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WRM in Interview with Australia’s Lowy Institute


Flexibility may be the most important characteristic of any Asian international structures that do get built. China doesn’t want a war over the South China Sea, especially not a war with the U.S., but the government also doesn’t want to risk its power domestically by being perceived as weak and unreliable. Vietnam, the Philippines and other countries involved in these territorial disputes face some of the same issues. So we’re looking at tentative small-scale flexible arrangements that over time might grow into something else.

Personally, I’ll be happy if we find a way through the difficulties of the next ten years, and then we can start thinking about what we need to do next.

Read parts one, two, three, and four of WRM’s interview with the Lowy Insitute on the future of the Asia-Pacific geopolitics.

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  • Thrasymachus

    In the long run, thwarting China’s territorial ambitions in the South China Sea could prove to be incredibly expensive for the U.S., which has no parallel ambitions there of its own.

    America’s interest in protecting the territorial integrity of threatened allies like South Korea and Taiwan is clear; our interest in enforcing the ambitious territorial *claims* of allies who are in no such danger is harder to see.

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