In the new concluding chapter to his classic The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, John Mearsheimer argues: “There is already substantial evidence that countries like India, Japan, and Russia, as well as smaller powers like Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam, are worried about China’s ascendancy and are looking for ways to contain it. In the end, they will join an American-led balancing coalition to check China’s rise, much the way Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and eventually China, joined forces with the United States during the Cold War to contain the Soviet Union.”
This is at odds with most analyses which postulate that Asia is not ripe for a NATO style containment block against China. For instance, in summing up the conventional wisdom on the subject, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Stewart Patrick opined last summer that: “Despite its strategic ‘rebalancing’ toward Asia, the United States is unlikely to sponsor a collective defense organization for the Asia-Pacific, for at least three reasons: insufficient solidarity among diverse regional partners, fear of alienating China, and the perceived advantages of bilateral and ad-hoc security arrangements.”
As was mentioned here only a few days ago is already being considered.
A regional security alternative should replace a weakened U.S. Pacific presence
China’s new president, Xi Xinping, has discarded former leader Deng Xiaoping’s cautious foreign policy of “bide our time, hide our capabilities,” by mounting increasing military challenges to America’s Asian allies and to U.S. leadership.
China’s bullying tactics in the East China Sea and South China Sea will only increase with its expanding military might despite President Obama’s much-heralded pivot to Asia. The pivot is not enough. Washington must elevate regional military cooperation if China is to be deterred. Continue reading