The Asia-Pacific Century: Challenges and Opportunities

The Asia-Pacific Century: Challenges and Opportunities
The Asia-Pacific Century: Challenges and Opportunities
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In 2002 Pres. George W. Bush proclaimed that the twenty-first century would be the “Asia-Pacific Century.” While I am not sure he was the first person to use that phrase—and it has been often used by others over the past 10 years—for those of us who study the region and/or have more than a casual familiarity with the region, the proclamation rings true. In a November 2011 article in Foreign Policy magazine, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went so far as to say, “The future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the center of the action.” These are powerful words, underscoring the fact that Asia matters, and it matters a great deal.

For those who are interested in national security affairs, the question is not whether Asia matters but what our country should do about the fact that Asia matters. How should we posture ourselves to best advance our national interests in a region that will have so much to do with our future security and prosperity?

Certainly, there will be much study and many well-considered judgments concerning these important questions, and most of this work will contribute to advancing our collective ability to successfully confront the scores of challenges that lie ahead. In this regard, I was pleased to learn that the Air Force Research Institute was undertaking a year-long study of the Air Force strategy in the Asia-Pacific region.

While it is clear that all instruments of national power will play critical roles in our national strategy for the region, the military instrument will underpin all of our efforts in the region. The US Air Force will play an especially key role, with its ability to rapidly span the vast distances in the Pacific while engaging our allies, partners, and friends in the region through forward presence and exercises.


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Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Foreword vii
About the Authors ix
1 Why Asia Matters 1
Dr. John P. Geis II
Introduction 1
The “Asian Tigers,” Pandas, and Elephants 2
Getting International Trade “Strait” 6
A Place Where It Is Natural to Have Problems 8
A Military Race . . . but to Where? 14
2 Thinking about the Asia-Pacific 25
Dr. Adam Lowther
Introduction 25
The Delphi Method and Analysis 25
Focus Group Analysis 31
Conclusion 43
3 Top Five Asia-Pacific Economies: Integration, Conflict,
Vulnerability, and Crisis, 2010–2020 45
Dr. Brooks B. Robinson
Abstract 45
Introduction 45
Bottom Line Up Front 46
Economic Integration 47
Economic Integration and Military Conflict 50
Economic Integration in a Game-Theoretic Framework 51
Economic Vulnerability 53
Impact of an Asian Crisis on the Global Economy 56
Conclusion 58
4 Chinese Soft Economic Warfare 63
Dr. Chad Dacus
Introduction 63
Peace and Prosperity 64
Soft Economic Warfare 69
The US Response 75
5 Steaming up the Hudson: China, the United States,
and the Problem of Misperception 81
Prof. Simon Reich
Introduction 81
Why Do Americans Fear China’s Growth
into a Great Power? 82
Is This Sense of Alarm Justified? 85
What Are the Consequences of the Current Trend
in US-Chinese Relations? 90
6 The Contradictions of US China Policy:
Implications for the US Air Force 93
Justin Logan
Abstract 93
Introduction 93
US Policy toward China 95
The Problems with US Policy 97
Changes for US China Policy 101
Potential Objections to the Alternative Strategy 103
Conclusion 110
7 Shadow Dancing in the Indian and Pacific Oceans:
China, India, and America 115
Dr. Dhirendra K. Vajpeyi
Introduction 115
The Theatre Stage: The Indian Ocean 116
The South China Sea (Nanyang)
and China’s Southeast Asia Neighbours 118
The Pacific Ocean 125
The Players (the Actors) 126
Conclusion 146
8 US Role in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Regional View 153
Dr. Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan
Introduction 153
Regional Perceptions of the US Role
in the Asia-Pacific 154
As China Rises, Will Its Neighbours
Bandwagon or Balance? 166
Conclusion 168
9 The Security Environment in the Asia-Pacific:
An Australian Viewpoint 171
Dr. Sanu Kainikara
Introduction 171
Australia’s Strategic Interests 173
Factors Affecting Australia’s Strategic Outlook 176
The Role of the United States in the Asia-Pacific Region 177
The Status of South Pacific Nations 178
The Shift in Global Economic Activity
to the Asia-Pacific 179
An Australian Perspective on Its Security 184
Conclusion 187
10 Conflict and Diplomacy in the South China Sea 189
Dr. Sheldon W. Simon
Abstract 189
Introduction 189
Conflict and Diplomacy: Alternative Approaches
to the South China Sea 192
Multilateral Diplomacy 193
The United States, the Code of Conduct,
and South China Sea Diplomacy 195
The United States and the Philippines:
A Special South China Sea Relationship 199
Other Significant External Actors: Japan and India 201
Implications for the United States 204
11 Nuclear-Strategic Asia 211
Dr. Stephen J. Cimbala
Introduction 211
Policy Problems and Issues 211
States and Forces 217
Conclusion 224
12 Aspects of Korean Unification: Planning for US
Involvement on the Korean Peninsula 229
Dr. Kimberly Gill and Dr. Thomas P. Dolan
Introduction 229
Background of Korean Separation 229
Scenarios for Korean Unification 230
Cost Estimates of Korean Unification 233
Why Germany Is the Wrong Model
for Korean Unification 246
Conclusion 248
13 Building Positive Relationships in the Asia-Pacific 253
Dr. Adam Lowther
Introduction 253
Why the Asia-Pacific Matters 253
China 256
Airpower in the Asia-Pacific 257
Conclusion 263
Abbreviations 267


Members of the intelligence community, members of the government and policymakers, Members of Congress, foreign policy analysts, military leaders, and members of the general public interested in U.S. relations with the Asia-Pacific may want a copy of this publication.

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Defense Dept., Air Force, Air University. Air Force Research Institute
  • Lowther, Adam
Key Phrases:
  • Asia Pacific Century: Challenges and Opportunities
  • Challenges and Opportunities
  • Security, International, Asia
  • Security, International, Pacific Area
  • United States, Foreign relations, Asia
  • United States, Foreign relations, Pacific Area
  • Asia, Foreign relations, United States
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