June 10, 2013

"Asia Power Web" of Security Ties Presents Opportunity for U.S.

In its latest report, the Asia team at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) explores the "Asia Power Web," a term the team developed to describe a growing trend of intra-Asian defense and security cooperation among six key countries - Australia, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam.  In The Emerging Asia Power Web: The Rise of Bilateral Intra-Asian Security Ties, the authors note that these developing ties have profound implications for regional security and U.S. strategy in Asia. 

Senior Director of the Asia-Security Program Patrick M. Cronin, President Richard Fontaine, Research Associate Zachary M. Hosford, former Fellow Oriana Skylar Mastro, Deputy Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program Ely Ratner and Researcher Alexander Sullivan, all of CNAS note that, in addition to closer ties with each other, Asian nations yearn for a greater American presence in the region. Therefore, they urge the United States to "double down on its commitment to rebalance attention and resources to Asia."

The Emerging Asia Power Web: The Rise of Bilateral Intra-Asian Security Ties

The authors argue that the United States can be a "leading beneficiary of this growing network of relationships" that promises to create "a stronger deterrent against coercion and aggression while simultaneously diminishing the intensity of U.S-China competition." To maximize the benefits of the trend toward intra-Asian security ties and to address potential sources of instability, the authors suggest several measures U.S. policymakers should take including working with traditional allies and partners to build bridges to nascent partners and ensuring consistent engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and ASEAN-centered meetings and institutions. However, the authors caution that this dynamic also has the potential to complicate U.S. security interests in the region.