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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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  • Anthony

    David Martin (National Security Correspondent) provides informative view regarding Asia/China and expansion of American power over Pacific Ocean (as well as potential vulnerability of naval aircraft carriers) in interview on Charlie Rose – interview aired January 21, 2016.

  • Andrew Allison

    “In 2015, Congress tasked the Department of Defense to commission an independent assessment of U.S. military strategy and force posture in the Asia-Pacific, as well as that of U.S. allies and partners, over the next decade.” You don’t suppose that CICS understood who was paying for the study and what conclusions, namely that the United States should sustain and expand U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region and accelerate development of innovative capabilities and concepts for U.S. forces, were expected? There’s been a lot of discussion about the USA carrying Europe’s defense water; do we really want to add Asia to the burden. Simply put, we can’t afford both guns and butter.

  • CaliforniaStark

    If the United States must incur increased military costs in Asia, would suggest a tariff on Chinese imports to pay for it.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Chinese economic growth is hitting the wall as I write, this means the window for America to take advantage of Chinese belligerence is closing. America should be using Chinese belligerence to negotiate a very favorable to America, economic and military alliance with all the nations being threatened by China’s territorial ambitions. Such an alliance would cover from India in the west to Japan in the east, and from South Korea in the north to Australia in the south and of course America. Such an alliance would completely dominate China in every way, from population, GDP, high technology, and strategic positioning being able to blockade all of China’s ports. Moving China back inside its borders would be easy with such a powerful alliance, and likely without the need of bloodshed.
    Unfortunately Obama is the worst President in American History, and his weakness is encouraging a poorly positioned China to over reach. We can only hope the next President has enough time to act, before China collapses in economic distress or into a full scale revolution.

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