Paper Type

Master's Thesis


Cross-college: Coggin and COAS

Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Affairs (MAIA)


Accounting & Finance

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. College of Arts and Sciences. University of North Florida. Coggin College of Business.

First Advisor

Dr. David Schwam-Baird

Second Advisor

Dr. Joshua Gellers

Rights Statement

Department Chair

Dr. Matthew Corrigan

College Dean

Dr. George Rainbolt


The Obama Administration’s Pivot to Asia policy was a grand shift in focus for U.S. foreign policy and sought to lay the foundation of U.S. policy in the region for the future. This paper derives three fundamental assumptions that the Pivot policy was based upon, from the articulations of the main architects of the Pivot Policy: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. These assumptions are as follows, pivoting to the Asia-Pacific will be beneficial to the U.S., engagement with China is central to the Pivot policy and the policy is not an effort to contain China, and finally the draw down in the Middle East will happen and the Pivot policy cannot happen without this draw down. Then, this paper assesses whether they were realistic to presume. It is found that the foundation of the Pivot policy was sound, but certain actions by they Obama Administration undermined these assumptions and overall hurt the effectiveness of the Pivot policy.