U.S. Strategic Alternatives in a Changing Pacific

by Jonathan D. Pollack, James A. Winnefeld


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This report summarizes a review of U.S. strategic planning issues in the Pacific basin. The authors use an approach that emphasizes (1) preemptively defusing potential shocks that could upset what would otherwise be positive trends; (2) maintaining regional stability, thereby making it unnecessary for Japan, China, Korea, or any other state to appreciably expand its military capabilities and to set off a destabilizing regional arms competition; (3) increasing the efficiency with which the United States pursues presence and power projection roles; (4) encouraging regional aspirations by reducing direct U.S. oversight of regional security and reducing troublesome forms of presence; and (5) improving the coordination of the political, economic, and military dimensions of national security policy. The authors conclude that the United States will continue to play a critical regional security role in the future, albeit a changing one — instead of containment, the United States will focus more on maintaining its presence and stability in the region.

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