Ethnic Identity Groups and U.S. Foreign Policy

By Thomas Ambrosio | Go to book overview

Chapter 7

Asian-Americans and U.S.-Asia Relations

Paul Y. Watanabe1

In pursuit of markets, raw materials, military bases, or lost souls, the United States' Pacific crossings have had a substantial impact on shaping Asia, the United States, and relations between the two. It is in these encounters as well that the foundations of the Asian-American community can be located. “The very beginning of modern Asian America, ” David Palumbo-Liu has written, “may be given context within a respatialization of the nation—the United States' increased involvement in the Pacific, specifically its annexation of the Philippines and Hawai'i. America's interest in the Sino-Japanese War, its war in the Pacific (and its postwar relations in that area), its concern with China's and Taiwan's position in the Cold War, its wars in Korea and Indochina, have all affected Asian-Americans profoundly, both in terms of Asians already in America and Asians who migrated to the United States.” 2

This chapter addresses Don T. Nakanishi's recent call for “renewing a search for a paradigm of Asian Pacific American politics” that takes into account “nondomestic political experiences and relationships.” 3 In his contribution to an important new collection on Asian-American politics, he challenges scholars to consider “efforts by Asian Pacific Americans to influence U.S.-Asia relations, especially in advocating changes in American foreign policy toward their countries of origin; the ways in which international processes and policies related to the flow of people, money, goods, and ideas impinge on the political behavior and status of Asian Pacific Americans; and the impact of international political conflicts and domestic political crises involving Asian homelands on interethnic and intracommunity political relations involving Asian Pacific American communities.” 4

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