Tuesday, May 14, 2024 | 4:00 PM EDT - 4:30 PM EDT

There is wide bipartisan agreement that Asia belongs at the center of U.S. foreign policy. What has been achieved since the Obama administration announced its “Pivot to Asia” in 2011?  Robert Blackwill and Richard Fontaine argue in Lost Decade: The U.S. Pivot to Asia and the Rise of Chinese Power that although the pivot made strategic sense, there have been few successes; furthermore, we need a far more coherent approach to the Indo-Pacific region.  The authors stress that American policymakers must fully understand what the pivot to Asia aimed to achieve – and where it fell short – to gather the resources and forge the alliances and resolve necessary to preserve an open order in Asia and the world. Crafting an effective policy for the region is critical to preserving American security, prosperity, and democratic values.

In an interview conducted on May 14, 2024, Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill and Richard Fontaine discuss the recent shift to Asia-centric geopolitics and its implications for America’s present and future.


Robert D. Blackwill

Robert D. Blackwill is the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).  He served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for strategic planning under President George W. Bush, presidential envoy to Iraq, and ambassador to India from 2001 to 2003. He is the recipient of the Padma Bhushan Award from the government of India.

In addition to Lost Decade, he wrote War by Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft (2016), and Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World (2013). His CFR Special Reports include The United States, China, and Taiwan: A Strategy to Prevent War (2021); Implementing Grand Strategy Toward China: Twenty-Two U.S. Policy Prescriptions (2020); Xi Jinping on the Global Stage (2016); and A New U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China (2015).

Richard Fontaine

Richard Fontaine is the chief executive officer of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), having previously served as president (2012–19) and senior fellow (2009–12). Prior to joining CNAS, he was foreign policy advisor to Senator John McCain during his 2008 campaign and the minority deputy staff director on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Earlier he served as associate director for Near Eastern Affairs at the National Security Council (2003–04).  He began his foreign policy career as a staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, focusing on the Middle East and South Asia. He also spent a year teaching English in Japan.

Mr. Fontaine currently serves as executive director of the Trilateral Commission and on the Defense Policy Board.

A summa cum laude graduate of Tulane University, Mr. Fontaine holds an MA in international affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.