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Obama’s Grand Strategy: Between Off-Shore Balancing and the ‘Pivot to Asia’

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Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to unpack Barack Obama’s foreign policy. It shows that Obama was not remarkably alternative to capitalism and the US ruling class establishment. Nonetheless, his global and regional worldviews have produced some discontinuities compared to the Bush and Trump administrations. In particular, the chapter lays several connected arguments. Obama, contrarily to the opinion of many observers, conducted a coherent grand strategy. This entailed a review of US strategic priorities based on a changing world order. The result was an off-shore balancing approach where pragmatism and diplomacy were preferred to democracy promotion and heavy military interventions. The practical effect of this approach was twofold. On the one hand, Obama sought to diminish the US commitment in the Middle East and Europe. On the other hand, he focused more on the Asia-Pacific with a comprehensive hedging strategy toward China that conflated military, economic, and diplomatic policies.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-54742-4_5
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Correspondence to Zeno Leoni .

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Leoni, Z. (2021). Obama’s Grand Strategy: Between Off-Shore Balancing and the ‘Pivot to Asia’. In: American Grand Strategy from Obama to Trump. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54742-4_5

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