Why does the United States seek military superiority in Asia? This chapter compares evidence from US Asia strategy during the Obama and Trump administrations with general indicators of a primacy strategy. It finds little evidence to support the claim that the United States seeks primacy in Asia, and proposes that for the United States, military superiority is an issue of force structure planning, involving long-term capability development. The ability for the United States to prevail in plausible conflicts against Asia’s next-strongest power is essential for a range of grand strategies that are more modest in scope and intention than one of primacy. The distinction is important because if President Trump or any future US administration does decide to seek primacy in Asia, it would mark a significant break from, not continuation of, US strategic and foreign policy traditions in the region.
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