As the tides of influence and power shift from Atlantic to Pacific shores – propelled by the remarkable ascents of China and India and the economic growth of an entire region that now accounts for over 30 percent of global GDP – America must reassert its strategic presence in Asia.
Unfortunately, many strategists shape policies toward the region through either a Cold War or anti-terrorism lens; both are limited in dealing with Asian dynamism. The region must be described in creative and forward-looking terms –Kurt Campbell and his team from the Center for a New American Security deem it iAsia – and U.S. strategy must be made anew to match.
A traditional approach will not suffice if the United States is to protect American interests and help iAsia realize its potential. The new strategic vision, articulated as the “power of balance,” involves creative engagement in multilateral forums while strengthening existing bilateral alliances and relations. It demands a willingness to enter agreements on specific issues, rather than as a means to cement broad-based, balance-of-power alliances. And, perhaps most importantly, it requires American political parties to perform a balancing act at home: bipartisanship in foreign policy debates must be the goal not lofty rhetoric. American engagement in iAsia demands as much.
Watch a discussion of this report at the Annual CNAS June Conference in 2008: