The US Response to China's Military Modernization

This publication is a chapter in 2012-2013 volume published by the Strategic Asia program at the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). This year's volume, China's Military Challenge, is edited by Ashley Tellis and Travis Tanner. The full chapter is available for purchase on NBR's website. Watch Mr. Blumenthal's presentation at NBR's book launch here.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

This chapter will argue that the U.S. must protect its primacy in the Asia-Pacific in order to advance its strategic goals in the face of China’s military modernization.

Main Argument:
Since the end of World War II, U.S. strategic aims in the Asia-Pacific have included maintaining a forward defense of the homeland, enforcing a great-power peace, stemming the tide of WMDs, and creating a liberal political and economic order. The U.S. has accomplished these goals through a strategy of primacy that is underpinned by the U.S. military’s preeminence. However, the rise of China and its increasing military capacity are undermining American primacy and thereby the broader Asian order. The current U.S. response to this strategic problem, manifested in part by the operational concept called air-sea battle (ASB), is inadequate in several respects. First, cuts to the defense budget will make it difficult to resource ASB. Second, ASB is an operational concept detached from a strategy. Finally, the concept underemphasizes the need for nuclear deterrence. As a result, the U.S. is both making commitments to Asia that it may not be able to afford and articulating a high-risk operational doctrine that does not answer basic strategic questions.

Policy Implications:
• The president should have a range of options to control the escalation
of conflict.
• The U.S. military must be able to master the main military domains—air,
sea, and space—should they come under threat.
• The U.S. should be able to wrest back control of contested zones that China
sets up closer to its shores.
• The U.S. must have the capacity to punish and weaken any aggressor that
challenges U.S. primacy.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Dan
Blumenthal

What's new on AEI

Making Ryan's tax plan smarter
image The teacher evaluation confronts the future
image How to reform the US immigration system
image Inversion hysteria
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 01
    MON
  • 02
    TUE
  • 03
    WED
  • 04
    THU
  • 05
    FRI
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
From anarchy to Augustus: Lessons on dealing with disorder, from Rome’s first emperor

We invite you to join us for two panel discussions on how Augustus created order from chaos 2,000 years ago, and what makes for durable domestic and international political systems in the 21st century.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Multiple choice: Expanding opportunity through innovation in K–12 education

Please join us for a book launch event and panel discussion about how a marketplace of education options can help today's students succeed in tomorrow's economy. Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the featured book.

Thursday, September 04, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
How conservatives can save the safety net

Please join us for a luncheon event in which our panel will discuss what conservatives can learn from how liberals talk and think about the safety net and where free-market economics, federalism, and social responsibility intersect to lift people out of poverty.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.