Accession Number:

AD1037097

Title:

POWER AND CULTURE IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

AIR WAR COLLEGE MONTGOMERY United States

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2016-02-16

Pagination or Media Count:

25.0

Abstract:

China is pursuing an island-building campaign across the South China Sea in support of its sovereignty claims that date from 1951. This is a contested air and maritime domain between China and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Republic of China. The United States must make difficult foreign policy choices that will be informed by the analytical lens its leaders choose to assess Chinas actions. This essay uses two analytical lenses, Confucian strategic culture and offensive realism, to assess Chinese behavior in three test cases Paracel Islands in 1974, Fiery Cross Reef and Johnson Reef in 1988, and Mischief Reef in 1994. It finds that the test cases clearly show that Chinese strategic choice aligns with offensive realism. If Chinese behavior is shaped by shifts and opportunities in the balance of power, then recommendations become straightforward. The United States is the only nation capable of balancing against China in the South China Sea. However, the proclaimed rebalance to the Pacific has done little to affect power dynamics in the region. The United States must aggressively pursue cooperation, basing, and training with our partners in Southeast Asia in order to rectify the current imbalance

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE