May 25, 2022

Sharper: The Indo-Pacific Pivot

Analysis from CNAS experts on the most critical challenges for U.S. foreign policy.

By Anna Pederson

Previous presidential administrations have laid much groundwork diplomatically and militarily to ensure a strategic pivot to the Indo-Pacific. The past week has seen the ASEAN leaders summit in Washington, D.C., President Joe Biden’s first trip to Asia in office, and a highly anticipated speech from Secretary of State Antony Blinken to reinforce the United States' strategic approach. CNAS experts are sharpening the conversation around reinforcing allies and partnerships to meet the administration's objectives. Continue reading this edition of Sharper to explore their ideas and recommendations.

Features

Reboot: Framework for a New American Industrial Policy

A new report lays out what an American industrial policy is and what it is not, focuses on why the nation needs an industrial policy strategy, and offers a schema for how the United States should craft such a strategy. The report also examines the history of U.S. industrial policy. "The United States now faces China—an economic, technological, and military power that is fully integrated into the globalized system. America’s economic and security toolkit—predominantly shaped by the Cold War—is insufficient for the geopolitical competition the country faces," write authors Martijn Rasser, Megan Lamberth, Hannah Kelley, and Ryan Johnson.

Takeaways from President Biden's First Asia Trip

As President Joe Biden concludes his first trip to Asia since taking office, Center for a New American Security experts weighed in on the geopolitical, economic, and strategic significance of this debut tour.

Technology & National Security

Reboot: Framework for a New American Industrial Policy

The relationship between American industry and the U.S. government must change. The nature of the U.S.-China strategic competition, one centered on technology, requires a rese...

Indo-Pacific Security

CNAS Responds: Takeaways from President Biden's first Asia trip

As President Joe Biden concludes his first trip to Asia since taking office, the Center for a New American Security experts weighed in on the geopolitical, economic, and strat...

Revitalizing the U.S.-Philippines Alliance

Join the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) virtually on Thursday, June 2, at 9:00AM ET for the launch of a new landmark report, “Revitalizing the U.S.-Philippines Alliance to Address Strategic Competition in the Indo-Pacific,” by the CNAS U.S.-Philippines Alliance Task Force. The report offers concise recommendations for national security policymakers to consider in their efforts to revitalize the U.S.-Philippines alliance within the context of heightened strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific. Speakers include: Dr. Patrick M. Cronin, Asia-Pacific Security Chair at the Hudson Institute; Dr. Satu Limaye, Vice President, East West Center & Director, East West Center in Washington D.C.; Ambassador Harry B. Harris Jr., former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea and Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command; Brian Harding, Senior Expert on Southeast Asia at the U.S. Institute of Peace; Lisa Curtis, Director of the Indo-Pacific Security Program at CNAS, and Henry B. Howard, Republic of the Philippines Honorary Consul for the State of Florida and U.S.-Philippines Society Director.

Wargaming a Future Conflict over Taiwan on Meet the Press

In a special collaboration with NBC’s Meet the Press, The Gaming Lab at CNAS executed a strategic-operational game to provide critical insight into how a potential war with China over Taiwan could unfold, and how the United States and its allies and partners could defeat an attack on Taiwan by China. This special edition of Meet the Press Reports shows how wargames can help policymakers better understand the dilemmas and impacts such a conflict could have on the Indo-Pacific, and how to avoid conflict. Watch the full episode from NBC to see a CNAS wargame in action and put yourself in the shoes of a high-ranking defense official executing a military strategy.

Indo-Pacific Security

Virtual Report Launch | Revitalizing the U.S.-Philippines Alliance

Jun 2, 2022

Defense

CNAS Gaming Lab on Meet the Press

In a special collaboration with NBC’s Meet the Press, The Gaming Lab at CNAS executed a strategic-operational game to provide critical insight into how a potential war with Ch...

Commentaries

Ukraine War Should Slow But Not Stop the U.S. Pivot to Asia

"The U.S. should continue a long-term shift to Asia, but in a way that better balances resources and engagements across the three strategic theater," argue Richard Fontaine and Robert D. Blackwill in The Wall Street Journal. "Paradoxically, Putin’s aggression demonstrates how this should be done. First, policy makers should absorb the enduring strategic logic behind a pivot to Asia. China combines the greatest capability and will to upend the international order. The Indo-Pacific represents the primary, but not the only, regional theater in which U.S.-China competition takes place. But a sustainable pivot to Asia is possible only in the absence of serious national security crises in Europe and the Middle East. No U.S. president will ignore a Russian-induced emergency in Europe, a major terrorist threat, or a nuclear and/or hegemonic Iran. America remains a global and not a regional power.

What South Korea’s Election Means for Biden and Democracy

"It is no secret that Korea has not been a top priority in U.S. foreign policy in the same way as other Asia-Pacific powers. Yet, Washington should still watch this election closely," writes Dr. Duyeon Kim in The National Interest. "The result will determine the state of democracy in South Korea for the next five years in a pivotal corner of the global community. It will also determine whether South Korea will remain as the weakest link in President Joe Biden’s Indo-Pacific strategy, as I warned last year; whether Washington and Seoul will finally be in lockstep to deal with North Korea; and whether South Korea will unambiguously step up to the plate to help protect the rules-based international order, democracy, and human rights around the world."

It’s Not Just 5G: China’s Telecom Strategy Needs to Be Countered in Space

"China is approaching these with the same stance they have taken towards 5G — that domination is needed across the board. And unlike America, where the various communications technology sectors tend to run parallel but separate, China is seeking to intertwine everything, an important strategy that could give them a leg up on the US unless Washington can switch its thinking and take countering actions," writes Lt. Col. Gabe Arrington in Breaking Defense. "The good news: it’s not too late to take action, and in one crucial domain, the US still has dominance. As previously disassociated technologies begin to overlap, 5G applications through the space domain will be the connective tissue. Washington must prepare for this new frontier of technological competition by taking several steps to change the current thinking."

Indo-Pacific Security

Ukraine War Should Slow But Not Stop the U.S. Pivot to Asia

The U.S. should continue a long-term shift to Asia, but in a way that better balances resources and engagements across the three strategic theaters....

Indo-Pacific Security

What South Korea’s Election Means for Biden and Democracy

South Korea’s democratization is a triumphant success story, yet every administration was criticized for its share of undemocratic practices....

Defense

It’s Not Just 5G: China’s Telecom Strategy Needs to Be Countered in Space

The Biden administration needs to look up to space to provide a counter for China’s telecommunications plan....

In the News

Featuring commentary and analysis by Richard Fontaine, Emily Kilcrease, Lisa Curtis, Jacob Stokes, Joshua Fitt, and Dr. Duyeon Kim.

Indo-Pacific Security

Was Biden's Taiwan statement scripted? 5 takeaways from his Asia trip

U.S. President Joe Biden's five-day trip to Asia was an attempt to show the world, and especially China, that the Indo-Pacific is the priority region for his administration. ...

Energy, Economics & Security

U.S. considers imposing sanctions on China's Hikvision

Experts say the possible sanctions would increase tensions with China. "Putting Hikvision on the SDN list, if that is indeed what they are planning to do, is a significant esc...

Indo-Pacific Security

Australia’s ‘khaki’ election campaign centers on fears of China

Australia’s defence minister told the country to “prepare for war” in the run-up to this week’s general election, capping what analysts have called a “khaki campaign” by Scott...

Indo-Pacific Security

Quad leaders vow to oppose attempts to ‘change status quo by force’, with China and Russia on their minds

Leaders of the four Quad nations vowed on Tuesday to oppose all attempts to “change the status quo by force” in the Indo-Pacific, as concerns about China and internal differen...

Indo-Pacific Security

Biden’s Asia trip shifts focus to China

President Biden will embark on his first trip to Asia as chief executive this week, an opportunity to focus more on the challenge posed by China since his administration has b...

Indo-Pacific Security

Biden visit tests new South Korean president, a foreign policy novice

Biden’s trip arrived unusually early in Yoon’s term and was arranged while the presidential transition team was still hiring staff, setting up their offices and working out th...

About the Sharper Series

The CNAS Sharper series features curated analysis and commentary from CNAS experts on the most critical challenges in U.S. foreign policy. From the future of America's relationship with China to the state of U.S. sanctions policy and more, each collection draws on the reports, interviews, and other commentaries produced by experts across the Center to explore how America can strengthen its competitive edge.

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