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Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs Articles

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  • Examining America’s Treaty and Alliance Structure in the Indo-­Pacific

    This article examines the political, military, and economic dynamics of the great-­power competition between the United States and the People’s Republic of China in the Indo-­Pacific and how it has impacted the American alliance structure since the beginning of the Cold War. The author reviews the rise of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) following the demise of the American-­sponsored Southeast Asian Treaty Organization, and the challenges facing the United States in establishing a new multilateral defense treaty organization to confront growing Chinese military assertiveness in the region. The author then compares three potential alliances structures to advance American interests in the region with an eye toward current and emerging strategic landscapes.

  • Al-­Qaeda’s Keys to Success

    In this article, the author argues that not only is al-Qaeda far from dead, but that the main factors contributing to the organization’s continued global success are decentralization, effective narratives and propaganda, and the specific targeting of locations with a preexisting history of instability and violence.
     

  • China–South Korea Relations Amid the Sino-­American Strategic Rivalry

    South Korea’s perception of China’s role in both the denuclearization and peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula has in part shaped the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) current unwillingness to align itself with the US’s Indo-­Pacific Strategy, especially due to the significant effects Sino-­US tensions have on Beijing’s strategy toward the Korean Peninsula. In particular, Seoul remains concerned that outright alignment with the United States against China could exacerbate the Korean Peninsula’s position in Sino-­US strategic competition. For South Korea, this carries the risk of both Seoul’s diminished influence in the pursuit of Korean denuclearization amid Sino-­US tensions as well as a reduction of Beijing’s prospective support for Korean unification under the ROK’s lead.
     

  • Pivot to Power: US Grand Strategy and the Rise of China

    This article analyzes the emerging engagement and paradigm shift in the US grand strategy in the Indo-­Pacific. Its primary thesis is that the current geopolitical and strategic importance of the region has led the United States to redesign and refocus its grand strategy toward the Indo-­Pacific, primarily as a method to establish a rules-­based order with other like-­minded nations, especially democracies, to counterbalance the rise of an increasingly aggressive China.

  • Evaluating Civil Engineer Force Presentation Models for Agile Combat Employment

    This article examines the need for redesigned force presentation packages within the Air Force Civil Engineer community due to the return to Great Power Competition and the implementation of Agile Combat Employment (ACE). The author initiates the discussion by proposing a standardized lexicon for these emerging concepts, particularly concerning contingency basing. A recent RAND study proposed a base archetype model for classifying installations within the ACE construct. This paper discusses the advantages of this model and proposes a few modifications. The model, in turn, suggests how to redesign force presentation packages for modern operations. Finally, the author conducts a brief review of current progress toward implementing these redesigned force modules within the Civil Engineer community.

  • The Perils of Power Asymmetry in the Indo-Pacific: What Should New Delhi Do about It?

    This article attempts to explain what makes India behave the way it does in its approach to the Indo-Pacific, a behavior that one Indian analyst prefers to call “evasive balancing.” The answer to such a behavior, this article contends, is found in the balance of power or, more specifically, in India’s considerable power asymmetry relative to the United States and China in addition to the decreasing power gap between the United States and China. India’s economic and military growth puts it below the United States and China in the hierarchy of differing capabilities, and China has been reducing its power gap with the United States. 

  • A US Response to China’s Aggression in the South China Sea and Overall Aim of Information Dominance

    This article lays out views relating to the operational environment and the desired end state (DES) in the South China Sea (SCS), and offers recommendations using elements of national power (diplomatic, information, military and economic) to confront China’s destabilizing actions in the region, interrupting trade, threatening sovereignty of other nations around the SCS, and limiting United States commercial and military access to the region in accordance with the Trump administration’s US National Security Strategy issued in 2017 and the Biden administration’s newly released INSSG. Most notable, though, this article makes a stronger argument for why the United States should focus more on China’s aim of information dominance. Led by the United States, immediate, focused actions involving key regional partners are needed in the SCS to maintain freedom of the seas for all allies in and beyond the region in accordance with international law.
     

  • Clausewitz's Trinity of War and Nuclear Deterrence: The Case of Indian Nuclear Deterrence and Strategic Stability in South Asia

    This article reiterates the relevance of Clausewitz to India’s nuclear deterrence, which is supported by New Delhi’s “trinity of war” aggregates of constitutional democracy, economic strength, technological advancement, diplomatic engagement, military buildup, and nationalistic cultural ambitions. These aggregates impart substance and credibility to India’s nuclear doctrine and force posture, making India’s position more confident and reliable in comparison to Pakistan’s deterrent. This dynamic could undermine strategic stability in South Asia by incentivizing India to contemplate counterforce options against Pakistan.
     

  • The Malign Influence of the People’s Republic of China in International Affairs

    The People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to aggressively seek a return to international prominence and has increasingly amplified its presence as a global power. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has made it abundantly clear that it has plans to reshape the world order more to Beijing’s liking. Within the Indo-­Pacific, the PRC has strategically crafted its international policies through its signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), designed to gain advantage and leverage Beijing’s growing economic and military might. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, President Xi Jinping’s vision includes “creating a vast network of railways, energy pipelines, highways, and streamlined border crossings, both westward—through the mountainous former Soviet republics—and southward, to Pakistan, India, and the rest of Southeast Asia.” Through this framework, four observable tactics have emerged: the use of debt diplomacy, border disputes with neighboring nations, the general disregard for agreements and international norms, and, more recently, Beijing’s undermining actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Arguably, an objective observer could consider the PRC’s international policies to be subversive and, at a bare minimum, have the potential to impact the entire Indo-­Pacific region.

  • Prioritizing India in Biden’s “America Is Back” Foreign Policy

    The time has now arrived to recalibrate India’s rise as a geopolitical and strategic power for the liberal international order. How can India’s policy choices fit in President Joe Biden’s “America Is Back” foreign policy?

  • Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and China’s Geopolitical Checkmate in the Indo-­Pacific Region

    This article explains the strategic importance of the RCEP and its role in China’s rise and declining credibility of the American opposition to it. Finally, using qualitative content analysis, the article argues that a successful RCEP amplifies the strategic ambiguity among the US regional allies and strategic partners linked in security arrangements like Quadrilateral Security Dialogue in their commitment to counter China and will further weaken the credibility of the American efforts to contain China’s rise in the Indo-­Pacific region.

  • The Belt and Road Initiative: A Lens into China’s Energy Security and Maritime Strategy

    This article contends that China, through its Belt and Road Initiative, is continuing a long-­­­standing pursuit of its energy security strategy begun in 1993 and a separate maritime strategy. The economic corridors that have resulted will diversify the sources and routes of energy imports, and the initiative’s energy cooperation projects are a continuation of China’s long-­­­term goals. China’s maritime strategy, pursued through the Maritime Silk Road, is designed to achieve the goals of developing naval bases and the blue-­­­water navy and increasing military capabilities and naval activities to protect China’s vital interests.

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The views and opinions expressed or implied in JIPA are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the Department of Defense, Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government or their international equivalents. See our Publication Ethics Statement.