This article compares the roots and perspectives of civilizational thinking in three cases (China, Russia, and India) to chart the complex interplay between the rise of domestic “civilizational factions” among a state’s intelligentsia and non-Western elites and the subsequent effects of this thinking on each state’s behavior and strategic posture in the realm of its external affairs. Through rigorous cross-comparative examination and process-tracing along the defined parameters, this case study seeks to contribute to the nascent scholarly literature on the emerging civilization-state phenomena, offering some conclusions on how the emic repackaging of ancient historical epistemologies under hypermodern frameworks may go on to redefine plurilateral order throughout the dynamic twenty-first century and beyond.
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 investigates capabilities Taiwan should prioritize to repel such an invasion. Based on an analysis of three stages of a hypothetical PRC invasion (blockade and bombing, amphibious invasion, and island combat operations), Taiwan should maximize its ability to withstand and repel the amphibious invasion phase of any operation by prioritizing mines and minelayers, antiship missiles, and mobile long-range artillery systems.
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.
This article demonstrates that India has the advantage in Ladakh over the air and land despite current deficiencies and even after considering the missile threat. However, India must make up its mind what it wants as a nation: Defend its territory, or retake Aksai Chin? If the latter, then without a doubt it must boldly face the Indian public and explain it needs to spend money on raising necessary military assets for the defense of Ladakh and the recapture of Aksai Chin. In this case, India must not worry about the money, or else India shall need to worry about its honor. Not only that: someone should also wield a whip to raise two new corps for Ladakh at a galloping pace—a mountain corps to hold existing positions and territory, in which India is deficient; and another to strike deep into Aksai Chin, and probably also Tibet and Xinjiang. Consequently, a new military command, which normally consists of three corps, is necessary to defend Ladakh and recapture Aksai Chin.
The countries that were originally considered to be part of the String of Pearls quite easily fit into the BRI with their strategic naval outposts. When one takes a closer look at Chinese engagement in the Indian Ocean, it is evident that China’s involvement in the region is not limited to strategic locations or high-risk investments, but it also extends to securing long-term strategic ties with governments and people of these countries. Therefore, one could argue that, particularly under the BRI, Beijing has gone beyond what was initially perceived as a few strategic outposts in the Indian Ocean to secure China’s trade and energy supply routes to a grander vision of being a global power that can project power in countries on the other side of the globe. Therefore, one could argue that China’s interest in the Indo-Pacific goes beyond merely securing trade routes or even ensuring a strategic presence. If the West continues with the narrative of a debt trap and fails to take the growing expansionism in China seriously, the developing nations of the Global South will find “an all-weather friend” and “a preferred development partner” in China.
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.
The United States must accept a fundamental reality: the policy of forcing the Kim regime to relinquish its nuclear weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief is untenable. It is no closer to achieving results than it was in 2010, even while the DPRK produces long-range missiles and plans to develop tactical nuclear warheads. The failure of trade sanctions exhibits the need for a new strategy to deal with the DPRK and its nuclear arsenal. Therefore, the United States should use multilateral talks to negotiate incremental deals that produce tangible results and build trust. Put simply, an enforceable security guarantee, achieved through mutual peace declarations, will help normalize the DPRK’s international relations so that it can undergo economic reform and emerge as a legitimate global partner. Such measures are more likely to attain results that all partners can agree on and could, at a minimum, result in a moratorium on future nuclear production and development. Only then can talks of the DPRK’s complete denuclearization be possible.
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.
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.
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.
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.