The new US administration has made the Indo-Pacific front and centre of its foreign policy. Despite key elements of continuity with the previous administration, Joe Biden has shown his willingness to reshape the US approach to the region during his first few months in office. China remains the US government’s primary concern and that of a growing number of democracies, too: from maritime claims in the Asian seas to infrastructure-building, down to human rights issues and technological competition, Beijing’s activities have drawn global attention to the Indo-Pacific.
As such, the US administration has tried to give new momentum to the network of allies and partners scattered throughout the region and in Europe alike. The much-anticipated “summit of democracies” is likely to find its Indo-Pacific dimension with the Quad, a coordination framework involving the US, Japan, Australia, and India. Biden is making a strategic bet on this grouping with the aim to not only contain China, but also propose a “democratic-minded” vision for the region. Can such a project succeed? Or is China’s economic and political influence already too strong?