No one knows what the long-term implications of Donald Trump’s unexpected election will be for the broadly conceived Asia–Pacific region. What we do know, however, is that it is likely to be very different from what has gone before. At the very least it will draw a line under Obama’s “Pivot” to Asia and to specific initiatives like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The familiar basis of US regional engagement that has been in place for half a century may be replaced by a more “transactional” approach to foreign policy that places American national interests ahead of all others. This article considers what this may mean for East Asia in particular by analysing some of the deeply integrated geopolitical and geoeconomic dynamics that currently drive regional relations, but which seem to have been given little consideration by the Trump administration.