In this third installment of Indo-Pacific Perspectives, Dr. Peter Harris and his assembled scholars tackle the issue of Sino-Indian border conflicts.
The border dispute is one component of the Sino-Indian relationship. In recent years, unwanted skirmishes and clashes along the LAC have been highly politicized, exacerbating antagonistic domestic dynamics as well as furthering the perception of an international competition. To continue intensifying cooperation among China, India, and the rest of Asia, leaders would do well to remember that “divide and rule” remains a powerful strategy in world politics. Indian and Chinese leaders should each avoid falling into that trap.
The United States must utilize a new source of power to address the China dilemma: its ability to develop and influence liberal multilateral institutions. This grand strategy uses diplomacy to leverage liberal cooperative security and financial institutions to both bound and reshape China’s power within the system to bolster US national security.
Under Xi Jinping’s leadership, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), directed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is pursuing a grand strategy to achieve national rejuvenation. Its strategy incorporates various malign influence methods to control, persuade, intimidate, and manipulate foreign entities and citizens to support this vision. In its insidious infiltration, the CCP is leveraging economic coercion and interference in domestic affairs in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to implement its national grand strategy of rejuvenation that, if left unchallenged, could have detrimental consequences. The United States should prepare now and implement a united, interagency cooperative posture that also extends across applicable institutions and national governmental echelons to prevent an imbalance in favor of the PRC. Diplomacy is encouraged, but it requires transparency resulting in an overt, legitimate display of intentions and behavior that also includes reciprocity between participating nations. Open, free democracies should not be at a disadvantage because they implement soft power in alignment with their enduring principles, values, and international standards. While this article will not attempt to cover all aspects of the grand strategy pursued by the CCP, it will attempt to explain that its seemingly innocuous and insidious use of malign influence and interference needs to be recognized and countered by the United States and its allies.
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.
The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor has been billed as the “flagship” project of China’s vast Belt and Road Initiative. Beginning in 2014, Pakistan and China have formulated a plan to invest 62 billion USD on improvements to the Gwadar Port complex near the Iranian border, upgrades to Pakistan’s energy and transportation infrastructure, and a series of special economic zones throughout the country. There have been some early modest successes; however, Pakistan has been unable to provide further security for these improvements and the workers building them. This, in addition to the pervasive corruption in the country, means that the project is unlikely result in the dramatic economic growth necessary to prevent Pakistan from incurring the debt complications that other nations have faced after accepting Chinese credit in hopes of bettering their economies. Consequently, the project is unlikely to either result in Pakistan achieving many of its ambitious goals or in forging the kind of strategic relationship between China and Pakistan the United States and the West fear most.
The new Arctic has already changed the dynamics of international commerce, the search for raw materials, access to the Far North, and military presence. History has shown that when America is slow to react to global challenges, the nation may find itself in a game of catch-up with the nations that acted quickly. However, the realities of US global commitments make it impossible to focus on the Arctic without accounting for the other regions of global competition. Only by thoughtfully executing, evaluating, and improving the nation’s Arctic security strategies will the nation be able to achieve the allocation and sharing of critical resources that secure US national Arctic interests to better guarantee the Arctic’s future as a secure and stable region.
Where Great Powers Meet: America & China in Southeast Asia, by David L. Shambaugh. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021.
Dr. Harris introduces this issue of Indo-Pacific Perspectives, tackling the topic of Taiwan.
This article examines why the US commitment to Taiwan is “rock-solid” and why it must remain so.
March 2021 Full Issue
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.