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The Pacific Plunge: America in the Pacific

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Please note that this is an in-person event.

The United States has invested significant political capital in promoting its re-engagement across the Pacific. American interest is driven, primarily, by the changing geostrategic circumstances driven by strategic competition. In the North Pacific, Washington committed itself in 2019 to negotiating a new round of funding for the Freely Associated States of the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau. President Biden signed that new finding into law in 2024. Similarly, in the South Pacific, the US signaled its growing interest when it, along with Australia, Japan and New Zealand undertook to expand electrification in Papua New Guinea in 2018. In 2022, the White House issued the first ever Pacific Island Strategy. Pacific Island leaders have twice visited Washington at summits in 2022 and 2023 hosted by the White House. How has the United States fared in its plunge into the region? What more does Washington need to do, both at home and in the region, to deliver on its strategic objectives? What stands in the way and what might go wrong?


Alan Tidwell is Professor of the Practice and Director of the Center for Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Studies (CANZPS) at the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service. His areas of interest include Australian-American relations, smaller states of Oceania, and conflict resolution. Before joining Georgetown University, he was a program officer with the United States Institute of Peace, specializing in conflict resolution and capacity building in maritime Southeast Asia, particularly in the Philippines and Indonesia.

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