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Mark J. Valencia:
By Mark J. Valencia - 26 Jan 2018
US Defense Secretary James Mattis visited Indonesia and Vietnam in January 2018. The goal of the US strategy in Asia is to win the “great power competition” against China. However, the Trump administration seems oblivious to the US loss of soft power in the region.
By Mark J. Valencia - 24 Jan 2018
By Mark J. Valencia - 27 Dec 2017
In its focus on China’s actions in the South China Sea, AMTI “largely neglects the lack of self-restraint and military activities of other claimants like the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam,” as well as by the US. Its recent report continues to reflect this bias.
US pressure, both public and private, is forcing each prospective member as well as other players to face some very tough decisions regarding their future relations with China. To the chagrin of the US, their decisions are neither easy nor clear cut.
The Trump administration has re-raised the decade-old geopolitical concept of the “Indo-Pacific” region and is proposing and pushing a so-called “Quad,” a potential security arrangement among the four large democracies of India, Australia, Japan, and the US.
PacNet, published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, recently carried a debate between Stanford scholar Donald Emmerson and Harvard-affiliated scholar Andrew Taffer focusing on the US practice of “fly, sail, and operate anywhere international law allows.”
In the wake of China’s spectacular advances on many fronts, economic, technological, military, diplomatic and others, haters are grasping at straws of hope for its failure. The rising chorus of whistling by the graveyard comes on the heels of Trump’s first visit to Asia.
In the joint statement of the US President and the Vietnamese President, the longest paragraph was the one that addressed the South China Sea issues. The joint statement with the Philippine President essentially repeated phrases from the US-Vietnam’s joint statement.
As ASEAN and its dialogue partners gather in the Philippines for their annual political and security gab-fest, the East Asian Summit, there is a grudging but growing recognition that US policy regarding the South China Sea imbroglio has failed.