Op-Ed: The Need For A "Half-Pivot to the Americas"

Op-Ed: The Need For A "Half-Pivot to the Americas" by Dr. Robert J. Bunker and posted by the US Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute.

Much discussion has been generated over the still relatively new U.S. strategic “Pivot to Asia” and what this will mean for our national defense policy and force structure. This pivot represents what will become a multi-year shift from the legacy of 9-11, with over a decade’s focus on ground and counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, to a rebalancing of national effort, emphasizing air, naval, and space (both orbital and cyber) forces, focused on a rising China. Concern now exists that China, with the world’s largest population of over 1.3 billion people and the world’s second largest economy, will potentially emerge as a peer competitor to the United States.

As a result, a pragmatic policy of “engagement and containment” drawing upon both theories of neo-liberalism (win-win economic) and of realism (win-lose power) is at play in the U.S. foreign and defense policies supporting the strategic pivot. The intent of the new “China first” focus is not to prepare for the next war but, instead, engage in a shaping operation promoting good global citizenship on the part of an ascendant China mixed in with a bit of traditional offshore balancing (with a nod to Mearsheimer) just in case things do not quite work out as planned...

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