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.
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.
Volume 04 Issue 3 - Summer 2021
An effective US grand strategy of cooperative security in East Asia would take the overlapping interests of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief regarding climate changes to generate a platform for productive diplomatic dialogue between the powers, a forum by which US soft power might be operationalized and encourage future relationships of reciprocity between China and its neighbors.
For years, Southeast Asia has become more reliant on China, striking a Faustian bargain, wherein they accept Chinese investments in return for acquiescence to Chinese hegemony and a commitment not to criticize its central government. In 2021, the Biden administration must take bold diplomatic, messaging, military, and economic actions to curtail Chinese influence and coercion in the region. Many of these actions can begin immediately and will benefit both Southeast Asia and the United States for years to come. Failure to solidify the US role in Southeast Asia will result in China becoming inextricably entrenched in the region and embolden Beijing to take even more aggressive actions against American allies and interests.
This special issue brings together different national and scholarly perspectives to analyze the potential of the Quad Plus from varied national and regional connotations. The volume considers whether the Quad Plus framework can emerge as a central focus of the emerging Indo-Pacific synergies or approaches of various regions and nation states. Accordingly, the special issue is divided into three parts. The first, “Beijing, Quad, and the Quad Plus,” discusses the grouping from the viewpoints of the core Quad 2.0 states—the United States, India, Japan, and Australia, beginning with a special article on the Chinese perspective on the Quad process. The second part, titled “The ‘Plus’ Perspectives,” seeks to consider the prospects that the grouping holds for middle powers and previously included parties such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, United Kingdom, South Korea, Israel, France, Canada, and Brazil. The third and last section expands the scope to discuss perspectives of countries like Russia, the Indian Ocean island states, the Middle East, Pakistan–Afghanistan–Iran, and of course, with a focus on history and politics that the region delves upon pertaining to connectivity and infrastructure. Together, these articles aim to discuss not only the present approaches of the nations/regions in question toward the Quad Plus but also assess how their policies may evolve in the future amid a more hotly contested Indo-Pacific region and an intensifying US–China rivalry. (Note: An updated version of this issue will post in early 2021.)
Dr. Peter Harris, et al
December 2020 Full Edition
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.