Ten Years On: Assessing the U.S. Strategic Pivot (Rebalancing) to Asia

The Obama administration announced its strategic pivot to Asia in 2011. Over the last decade, the pivot has evolved, from strategic rebalancing under Obama, to the Trump administration’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” strategy. But has the centre of gravity of U.S. diplomacy and defence shifted to the Indo-Pacific as initially planned? By removing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and accelerating the American retreat from world affairs at a time when China was consolidating its position in the Indo-Pacific, did the Trump administration compromise the American strategy on Asia? How did America’s allies react to the U.S. pivot and what impact did it have on rival powers, such as China, Russia and Iran? Finally, what lessons should Canada learn from this strategy and what are the strategic and defensive implications for Ottawa?


This workshop is being organized by the Network for Strategic Analysis, created by the Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) program of Canada’s Department of National Defence. The workshop will bring together academic and military experts to take stock of this strategic issue in the context of increased rivalry between major powers.


Colloquium Program [PDF]


Preliminary program


9:30-9:35: Opening remarks by Jonathan Paquin, Research Leader, Axis 1 (Université Laval)


9:35-11:15: Panel 1 (view video)

The Strategic Pivot and the Response of Washington’s Allies

Moderator: Stéphanie Martel (Queen’s University)

  • Rachel Esplin Odell (Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft)

          The US pivot then and now

  • Jonathan Berkshire Miller (Japan Institute of International Affairs)

          An East Asian Perspective on the Pivot: Japan and Korea

  • Natalie Sambhi (Australian National University)

         Australia and ASEAN states’ response to the pivot

  • Cleo Paskal (Chatham House)

         European perceptions of strategic changes in the Indo-Pacific


11:00-12:00: Keynote Speaker (view video)

Commodore Angus Topshee, OMM, MSM, CD, Naval Warfare Officer – Royal Canadian Navy


12:00-13h00: Lunch


13:00-14:15: Panel 2 (view video)

Reactions of Rival Powers to American Rebalancing

Moderator: Yann Breault (Royal Military College of St-Jean)

  • Bonnie S. Glaser (Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC)

         China’s positioning in the face of American rebalancing

         Russia’s response to the U.S. initiative  

       The consequences of the pivot for Iranian foreign policy and the balance of power in the Middle East


14:15-14:30: Closing Remarks


Friday, February 26, 2021


09:30 - 14:30

Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces / Le Ministère de la Défense nationale et les Forces armées canadiennes