Research studies

Obama’s Strategy towards China – Containment Strategy

 

Prepared by the researcher :  Ali Fattah–  PhD student at Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies, College of International Affairs, Tamkang University, Taiwan. – Assistant Teacher, Faculty of humanities, University of Zakho, Kurdistan Region-Iraq

Democratic Arab Center

Journal of Afro-Asian Studies : Twelfth Issue – February 2022

A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin.

Nationales ISSN-Zentrum für Deutschland
ISSN  2628-6475
Journal of Afro-Asian Studies

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Abstract

China’s rise in the Asia-Pacific region is considered a significant threat to U.S. national security and the U.S. allies in this region. China’s military capabilities have become a real threat to U.S. national interests worldwide. Within a decade, China may replace the United States as a military power in the Asia-Pacific region which has strategic importance to the United States.

The U.S. strategic analysis assumed that China took advantage of the 2008 financial crisis. Another assumption was that the United States had focused heavily on the Middle East in its war against terror, giving China more flexibility to interfere in the Asia-Pacific region and disrupt the balance of power.

The Obama administration’s strategy has been classified under different concepts such as pivot strategy, rebalance strategy, new engagement strategy, and Containment strategy.

This paper explores Obama’s strategy as a containment strategy towards China. To achieve this strategy, Obama’s administration paid equal attention to soft and hard power as tools to contain China’s raising. Thus, this administration tried to accomplish this strategy by relying on political-diplomacy, economic, security-military, and alliances. The main key factor that helped Washington in its efforts to contain China was the regional willingness to embrace America as a counterbalancing power to China’s geopolitical ambitions.

“Our efforts to advance security and prosperity and human dignity across the Asia-Pacific… the United States has been and will be a Pacific nation…”

Barack Obama

“The future of politics will be decided in Asia… and the United States will be right at the center of the action.”

Hillary Clinton

“Asia will return to its historic status, with more than half of the world’s population and half of the world’s economic output. America must be present there. Markets and economic power rest on political frameworks, and American military power provides that framework.”

Joseph Nye

 “The Obama administration’s strategy is an effort to initiate a Cold War-style containment strategy of China, one based on U.S. political and military leadership of an opposing coalition.”

Barry R. Posen

“Attempting to suppress China’s growth by isolating Beijing from its neighbors and the world”

Ashely J. Tellis

  • Introduction

The Asia-Pacific region is a region of vital importance to the United States of America. This importance has increased after China has grown politically, economically, and militarily in Asia-Pacific; this growth in the Chinese capabilities directly influences the American’s interests in this region.

China’s rise in the Asia-Pacific region is considered a significant threat to U.S. national security and the U.S. allies in this region. China’s military capabilities have become a serious threat to U.S. national interests in the Asia-Pacific region. Within a decade, China may replace the United States as a military power in this region which has strategic importance to the United States.

The U.S. strategic analysis assumed that China took advantage of the 2008 financial crisis. Another assumption was that the United States had focused heavily on the Middle East in its war against terror, giving China more flexibility to interfere in the Asia-Pacific region and disrupt the balance of power. China attempts to benefit from this strategic opportunity to impose its domination on countries in the Asia-Pacific region and escalate its claims in the South China Sea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Obama administration’s strategy has been classified under some terms such as pivot strategy; rebalance strategy, new engagement strategy, and Containment strategy.

This paper explores Obama’s strategy as a containment strategy towards China. Therefore, the primary U.S. strategy in Asia-Pacific is to encircling China through the presence of U.S. forces in China’s strategic depth areas and encircling China through a set of security alliances, political treaties, and economic initiatives, in what is known as the “China Containment” strategy.

There is no doubt that Sino-U.S. relations are complex relations ranging from co-operating, competition, and conflict when it is different due to differences of interests of each other. China believes the need to move towards a multipolar world, the world’s absence of American hegemony, but the balance between different forces exists.

To achieve this strategy, Obama’s administration paid equal attention to soft and hard power as tools to contain China’s raising. Thus, this administration tried to accomplish this strategy by relying on pillars such as political-diplomacy, economic, security-military, and alliances. The main key factor that helped Washington in its efforts to contain China is the regional willingness to embrace America as a counterbalancing power to China’s geopolitical ambitions.

Therefore, this paper tries to concentrate on main pillars of this strategy, as follows.

1: Security and Military pillar.

2: Political and Diplomacy pillar.

3: Economic pillar.

4: Alliances

  • Security and Military

The U.S. military deployments and activities in the Asia-Pacific region are vital manifestations of its “containment” strategy. Since 2009, the U.S. global military strategy shifted its focus and priority from the Middle East to the Asia Pacific. In 2012 and 2013, Obama’s administration announced it would increase its presence in the region to reach 60% of American Navy ships, and 60% of its air force would be deployed in the Asia-Pacific region by 2020.

The U.S. has gradually built up its troop deployments, forward presence, and military activities and exercises in the region. It has concentrated on increasing military cooperation with its regional allies and partners such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and Singapore (Team, 2016).

Joseph Nye has pointed out that: “the U.S. can achieve political and economic goals as components of containment strategy in Asia-Pacific depending on its military power.”.

Posen pointed out that: “Obama’s administration tries to rely on containment strategy which had been used in the cold war to contain the Soviet Union in order to contain China. ” (Posen, 2014).

In the cold war tenure, the United States utilized the strategy known as” Firm and vigilant containment” to face the Soviet Union, which was the peer competitor for the U.S. at that time – George F. Kennan established this strategy-. Obama’s administration attempted to rely on this strategy to contain the Chinese rising in the Asia-Pacific region (Sempa, 2019).

During Obama’s terms, the United States has sought to strengthen its military presence in East Asia by increasing contact and cooperation with allies and other states, increasing military resources, and sending personnel to the region.

The United States believed that it must increase its military capabilities in East Asia to deter China from using force to realize its strategic ambitions and reassure the U.S. security partners that they can rely on the United States to provide for their security against a rising China. This approach showed how to maintain the balance of power in East Asia (Ross, 2013).

During the Obama Administration, the U.S expanded its defense cooperation with ASEAN countries. In 2011, the U.S. became the first country to establish a dedicated Military Advisor at the U.S. Mission to ASEAN in Indonesia. At the same period, the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had attended every ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+), an essential forum for advancing security cooperation. Robert Gates hosted his ASEAN counterparts in Hawaii in 2014 to discuss critical strategic challenges.

In 2015, the U.S. announced a new Technical Advisor to ASEAN to support increased information-sharing on transregional threats. ASEAN members are essential partners in global security efforts, including the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL/ISIS (Malaysia, Singapore) and counter-piracy off the Horn of Africa (Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand) (House, 2016).

The United States relied on a network of solid alliances (bilateral and multilateral) with the region’s states such as Japan, South Korea, and Australia.

Robert Gates, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, “We are a Pacific nation…. we will remain

engaged, and we will continue to build relationships with friends, partners, and allies in Asia.” (Alexander, 2011).

The U.S. national security advisor, Tom Donilon, believed “the united states’ alliances in Asia-Pacific region are crucial for the U.S. strategy in this region” (Donilon, 2013).

 Figure1 shows some facts about the U.S. forward-deployed military presence in the Asia-pacific

·        325,000 Military and civilian personnel in the Pacific theater approximately

 

·        The Pacific Fleet alone includes 6 aircraft carrier battle groups (CVBG)

 

·        180 ships and submarines

 

·        1500 Aircraft, and 100,000 personnel

 

·        The US military stations 16,000 personnel at sea

 

·        54,000 troops in Japan

 

·        28,000 troops in South Korea

 

·        500 (rotationally) in the Philippines

 

·        4,500 troops in Guam (to grow to 9,000)

 

·        250 troops marines in Australia (to grow to 2,500)

 

 

Figure1 the U.S. forward-deployed military presence in Asia-Pacific region/ source: (Team, 2016), (Policy, 2013).

·        Political and Diplomacy

The political and diplomatic pillars of the U.S. strategy toward Asia-Pacific were supported by U.S. increased diplomatic activities and high-level state visits. The U.S. has strengthened its political and diplomatic presence through visits to senior U.S. officials -President and Secretary of State- focused on Japan, South Korea, Australia, Vietnam, and other neighbors for China. Obama’s administration relied on “forward-deployed” diplomacy, which depends upon the dispatch of all diplomatic tools to every country and corner of the Asia-Pacific region (Srpová, 2018).

When Secretary of State Hilary Clinton described “forward-deployed” diplomacy as “…dispatch[es] the full range of our diplomatic assets – including our highest-ranking officials, our development experts, our interagency teams, and our permanent assets – to every country and corner of the Asia-Pacific region.” (Clinton, 2011).

Since the inception of “forward-deployed” diplomacy -which Hillary Clinton defined-, the U.S. has expended much effort in its implementation (Cropsey, 2014).

Implementations for this diplomacy, President Obama alone made 14 trips to Asia- Pacific and visited 14 countries -this means that the relationships with these countries are highly valued-, which was more than any of his predecessors during his two terms in office from 2008 to 2016.

Obama was also called the “Pacific president” by the media. Moreover, in numerous official documents and speeches. For example, his speech at the Australian parliament in 2009 reaffirmed the region’s importance for U.S. security and economy. The United States also actively participated in Asia-Pacific regional organizations (Srpová, 2018).

Figure2 presents an overview of state visits by President Obama and the secretary of state Hilary Clinton and John Kerry to the Asia-Pacific over the period 2009-2016. These indicators indicate the intensity of diplomatic engagement with allies in this region as a part of the containment strategy

 

Year

 

The U.S. President Barack Obama

 

The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton & John Kerry

 

2009

 

Japan, Singapore, China, Republic of Korea,

 

Japan, Singapore, China, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, India

 

2010

 

Japan, Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia

 

Japan, Republic of Korea, China, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam

 

2011

 

India

 

Japan, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Burma, Indonesia

 

2012

Republic of Korea, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia Japan, China, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Laos
 

2013

  Japan, Republic of Korea, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Brunei
 

2014

 

Japan, Republic of Korea, Burma, Malaysia, Philippines

 

Republic of Korea, China, India, Indonesia, Burma

 

2015

 

India, Malaysia, Philippines

 

Republic of Korea, china, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Sri Lanka

 

2016

 

Japan, China, Vietnam

 

Japan, China, India, Vietnam, Philippines, Burma, Laos

Figure2 shows the U.S. President and Secretaries of State trips/ Source: (State, 2021)

The aim of the intense moves of the U.S. political and diplomacy towards these countries was to consolidate the alliances and develop relations in this region, decrease China’s ambitions, and prevent the goals that China seeks to achieve, or at least raise the cost of achieving these goals.

The main key factor helped Washington in its efforts to contain China was the regional willingness to embrace America as a counterbalancing power to China’s geopolitical ambitions. There was already a growing sense of danger among leaders and public opinion in the South China Sea region, particularly in the Republic of Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines, from China’s rise as a dominant power, which wants to change the balance of power in the region. This situation provides a strategic opportunity for Washington as regional support for its containment strategy towards China.

·        Economic

Since the 1970s, Asia-Pacific nations have experienced long-term economic growth rates that were, on average, double and triple those of the United States.

Asia’s population was about 63% of the total world population and shared world GDP about 35% (Meters, 2019). The region consumes 60% of American exports. In fact, from 2008 to 2016, the U.S. exports to the Asia-Pacific region have grown almost double, and it is twice the rate of export growth to Europe (Lowther, 2013).

The United States under Obama has signaled a greater interest in expanding its economic engagement with Southeast Asia. The U.S.’s economic relations with ASEAN countries are becoming more assertive. Trade-in goods increased by 5% in 2015. The US-ASEAN two-way trade was over $200 billion in 2015, including over $80 billion in U.S. exports. Under the Obama administration, trade in goods with ASEAN has risen to 55%. Trade-in goods and services with ASEAN countries has created over 500,000 jobs in the United States.

Furthermore, U.S. companies continue to be the most important foreign direct investment (FDI) source in ASEAN. The U.S. foreign direct investment in ASEAN, more than $870 billion, has almost doubled between 2008 and 2016. Also, the foreign direct investment from ASEAN to the United States stood at $24.2 billion in 2014 (Nguyen, 2016). The Figures 3&4 show the American exports, Imports, and investment in the Asia pacific region.

Figure3 shows the American exports and imports/ Source: (USTR, 2019)

Figure4 shows the American direct investment/ Source: (Statista, 2021)

These statistics suggest the region’s importance to both the U.S. and global economies and the need to formulate a coherent economic strategy that can assist the U.S. for the following years (Cropsey, 2014).

The economic analysis suggests that the dynamism of the Asia-Pacific will continue to outpace growth in the West. The 49 states of the region often have competing interests. Thus, the United States has an opportunity to play a stabilizing role, with American airpower playing a leading role in ensuring U.S. credibility.

When a state of the region’s great powers -Specifically China- acts overly assertive or appears to be dominant, states within the Asia-Pacific may look to balance against that power. Nevertheless, to do this, the United States must demonstrate that it is willing to serve as an impartial arbiter when intraregional disagreements arise and that it has the staying power required to balance a rising effectively and increasingly confident China. Therefore, states in this region have welcomed the U.S. to act as a balanced power against China’s rise (Lowther, 2013).

Thus, the United States has sought to create substantial economic influence within the Asian continent by building economic relations with countries to reduce China’s economic role, reduce its growth, and halt China’s growing role in the Asia-Pacific region.

Obama’s administration expanded its trade relations with four ASEAN countries (Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam), those countries are part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Obama’s administration had a Trade and Investment Framework Agreements and other formal trade dialogues with 9 of the 10 ASEAN members and separately with ASEAN as an institution. These agreements and dialogues provided a mechanism to address trade and investment issues and deepen American ties in the region. The U.S. collaborated with ASEAN countries to create the ASEAN single window, facilitating customs processing and reinforcing an efficient regional trade environment (House, 2016).

Hillary Clinton pointed out this goal when she said: “the United States has moved to fully engage the region’s multilateral institutions, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, mindful that our work with regional institutions supplements and does not supplant our bilateral ties. There is a demand from the region that America plays an active role in the agenda-setting of these institutions, and it is in our interests as well that they are effective and responsive.” (Clinton, 2011).

The most important economic initiative which could be a cornerstone of the U.S. economic dimension was Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP). This initiative was the centerpiece of President Obama’s strategy towards Asia-Pacific. The TPP was set to become the world’s largest free trade deal, covering 40 % of the global economy.

The implementation of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement in March 2012, which was signed in June 2007, was the most significant accomplishment regarding the economic dimension (Cropsey, 2014).

All these economic initiatives had an aim to promote containment strategy just as military and diplomatic efforts are designed to attain this strategy.

In short, the trans-pacific agreement (TTP), Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) and other initiatives (Posen, 2014) ) integration need to fulfill the containment strategy’s goal of promoting greater cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific to contain China’s economic growth.

  • Alliances

The rationale for America’s post-World War II system of bilateral Pacific Alliances, known as the San Francisco System, has changed significantly for its various partners over time. The system was brought into being in the early 1950s when the United States positioned itself to contain communism in the region. This guiding principle initially shaped America’s defense relationships with Japan, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines.

The U.S. needed bilateral and multilateral alliances because America’s alliances and security relationships in the Asia-Pacific need to continue to adjust to the shifting geopolitical realities of Asia, which needed more than bilateral alliances after the Chinese rising in the region. Some observations indicate that the United States is increasingly insecure because of the post 9/11 environment and a China threat in the Asia-Pacific (Vaughn, 2007).

The study will focus on some examples of American alliances in the Asia-Pacific region in the following pages.

1.      The U.S.-Japan Alliance “the Cornerstone”.

The alliance with Japan remains a cornerstone of peace, security, stability, and prosperity in the region (Cropsey, 2014). The U.S.-Japan alliance formed After Japan’s defeat in World War II, and it provides a platform for U.S. military readiness in Asia. Under the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, which signed on January 19, 1960 (Chanlett-Avery, Campbell, & Williams, 2019), which found its root in the US-Japan security treaty, which singed on September 8, 1950, and kept adjusting to this day- (Green, 2008). Japan grants the U.S. Armed Forces the use of land and facilities in Japan in exchange for U.S. military support for the defense of Japan, among other things. Approximately 54,000 U.S. troops stationed in Japan. The United States exclusively uses 85 facilities throughout the archipelago, constituting the most extensive U.S. forward logistics base in Asia-Pacific (Chanlett-Avery et al., 2019).

Between 2009 and 2012, the U.S. and Japan have continued to engage with China through regional institutions and request greater transparency of Chinese military matters. The security alliance is characterized by around 54,000 U.S. troops in Japan and a carrier strike group, the 5th Air Force, the III Marine Expeditionary Force, and a shared missile-defense system.

By signing the Defense Policy Review Initiative (DPRI), a new alliance commitment was signed under the 2006 U.S.-Japan Realignment Roadmap. The signing of the Guam International Agreement in February 2009 further enforced this realignment. This agreement was part of a lengthy process of the employment of American forces on U.S. territory in Guam to ‘increase deterrence and power projection for possible responses to crises and disasters, counter-terrorism, and contingencies in support of South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, or elsewhere in Asia (Rijk, 2011).

Japanese’ leaders realized that the balance of power in the region has collapsed in recent years due to China’s dramatically increasing military budget -China continues a double-digit increase in china’s military budget-. Especially considering the dispute over diaoya and Senkaku Islands in the East and the South China Sea-, Japan felt insecure about the rising of China despite the nation’s pacifist principles (Hiyashi, 2017).

The United States and Japan share common strategic interests in the face of a rising China. The US-Japan alliance is a crucial instrument for tackling uncertainties and risks which might result from China’s assertive actions in the Asia Pacific region, such as in the East and the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait.

Shinichi Kitaoka, a security expert and former Japanese ambassador to the United Nations, argues that “in relations with China, it will be essential to adopt a ‘hedge and engage’ approach. Engagement is implemented to ensure that China does not become a threat while remaining vigilant. Hedging is applied to prepare for any threats”. While Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter argued that “Japan’s willingness to participate in Asian security, including training and exercises with other nations, beyond a purely passive, home-island defense role makes it an increasingly important player in the region.” Such views, which consider China’s aggressiveness, seem to be widely shared among intellectuals and policymakers in Japan and the United States (Kato, 2019). This historical alliance has allowed the U.S. strategy to move forward to accomplish its aim, as both parties want to contain China’s growth and threat in the Asia-Pacific region.

Figure5 about Americans, Japanese trust each other, wary of China, differ on Japan’s military role.

Source: (Pew, 2015)

2.      The U.S.- Republic of Korea Alliance

Besides Japan’s role in stabilizing and prosperity in Asia-Pacific, South Korea’s role in achieving this stability and prosperity cannot be overlooked. Therefore, American leaders were aware that the Korean Alliance was significant in maintaining stability in the region. It provides the U.S. with an ally in strategic cooperation on neutralizing security threats from North Korea and China. The U.S. military troops cooperate closely with their Korean counterparts in a joint posture of the Peninsula -the Korean Peninsula-, there are approximately 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in the Republic of Korea. (Bajoria & Lee, 2011).

For decades, the U.S.-ROK alliance has primarily focused on the threat posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), but after China’s geopolitical importance has expanded, and the military budget for China has increased, that leads to the collapse of the balance of power in the region. Therefore, leaders in Seoul and Washington started to concern about the importance of China, and they began to concern about establishing a regularized mechanism to enhance dialogue, coordination, and cooperation on national policies and strategies related to China (Snyder, 2019).

In 2007 both countries agreed that wartime command authority over the combined ground, naval, and air forces would be given to the South Korean government by 2012. Due to the 2010 military provocations from North Korea, the decision was made to delay this transfer of authority to 2015 (Bajoria & Lee, 2011).

Hillary Clinton, the U.S. secretary of state said that: “our alliance with South Korea has become stronger and more operationally integrated and we continue to develop our combined capabilities to deter and respond to North Korean provocations. We have

Agreed on a plan to ensure successful transition of operational control during wartime…” (Clinton, 2011).

Concerning Public opinion in the U.S. and South Korea toward China provides a critical window. Parallel public opinion polls by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Asian Institute for Policy Studies show that public opinion strongly supports the U.S.-South Korea security alliance as a hedge against China’s rise. China’s more muscular approach toward regional security and increasing military expenditure has provoked a backlash among the South Korean public, which held a relatively rosy view of China’s future influence and impacted the region. In the Asian survey, over 78% of South Koreans said that: “their government should prioritize strengthening ties with the United States over China.”. South Koreans continue to favor the United States overall over their immediate neighbors (Snyder, 2019). The U.S.- Republic of Korea relations have flourished and reached a high level due to the strong personal relationship between Korean president Lee Myung-bak and U.S. President Barack Obama. (Bajoria & Lee, 2011).

Japan and South Korea have a significant relationship with the United States in diplomatic, economic, security, and military. Public opinion has boosted this relation, and they believe that their governments should prioritize strengthening ties with the United States over China, because of polls in both countries which reached 80%, proved that public support the trilateral coordination among Japan, South Korea, and the United States to neutralize security threats from North Korea and China.

3.      The U.S.-Australia alliance

The government’s defense and foreign policies in Australia asserted on “support a balance in the Indo-Pacific favorable to our interests and promote an open, inclusive and rules-based region.” (Government, 2017)

For more than six decades, The U.S.-Australia alliance has been well suited to counter direct and overt coercion and interference. This alliance especially applies to defense cooperation concerning the force posture for both countries, the interoperability of capabilities, the greater sharing of intelligence, and the Australian hosting of US assets. It also applies to coordinated and joint strategic and military activities in the region. Both the United States and Australia are likely to increase cooperation in this context (Edel & Lee, 2019).

The U.S.-Australian alliance represented the military and security aspects through; the (ANZUS) security treaty alliance and the bilateral Australia-United States Ministerial (AUSMIN) consultations. The U.S. and Australia operate joint defense facilities in Australia.

The main topics of discussion during the AUSMIN ministerial meeting in 2009 were Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. Moreover, their respective relationship with China was one of the most important topics discussed during the meeting. The main topic of the AUSMIN meeting in 2010, 2011, and 2012 was strengthening the institutional architecture in the Asia-Pacific region. In terms of military cooperation, the U.S. and Australia have been working on the Force Posture Review since 2010. This plan revolves around the continued joint operation of Australian facilities (Rijk, 2011).

In 2011, Robert Gates said that: “our military presence will be strong and important in the Asia-Pacific, and we will support this presence by advance arms and technology, in order to protect our alliances and interests and secure maritime trade routes… the American troops will deployed-forward to promote ours existing in northeast Asia and southeast Asian in the Pacific Ocean, our military will be strengthened by the facilities which Australia gives to us in the Indian Ocean. ” (Jason Reed, 2011).

Regarding other alliances in the Asia-Pacific region, Hillary Clinton asserted in her speech in 2011 that: ” in Southeast Asia, we are renewing and strengthening our alliances with the Philippines and Thailand, increasing, for example, the number of ship visits to the Philippines and working to ensure the successful training of Filipino counterterrorism forces through our Joint Special Operation Task Force in Mindanao. In Thailand, our oldest treaty partner in Asia, we are working to establish a hub of regional humanitarian and disaster relief efforts in the region.” (Clinton, 2011).

Figure6 shows the negative public opinion toward China was surveyed at its highest ever in some main countries in Asia-Pacific

Figure6 shows the negative public opinion toward China / Source: (Pew, 2020)

·        Conclusion

The Asia-Pacific region is a region of vital importance to the United States of America. This importance has increased after China has grown politically, economically, and militarily in the Asia-Pacific. This growth in the Chinese capabilities has a direct influence on the American’s interests in this region.

The Obama administration’s strategy was to initiate a Cold War-style containment strategy of China, based on an opposing coalition’s U.S. political and military leadership. This administration tried to isolate Beijing from its neighbors and the world by strengthening its military presence and long-standing bilateral alliances with Japan, Korea, and Australia. This strategy attempts to draw these countries -Asia-Pacific countries- into a containment circle and jointly oppose China.

The American “containment strategy” towards the Asia-Pacific region aimed to consolidate the alliances and develop relations in various aspects of military and security, policy and diplomacy, and economics. The U.S. believed that could decrease China’s ambitions and prevent China’s goals or raise the cost of achieving these goals.

The main key factor that helped Washington in its efforts to contain China is the regional willingness to embrace America as a counterbalancing power to China’s geopolitical ambitions. There was already a growing sense of danger among leaders and public opinion in the region, particularly in the Republic of Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines, from China’s rise as a dominant power, which wants to change the balance of power in the region. This situation provided a strategic opportunity for Washington as regional support for its containment strategy towards China.

To achieve a containment strategy, the United States resorted to a forward-deployed policy and attempted to strengthen greater cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region to contain China’s growth and threat.

These diplomatic, economic, and military efforts attempted to implement the containment strategy to contain China or reduce its influence and threat on American interests in the Asia-Pacific region

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