American Ascendancy in the Pacific | Wilson Center

American Ascendancy in the Pacific

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Webcast Recap

For at least a century and a half, a chronological straight line can be drawn from the development of California and the American West to Japan and the heartland of China. That line "faced West" and had its back turned to Europe. American interactions—domestic as well as international—with East Asia began with China, the Philippines, Hawaii, and Japan. Since Pearl Harbor, the United States has fought three major wars in Asia (one win, one draw, one loss). These episodes, suggests University of Chicago Professor Bruce Cumings reveal larger patterns of America's place in the world, which diverge from the dominant Atlanticist narrative.

Bruce Cumings is Distinguished Service Professor in History at the University of Chicago. He was a member of the Peace Corps in South Korea before going to Columbia University in 1968. Among his honors is the John K. Fairbank Award of the American Historical Association. His books include The Origins of the Korean War (1981), Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History (1997), and Dominion from Sea to Sea: Pacific Ascendancy and American Power (2009).

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  • Christian F. Ostermann

    Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
    Woodrow Wilson Center