Accession Number:



Gaining Influence in Great Power Competition: A Case Study of Vietnam and the Philippines

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

Army Command and General Staff College

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Since President Obamas 2011 Pivot to the Pacific policy, the U.S. has sought to improve economic trade relationships, assure Pacific partners through increased military security cooperation, and develop closer diplomatic ties to enable regional stability. However, given the complexity of the situation for these countries, it remains unanswered whether any or which of these efforts have been successful. The Vietnamese and Philippine governments are in a challenging position between the United States and China, each vying for regional influence. Both Vietnam and the Philippines must consider the weight of influence between domestic and international politics to maintain their autonomy. Vietnam and the Philippines must thread the needle to ensure their survival and protect their sovereignty in the face of two great powers. The United States has successfully attracted Vietnam to its sphere of influence over the past decade and pushed the Philippines toward China. The ability of both the United States and China to gain or lose influence is determined principally by their level of respect to the autonomy of each weaker nation. China has continued to encroach on Vietnamese and Philippine sovereignty in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese government and people, through their self-reliant policies and practices, perceive Chinas coercive activities as an infringement on their autonomy. Chinese unilateral claims and enforcement measures have limited their economic expansion, which remains tied to its national goals. The Philippine government, prioritizing economic cooperation with China above all else, has downplayed the concerns over their territorial disputes. Americas diplomatic and economic reprisals, due to the Philippines alleged violation of human rights through the conduct of its anti-drug campaign, has increased tensions between the two allies.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]