments for a more balanced understanding of America's national interests, one not fully consumed with unwinnable wars and ungrateful partners but motivated by the promise of harnessing the dynamism of the world's most vibrant region to the benefit of every American. While the United States is a global power with responsibilities across the planet, its efforts in the Asia-Pacific have often failed to measure up to the region's importance and demand a greater share of the proverbial pie of US strategy and engagement abroad.

That the future of the United States will be intertwined with Asia's may seem unremarkable or even obvious given the portentous rise of the region's great powers, the stunning emergence of its economies, and the worrisome escalation of its nationalist conflicts; but the reality of the opportunities and challenges that await in Asia have yet to be felt—truly acknowledged and felt—in the White House Situation Room, along the State Department's corridors, inside the Pentagon's windowless planning cells, within American boardrooms, and in most of the country's classrooms and lecture halls. Rarely has a great power taken such a remarkable detour away from so vibrant a region, and one with such great consequences for its future.

This book is mostly about that future. It discusses how the United States should construct a strategy that will position it to ride and maneuver upon the Asian surf break now rising on the near horizon. It is sprinkled with personal experience and anecdotes from nearly twenty-five years of military, diplomatic, academic, and think tank experience, but these reflections are meant to inform the path ahead rather than gild the recent record of diplomacy. The overarching intention of this book is to provide a clarion call for cunning and dexterity and ingenuity in the period ahead for American statecraft in the Asia-Pacific region.


  • "This is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the emerging 'Pacific Century' and America's indispensable role in it."—John McCain, U.S. Senator
  • "In THE PIVOT, Campbell provides a deeply compelling rationale for refocusing American foreign policy priorities more on Asia. Surveying the wreckage of U.S. involvement in the Middle East over the last nearly twenty years, he provides a powerful guide for how to navigate the turbulent political waters of the Asia-Pacific, a region where American strategic engagement can make a deciding and decisive difference."—Walter Isaacson, president and CEO, Aspen Institute, and author of Steve Jobs
  • "THE PIVOT demonstrates why Kurt Campbell has become America's go-to expert on Asia. The book masterfully explains what Campbell calls the operating system in Asia and how he worked to rebalance U.S. foreign policy to give more attention to China and the Asia-Pacific region. Campbell's greatest strength is that he understands all the regional players-Japan, South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, and Vietnam-as well as China. If America gets Asia right in coming years, Campbell and his 'pivot' deserve much of the credit. How do you say must-read in Chinese?"—David Ignatius, columnist, Washington Post
  • "One may agree or disagree with Kurt Campbell's THE PIVOT . . . but one thing is clear: It is a timely contribution to a better understanding of the dilemmas inherent in the vital U.S.-China relationship."—Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor
  • "It is difficult to overstate the importance of the Asia-Pacific to America's national security and prosperity. It is even more difficult to overstate Kurt Campbell's qualifications on this critical subject. Many have studied U.S. foreign policy toward Asia. Far fewer have set it. Kurt has done both with high honors."—Graham Allison, director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, author of Rethinking America's Security: Beyond Cold War to New World Order
  • "As the chief architect of the Obama administration's pivot to Asia, Dr. Kurt Campbell served his country with distinction. In THE PIVOT, Dr. Campbell gives a comprehensive description of the evolution of U.S. policy toward Asia, captures the centrality of Asia to America's future, and makes a compelling argument as to the specific ways we can harness the potential of this dynamic region in the twenty-first century. This book should be required reading for policy makers and scholars alike."—Richard Armitage, former Deputy Secretary of State
  • "No region of the world will be more consequential for U.S. security and prosperity in the twenty-first century than the Asia-Pacific. THE PIVOT offers a rare combination of incisive insights and smart policy recommendations for how the United States should approach this critical region, now and in the future. Kurt Campbell's narrative is a rich tapestry of historical analysis, policy prescription, and personal anecdotes, woven together in a highly readable, sometimes provocative, and always interesting book. This is a must-read for anyone interested in America's future role in the world."—Michèle Flournoy, CEO, Center for a New American Security, and former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
  • "Asia holds more than half the world's people including the second and third largest economies (China and Japan); the largest democracy (India); and the largest Muslim country (Indonesia). Kurt Campbell has played a central role in shaping American policy toward this vital region, and in THE PIVOT he skillfully guides us through the past, present, and future of this crucial relationship."—Joseph S. Nye, Jr., distinguished service professor, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and author of Is the American Century Over?
  • "In THE PIVOT, Kurt Campbell, one of the nation's leading master strategists, makes a powerful case for America's sustained and forward-leaning engagement of Asia. As both intellectual architect and front-line diplomat for the Obama administration's 'pivot' to Asia, no one has a better view of the great historical forces and policy debates at play in this unfolding drama. THE PIVOT is both a witty and insightful firsthand account of America's emerging policy toward a rising Asia and a singularly eloquent statement of America's grand purposes in the world."—John Ikenberry, Albert G. Milbank Professor of Political and International Affairs, and author of Liberal Leviathan
  • "Kurt Campbell is one of America's foremost diplomats on Asia. He has written a highly provocative account of the history, and future, of America's engagement with the Eastern Hemisphere. Importantly, his voice is bound to be influential in any future Clinton administration."—Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister, Australia
  • "Balanced, constructive, and uniquely sensible, THE PIVOT is a must for those discussing, debating, or just thinking about America's role in the world. A thoughtful strategist, tested practitioner, and principal architect of rebalancing our foreign policy, Kurt Campbell pragmatically and convincingly drives home the foundations and imperative of America's continuing role in Asia and why Asia will continue to matter to the security and prosperity of the United States."—Admiral Gary Roughead, former Chief of Naval Operations
  • "Campbell has captured the rising portent of Asia's expanding contributions to manufacturing, transportation, cuisine, and, yes, culture and music. This fascinating read is not only a cogent narrative of the long and twisting tale of U.S. engagement towards Asia, but also a valuable foundation for those seeking insight into what lies ahead for U.S. relations with this vital part of the world."—Tim Westergren, founder, Pandora Music
  • "No modern American has contributed more to the ideas and plans which have driven the Obama administration's rebalancing of American national security policy to prioritize the Asia-Pacific than Kurt Campbell. Credit of course goes to principals: in this case, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But Kurt Campbell drove the innovative ideas and programs which gave the concept life. For a time, leaders in the region looked forward to a Campbell visit. Asian hosts knew they would be in receipt of serious policy acumen, not narrow American special pleading. His brand of diplomacy brought the relentless forward momentum of a heavy cruiser at flank speed. No one is better placed than Kurt Campbell to provide an authoritative guide to U.S.-Asia relations. This work will be required reading in every Asian capital."—Kim Beazley, former Australian Ambassador to the United States

On Sale
Jun 7, 2016
Page Count
432 pages

Kurt Campbell

About the Author

Kurt M. Campbell is chairman and chief executive officer of the Asia Group, LLC, and served as the assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State from 2009 to 2013. For his service, he received the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award-the nation’s highest diplomatic medal-and has been recognized with top national honors across Asia. He is chairman of the board at the Center for a New American Security, a non-resident fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center, on the board for Standard Chartered PLC, and is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group. Dr. Campbell is the author or editor of ten books, including Difficult Transitions: Why Presidents Fail in Foreign Policy at the Outset of Power and Hard Power: The New Politics of National Security. He is married to Dr. Lael Brainard, governor on the U.S. Federal Reserve Board and former under secretary of Treasury for International Affairs. Together, they live in Washington, D.C. with their three daughters.

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