The Diplomat includes an interview with the The Rebalance authors Mercy Kuo and Angie Tang who regularly engage subject-matter experts, policy practitioners and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into the U.S. rebalance to Asia. This conversation with Dr. Mathieu Duchâtel – Head of the China and Global Security Project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) – is the nineteenth in “The Rebalance Insight Series.”
How would you assess the impact of U.S. rebalance to Asia on the region’s security landscape, and how might U.S. Asia policy evolve under a new U.S. presidency?
The most obvious impact is on the regional balance of military power. Some observers dismiss the military dimension of the pivot as too little to be relevant but the United States is accomplishing rapid progress in the regional integration of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance [ISR] capabilities with Japan, Australia and the Philippines, but increasingly also Vietnam, and possibly Taiwan. This regional integration of ISR maintains the gap with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), especially in terms of maritime domain awareness. In response, the Chinese strategic community is promoting two narratives – one depicting the U.S. rebalance as a cause of strategic instability in the region; the other stressing a “U.S. decline” that the pivot tries to disguise and compensate. This discourse reflects China’s ambivalent perception of the rebalance: The Chinese military modernizes fast but a strong regional reaction has already taken place. It seems to me that this will be a structural trend as long as territorial disputes are not resolved, and that whoever wins the next U.S. presidential election will do more rather than less to reduce the geopolitical impact of the PLA modernization in the region.
Read more from the Diplomat Article:
Asia’s Security Architecture: The China Factor