First, this article discusses openness and selective US interests in an openness strategy. Second, recognizing that power comes from many sources, this article discusses leveraging the diplomatic, information, economic, then military (DIME) instruments of power to address China’s rise and achieve the narrowly defined US interests. Finally, the article highlights mutually acceptable outcomes achievable through openness.
Volume 04 Issue 7 - Special Issue 2021
This article contends that US policy makers should understand the growing problem of suspicious Chinese and Russian actions in the polar regions. The dangers of an uncontested China and Russia may lead to a strategic imbalance in evolving regions of geostrategic and geopolitical relevance. Thus, there should be focused policy solutions and military capabilities dedicated toward ensuring that China and Russia do not further challenge the status quo at the North Pole and South Pole.
In the Arctic region since the end of the Cold War, if not before, there has been a mismatch between the national interest of the United States as expressed on paper versus the drive to act on feelings expressed by the American public. The era of great-power competition, played out against the backdrop of rapid environmental changes and increasing commercial interests, has accelerated focus on the Arctic region across the US defense enterprise. And though looking outwardly at the stated and implicit intentions of the People’s Republic of China and Russian Federation in the region is valuable for strategists, we should also think about our internal strengths and weaknesses with regard to perceptions, investments, and actions in the Arctic of today and tomorrow.
Transcript of Statement of General Glen VanHerck, US Air Force, Commander, United States Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. before the House Armed Services Committee, 14 April 2021.
The clear focus of US strategic thinking today is on China and the Indo-Pacific region. This reflects bipartisan consensus and continuity—at least in threat assessment—across presidential administrations. What does this focus on the Indo-Pacific mean for the Arctic? How does change in the Arctic affect the US strategic focus on the Indo-Pacific?
The mounting tensions between the United States and China will pose a challenge to China’s Arctic strategy. At the same time, China’s involvement and behavior related to the South China Sea dispute might pose its own hindrance to the bigger goal. It will be beneficial for China not to engage in confrontational behavior due to the strategic value of the Arctic. At the same time, through various economic and commercial commitments, China has taken constructive diplomatic steps to cultivate relations with the Arctic Council that will facilitate Chinese interests. China has entered into joint ventures with Russian gas companies, in addition to building an embassy in Iceland and financing the Kouvola–Xi’an train in Finland. China has also warmed relations with Norway and Greenland through various investments. This inflow of investments will, in turn, help Greenland to lessen its reliance on Denmark. Moreover, all this has helped China to increase its foothold in Arctic nations. Though China has maintained positions that it is concerned about the climate and environment of the Arctic region and has economic interests there, it cannot be ruled out that all this may be only a small portion of the larger geopolitical narrative that China is pursuing as it strives to be recognized as a responsible major power with growing global reach at a time when the United States is stepping back from international commitments.
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.
This article addresses the blowback from France regarding the announcement of the trilateral AUKUS agreement.
Book Review: Orders of Exclusion: Great Powers and the Strategic Sources of Foundational Rules in International Relations, by Kyle M. Lascurettes. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020. 353 pp.
This article probes Washington’s relative lack of attention to Myanmar in its Asia rebalancing and Indo-Pacific strategies and its failure to reap the benefits of Myanmar’s reform and opening. The article also assesses the extent of the leverage of China’s power in Myanmar and its implications for Myanmar’s own ability to hedge its bets, and that of other major players to promote their interests in Myanmar. Lastly, the article analyzes the emerging trajectory of China’s role in Myanmar post the military coup and argues that Washington needs to soberly assess the value of Myanmar in its strategic calculus for the Indo-Pacific. Based on such an assessment, Washington needs to clarify the objectives of its approach to Myanmar and then arrive at its strategy to achieve those objectives, which might include recalibrating its reliance on ASEAN, its dynamics with China vis-à-vis Myanmar, and engagement with like-minded partners of the Indo-Pacific region.
This article highlights the tyranny of the military junta and the backsliding of democracy in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), contending that Russia and China's unwavering support of Myanmar's military makes it difficult to restore the democratic process and reestablish peace and stability. It also proposes that the triangular nexus of China–Myanmar–Russia propels apprehensions for the rise of autocracy and its impact on South Asia and Southeast Asian security architecture and regional stability.
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.