chapter  3
21 Pages

The divergent US interests approach: A different theoretical lens

The interplay of American foreign policy and corporate interests in developing Asia in the years following the Asian financial crisis provides an important test of conflicting theories of international and comparative political economy. Chapter 2 outlined how the model of strong American power depicted US actors successfully achieving their economic interests, whereas the resistant domestic political economy model denied that American leverage translated into material gains. Neither of these positions anticipated US interests diverging in post-crisis Asia, in large part because of the assumptions they carried about the close relationship between the American state and American multinational corporations. Given that US actors responded differently than predicted, serious questions can be raised about the internal consistency and broader relevance of these two dominant approaches to the study of crises in emerging markets. Chapter 3 attempts to move the discussion forward by developing an alternative perspective, which is called the divergent US interests model. The argument is that this theoretical framework captures underexplored issues and key elements of US economic behaviour in developing Asia over a multi-year period following the financial crisis.