UCL Institute of the Americas


Dr Alin Barbantan

Pacific Dream? The evolution of US strategic culture and alliances in the Indo-Pacific , 2001-2022


Dr Tony McCulloch and Professor Iwan Morgan

PhD completed in 2023

Dr Alin Barbantan
My thesis was on the topic of US alliances in the Indo-Pacific, from George W. Bush to Joe Biden. It analyses the 'Pacific Dream', a political, economic, and security vision the US has been developing since the end of World War Two. I particularly look at the 'San Francisco System', America's network of bilateral alliances in the Indo-Pacific, as well as more recent alliance networks, such as the Quad and Quad Plus. I approached this through the lens of strategic culture, an internaitonal relations theory domain that enables a more historical approach.

I looked at the evolution of US-China relations, given the emerging competition between Washington and Beijing, observing how the relationship between the two superpowers has become increasingly tense. I give particular attention to the role US allies have in this development, and I try to see just how much has the US changed in terms of listening to its allies on matters such as China's rise.