Environmental protection and US-Asia relations: A policy of disconnect

Lorraine Elliott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the post-September 11 focus on regional security and the continued emphasis on regional economic cooperation, environmental degradation should not be overlooked as an important issue for US policy in and relationship with the Asia-Pacific. It is an important issue in its own right, presenting the countries of the region with ecological, economic and social (human security) challenges. There are both ethical and instrumental impulses for the United States, as a rich industrialised country and as a disproportionate consumer of resources and polluter of global waste, to provide environmental assistance to the Asia-Pacific. Despite global demands that the 'new' new world (environmental) order should be based on solidarity and collective responsibility, neither US environmental policy towards the region nor the regional consequences of its international environmental policy more generally meet this test. The US is fundamentally self-regarding rather than other-regarding in the various dimensions of its environmental relationship with the region. The consequences for both the region and for the US may be substantial. Continued environmental degradation in the region has the potential to undermine other US policy goals, in terms of its reputation, it economic objectives and even its more orthodox geopolitical security objectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-314
Number of pages24
JournalPacific Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


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