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Rethinking Asia’s Cold War Alliances

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

At the conclusion of the Second World War, the United States established bilateral military alliances in the Asia-Pacific intended to contain Soviet and Chinese communist expansion in the region. US security strategy now focuses largely on combating terrorism and denying weapons of mass destruction to so-called rogue states. It is a strategy that cannot be implemented with geographic mutual defense treaties formed to address conventional military threats. Furthermore, the United States has demonstrated in Afghanistan and Iraq that it is prepared to pursue its global security interests unilaterally, even at the risk of its political relations with traditional alliance partners. What happened over Iraq between the United States and its European allies could equally happen between the United States and its Asian allies over Taiwan or North Korea with serious consequences for the interests of countries in that region. East Asian powers need to develop a collective security strategy for the region that does not rely on the United States’ participation. Prudence suggests that East Asian countries need to take the opportunity offered by the recently inaugurated East Asian Summit (EAS) to begin the process of developing an East Asian community as the first step toward the realization of an East Asian Union. This will occur only if led by a strong, proactive Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Read the full article in Harvard International Review

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