Pacific's Strategic Blind Spot: U.S. Indo-Pacific Command's Problem of China in the Western Pacific
[Technical Report, Monograph]
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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The United States has enjoyed a significant amount of influence in the western Pacific since the end of World War II. The foothold gained for the US military across the region has enabled US power projection throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Recently, China has been encroaching on US influence in the region as part of its expansion policy. To supplant the United States as the preeminent power in the western Pacific, China gained economic leverage over the Pacific island nations through predatory lending and increased diplomatic engagements with the regional leaders. US Indo-Pacific Command is receiving more attention as the nation transitions from the counter-insurgency operations across the Middle East into great power competition with China. The operational environment is changing from the status quo that enabled the US militarys freedom of movement, to one of competition across the Pacific islands. US Indo-Pacific Command faces solving the economic problems of the island nations through the military instrument of power. The challenge is to create incentives that attract allies in the region in the face of Chinese incentives that are enticing in the short-term. The United States can maintain its influence through expanding engagements like Pacific Pathways and finding ways to bolster other sectors of the island nations economies, like the tourism industry.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics