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.
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 provided the Secretary of Defense (SecDef) the authority to assess, plan, and establish a new Department of Defense (DOD) Regional Center, specifically oriented to the Arctic. Following a period of analysis on the merits of creating such a center, the Secretary announced the establishment of the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies (Stevens Center or TSC) on 9 June 2021. As part of that announcement, SecDef Llyod Austin elaborated these key details: “The center will support the U.S. Interim National Security Strategic Guidance direction to work with like-minded partners and across the interagency to pool our collective strength and advance shared interests,” Austin said. “It will address the need for U.S. engagement and international cooperation to strengthen the rules-based order in the region and tackle shared challenges such as climate change.”1
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 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.
This article addresses the blowback from France regarding the announcement of the trilateral AUKUS agreement.
Taking the position that the Tatmadaw is an essential institution ignores two fundamental realities: its own record of fostering conflict and division, mismanaging and subordinating the country’s interests to its own obsession with power; and the near unanimity with which the Myanmar population despises the armed forces and will no longer live peacefully under its control. The February 2021 coup sparked a national uprising of a magnitude that should have everyone questioning long-held assumptions about the centers of power in the years ahead.
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.
Volume 04 Issue 6 - Myanmar Crisis Special Issue 2021
North Korea is currently observing a self-imposed moratorium on ICBM and nuclear testing. While this is a good start for negotiations, there is a genuine fear that North Korea has stopped testing simply because it no longer needs to test. Whether or not this is true—and whether there is truly a warhead gap—is something that time will tell. If tests resume in earnest, then it will be clear that North Korea has more work to do.
A selective engagement strategy in East Asia requires diplomatic and economic cooperation and confrontation, as well as information and military competition. This article will provide a background on China’s growing influence in East Asia, outline a grand strategy of selective engagement, and describe how the United States should utilize the instruments of national power to realize its interests.
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.