USA act as an Asia-Pacific Power
The US National Strategy Report from September 20, 2001 still forms the basis for US foreign and security policy of the 21st Century.
The threat and risk analysis in the nowadays unipolar world differs fundamentally from the former bipolar one. The former antagonist Soviet Union along with the Warsaw Pact and the threat of “all out war” no longer exists.
Today, The US faces a multifaceted threat and risk from international terrorism – in combination with organized crime, proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and dual-use high-tech and a combination of all of these. These attacks could be targeted against US territory or US citizens and soldiers abroad. This so-called “asymmetric warfare” plays a greater role than before and US military forces must be able to cover the expanded spectrum of military capabilities.
With this report, US military capabilities are no longer “threat based,” but rather “capability based.” As the US does not want to sit on its hands and give terrorists the option of a “first strike” using WMD and thus producing a high number of casualties - remember 9/11 – military operations of prevention and preemption form a kind of deterrence and denial: “Destroying the threat before it reaches our borders” (see National Strategy Report). If possible, the US prefers to act multilaterally or if necessary unilaterally.
The “Global Posture Review” is a logical consequence of the new security environment. There is no longer a need for stationing a huge number of military forces permanently outside the US – for example in Germany or in the Republic of South Korea. The threat in and for Europe has decreased. The areas of concern are now the “Broader Middle East “ and Asia.
To act quickly in an emerging crisis or conflict, the US needs to deploy its forces more flexibly and rapidly over not-too-long distances. To start a war means for the US to win the war – based upon a military supremacy never experienced before in history as far as strategic assets such as strategic transport, computers, communications, command-and-control, intelligence, surveillance and rescue are concerned.
The military answer to new threats and risks has acquired a name: Network Centric Warfare. A combination of “hard” and “soft” power should prevent crises and conflicts and win the peace, too.
With allies and partners – mainly Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore – the US wants to build a net of strongholds closer to potential areas of crisis and conflict. As a side effect, the US shows the flag as an Asia-Pacific power in a region in which China and India are emerging powers – economically and militarily.
We present again an essay from the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, now dealing with “American alliances in East Asia.” This newsletter outlines the complexity and sensitivity the US faces through strengthening its strategic position in Asia.