The Hudson Institute has released a new report, “Keeping the Peace in the Pacific: The Next Steps in American Policy,” by Hudson scholars John Lee and Charles Horner.
In the report, Lee and Horner write that U.S. administrations are consistently caught “flat-footed” by the “increasing assertiveness” of Beijing’s actions in the East China and South China Seas.
American officials have pursued policies, they note, that are “tactical and responsive … allowing China to control the pace and nature of escalation” in the region. Lee and Horner reject the claim that China’s increasing assertiveness in the region is “simply a ‘structural’ inevitability caused by the reemergence of a powerful Chinese nation-state outside the American-led alliance system in Asia.”
Lee and Horner contend that key to Beijing’s effort to exert more de facto control over disputed territories is to “simplify the region in strategic terms” by “reducing disagreements down to one-on-one negotiation or, when confronted with competition from regional powers, removing the influence or diluting the political will of the still-more-powerful United States.”
In response, Lee and Horner advise, American policy should “complicate the region” for Beijing’s leaders by:
— Linking territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas and promoting regional, not bilateral, negotiations;
— Insisting that a binding code of conduct prohibiting the use of force to settle territorial disputes—the stated preference of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)—be applied as a singular framework in the East and South China Seas and the Taiwan Straits;
— Assertively making the case to other Asian maritime powers that Japan’s strategic ambition is indispensable to regional security and economic growth;
— Encouraging reinvigoration of Japan’s strategic ambition; and,
— Publically and frequently reaffirming the vital contribution of a robust U.S.-Japan alliance to peace and prosperity.
The full report may be found at:http://www.hudson.org/content/researchattachments/attachment/1402/lee_horner_layout_ultimate.pdf.
Hudson Institute is an independent research organization founded in 1961 that promotes new ideas for the advancement of global security, prosperity and freedom. www.hudson.org.