American Power
Report: U.S. Losing Influence in Asia

A new report commissioned by Congress and conducted by the nonpartisan Centre for Strategic and International Studies reaches some troubling conclusions about the balance of military power in Asia. TIME summarizes:

“The balance of military power in the region is shifting against the United States,” wrote researchers from the Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit, calling for “robust funding” to sustain and reassert a presence [. . .]

China and North Korea are identified as strategic challenges by the report’s authors, who write that both countries defy the “credibility of U.S. security commitments.” They specifically mention Beijing’s island building in the South China Sea and Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

The report also lists four avenues for addressing regional concerns over the next decade: clarifying a strategy, building allies’ capabilities, increasing military presence and investing in innovative defense capabilities.

The 275-page report contains lots of instructive bits, and it’s definitely worth flipping through. We’re particularly struck by the warning that, unless the United States steps up its presence, the South China Sea could turn into a “Chinese lake” by 2030.

It seems increasingly clear that in Asia the next occupant of the White House will likely need to make changes. The shift in Asia will not have to be as major as the one for example, in the Middle East, but nonetheless a shift will be needed. We’ll be watching for signs over the next year for what that might look like.

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